Tidepools at Otter Rock

Tidepools at Otter Rock

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OREGON COAST — The public is invited to participate in a free webinar focusing on Oregon’s new Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, and the role that citizens and community groups can play in proposing special layers of protection for key rocky shore and offshore habitat areas. The webinar takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 17.

To join the webinar, contact Jesse Jones, volunteer coordinator for the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition’s CoastWatch program, at jesse@oregonshores.org. Participants will be sent a link to the session shortly before it occurs.

During this historic pandemic quarantine, CoastWatch has been providing free webinars connecting the public with scientists, local conservation leaders and trainings for citizen science projects taking place on the Oregon coast, according to a press release from CoastWatch.

Previously, CoastWatch provided these educational and training opportunities through field trips to the shore or in community centers, libraries, brewpubs and other such venues. While shifting these efforts online was initially a short-term tactic for dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, the webinars have been well received, and enable CoastWatch volunteers and interested members of the public to participate wherever they are located. Online presentations will continue to play a role in CoastWatch’s educational activities, even as it becomes possible to hold physical events as the coast re-opens.

For the month of June, CoastWatch’s online sessions are focusing on the rocky shores of Oregon’s coastline.

These areas — dramatic headlands, tidepools, rocky beaches, cliffs, and offshore rocks which make up about 41% of the coast — are teeming with life and are important to the ecological and economic health of the communities they border, and thus are beneficial to the whole coast.

The June 17 webinar will focus on answering questions about the pilot phase of the new process through which the public can submit proposals for rocky habitat site management designations in Oregon’s territorial sea and intertidal areas. A panel including Dave Fox, resource assessment and management section leader of the Marine Resources Program at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Charlie Plybon, chair of the Rocky Habitat Working Group of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council; Michael Moses, Rocky Shores coordinator at the Oregon Coastal Management Program; and Roy Lowe, former project leader with the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge will answer questions about the process and the mapping tool, as well as site-specific questions.

The webinar will describe how the public will be able to create proposals using the newly developed Rocky Habitat Web Mapping Tool. The tool allows users to select an area of the coast or nearshore ocean to visualize and evaluate resources and site uses, communicate and collaborate with others and create and submit proposals. This opportunity is part of the ongoing update to Oregon’s Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, which aims to help sustain and support the use and health of rocky habitat resources. (Technically, this is a revision of Goal 19 of Oregon’s statewide planning system, which governs the state’s territorial sea.)

The State of Oregon is inviting all members of the public including individuals, organizations, academic institutions/researchers and governments, to engage in this initial site designation process. Interested parties are encouraged to use the Rocky Habitat Web Mapping Tool’s "forums" feature to build collaborative proposals that represent a variety of interests, needs and perspectives. For more information, visit http://OregonOcean.info for more information and resources, including a Rocky Habitat Web Mapping Tool user guide and proposal walk-through.

For a link to this and future webinars, contact CoastWatch volunteer coordinator Jesse Jones at jesse@oregonshores.org.

Information about upcoming events can also be found on the CoastWatch page of Oregon Shores’ website, https://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.

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