This summer I have been working on quite a few projects with my grad student accomplice, Theo. They’ve all been based around Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, which will be implemented January 1st, 2016. It is the fifth, and last, and furthest north, marine reserve to go in along the Oregon coast. Most of the reserve is adjacent to Oswald West State Park, so that is where we do the majority of our research. Local community members and stakeholders were involved in deciding where they wanted the marine reserves to be placed. As the reserves mean no extractive purposes (i.e. fishing, shellfishing, etc.) or ocean development, fishermen wanted the marine reserves to be in places that would not significantly, negatively effect their fishing livelihoods. The Cape Falcon Marine Reserve is located in a portion of the ocean that is not heavily fished currently, however, there is still some fishing occurring within the future reserve (which is still completely legal as it does not become prohibited until January 1, 2016). To gather information on exactly how much fishing is occurring in this area, Theo and I have been conducting fishing pressure observation counts. We go to different locations along the coast to acquire the best views of the reserve in its entirety. At each viewpoint we count the number of buoys and boats we can see using binoculars, including any identification tips for the boats and buoys, such as name and color. Additionally, we record conditions of the environment such as sea conditions and weather conditions, as those will effect our abilities to accurately see all boats and buoys in the water. It’s amazing how you can see next to nothing without binoculars, and then you start using them and suddenly you can see dozens of buoys and a handful of boats! This project has been great practice for me at using binoculars and identifying boat types.
Category Archives: Haley Epperly
Even though I am a born and raised Oregonian, I still have plenty to explore in this beautiful state! I’ve been taking advantage of days off by adventuring around and I thought I’d share a few places I’ve been in this blog post in case anyone else is feeling up to a little weekend adventure.
Pictured here is Little Crater Lake. This is a hidden gem that my mentor at ODFW, Tommy, stumbled upon and told me about. This is located up by Mt. Hood. the water is super clear as you can see in the photo. Check out that tree you can see so clearly in the lake! Water temperatures here are about 34 degrees, so not ideal for long swims, but beautiful to look at!
Here’s the view of the Sisters Mountains from a chair lift at Mt. Bachelor. Bachelor is awesome for snow sports in the winter, but it’s still absolutely stunning and tons of fun in the summer. There’s plenty of mountain biking trails on the mountain. When I went up we did a summer dogsled ride that was tons of fun! Also, the restaurant is still open in the summer (which you take a chair lift up to); be sure to make nighttime reservations as it’s unbelievably beautiful at night!
This is Steelhead Falls, which is part of the Deschutes River. There are plenty of places to do some cliff jumping into the water around here. When we went there were kayakers practicing going down the waterfall and then rolling back over when they flipped. Super beautiful spot, not too crowded and also pretty dang cold water, though not as cold as Little Crater Lake.
This is Smith Rock during sunrise. Smith Rock is a popular destination in Central Oregon. I would certainly recommend a visit to hike here, just make sure to bring lots of water as there is little to no shade and temperatures rise quickly in the summer! This is also a good place for rock climbing if anyone is interested in that!
Anyways, I just wanted to share a few spots I’ve been around Oregon lately in case anyone else wants to go exploring, though it’s difficult to leave Newport on the weekends because it’s such a beautiful beach!
Surfs up at Oswald West
Anyone interested in surfing on the Oregon Coast should definitely hit up Oswald West State Park, specifically, Short Sands Beach (called Shorties by the locals). Every time we go down to this small stretch of sand and do visitor observation surveys we count almost 100 surfers in and out of the water! The waves here are great and the beach is generally super sunny and warm, and not too windy at all. I’ve even seen people get sunburned here, on the Oregon Coast if you can believe it! There is no longer camping at Oswald West due to unsafe natural conditions, but camping is available just a few minutes south in Nehalem or north in Ecola State Park. Bring your wetsuit and board and come join the party if you have a free weekend!
Check out my post on the ODFW Marine Reserves blog!
This past week I did my first post for the ODFW Marine Reserves blog. My post will be featured with the blog when it is sent out this Tuesday, July 14th. Here’s the link attached so you can check it out for yourself!
A little staff bonding
This week has been great being back in the office with our mentor, Tommy. We have been catching up on data entry from all of the data that we have been collecting up at Cape Falcon Marine Reserve the past few weeks. We’re headed back up there this coming weekend for our first weekend trip, so we’re excited to see the crowds mobbing to the beach for some surf time! Being back in Newport has provided us with opportunities to engage in a little staff bonding. Theo and I decided to donate blood with the Red Cross together yesterday; the donation site was located right outside of Rogue brewery! A quick walk from Hatfield. We were gifted $7 giftcards to Rogue for our donation, which we promptly used immediately after our donation was finished. It feels great to be more a part of the Newport community!
Field Days on Field Days on Field Days
This week has been full of adventures! We started the week in Garibaldi doing visitor surveys, visitor intercepts and fishing pressure observations at Oswald West State Park. We also hiked an incredibly beautiful about 5.5 mile trail up to Cape Falcon where we saw plenty of seabirds and sea lions playing around. Following our time in Garibaldi we spent Wednesday and Thursday in Florence getting to know the town very well through business surveys. Florence is a charming town, particularly the Oldtown section of it that is full of cute little boutiques and delicious restaurants. The main reason people come to the Florence area is to play on the vast sand dunes, but this town has much more to offer than just the dunes. We got to know many of the residents of Florence doing business surveys throughout the town and I can say with certainty that I will be returning to visit! Today is a day of entering some of the immense amount of data that we have accumulated over the week into the computer. Next week we will be headed back up to Garibaldi to play, I mean “work”, some more. Until then!
Exploring the Oregon Coast
This week has been a whirlwind of information at my new job with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife looking at the human dimensions aspect of the marine reserves. I am currently writing this post from my hotel in Garibaldi, a town located a couple hours north of Newport. The graduate student I am working with named Theo and I will be heading up to Garibaldi frequently to do observational and survey research of people using the beach and boats in the reserves at Cape Falcon. My mentor says we’re basically getting paid to hang out on the beach and talk to surfers all day, so not too shabby of a gig I’ve got here right? On the drive up today we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and sampled some of the delicious cheese they produce.
We also scoped out the sites that we will be doing these studies at and they were some of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on the Oregon coast. If you ever want to try your hand at surfing then head to Oswald West State Park! There were dozens of surfers in the cove there when we arrived. Overall I am excited to head back to Garibaldi next Monday and begin doing the studies!