Oregon’s rocky intertidal ecosystem is home to mussels and sea stars, Black Oystercatchers and bull kelp, each playing an important role in sustaining the health of its ocean and shores. But they face threats from the effects of climate change, marine heat waves, a steady stream beachgoers, even mysterious disease.
Now, Oregon’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) wants to update
policy originally devised way back in 1994 for protecting the state’s near-shore habitats.
In a novel community-led approach sometimes referred to as “The Oregon Way,” groups have proposed that sites along the coast be designated by the state as marine education, research and conservation areas.
In this special series for Jefferson Public Radio, reporter Kate Kaye takes us to Oregon’s rocky shores - visiting with volunteers monitoring Black Oystercatchers, researchers surveying Gray Whales and kelp, a south coast ecotour guide, a north coast crabber and more - to illuminate the challenges affecting rocky intertidal habitats, how these proposals seek to address them, and what they could mean for Oregonians.