OMRP 2015-2016 Annual Report

 

Our Progress From July 1, 2015 Through June 30, 2016


The Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership continued to forge relationships with new partners, expanded our outreach footprint through signs, interpretive displays, and social media. 

 

Our Work Engaging Communities
In 2015-2016, we sought to engage Oregon's communities in marine reserves in the following ways:

 

Fund Community Grants

OMRP funded five community grants in early 2016, which will be implemented through early 2017:
 
Whales and Marine Reserves: Education and Awareness Project - American Cetacean Society of Oregon Chapter volunteers will be at the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve sites to educate the public on whales, dolphins, porpoises and the marine reserves. Volunteers will assist visitors to spot whales. Volunteers will also complete a data collection form that includes number of people contacted and cetacean sighting information. Steps in the project include: Recruit, train and schedule volunteers; partner with the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center Communication Coordinator for marine reserve
training and materials; develop monitoring protocol and data collection form; provide a monthly facebook post for the OMRP. The project runs from June through September 2016. The project is intended to: 
1. Increase awareness of whales along the Oregon coast.
2. Encourage whale watching in and around the marine reserves.
3. Highlight the importance of marine reserves for whales and other wildlife.
4. Contribute citizen science data to OMRP and Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Cape Falcon Marine Reserve Outreach - The Friends of Cape Falcon will provide outreach and education to local citizens and visitors about the marine reserves, partner with entities to collaborate on the development of marine reserve messaging and activities for youth education, and encourage and support research and monitoring activities in the marine reserves and protected areas. 
The Ocean Literacy Project at Neskowin Valley School - Neskowin Valley School seeks to engage students in a rich learning experience through our Ocean Literacy Curriculum where students will:
1) Gain understanding about the ocean and the ecosystems in which they live.
2) Learn about estuaries and the wildlife that depend on them.
3) Explore the Salmon River learning about salmon and the importance of spawning.
4) Practice good stewardship of the protected marine reserve understanding the
importance of ongoing environmental stewardship. Students will have practical ways to
improve their environments.
5) Develop and implement the Cascade Head Ocean Literacy Curriculum that can be
used year after year at Neskowin Valley School and for other groups as well.
The Ocean Literacy Curriculum will engage students in experiential and project-based learning that will provide a strong foundation for lifelong appreciation for the ocean.
Cascade Head Marine Reserve Appreciation Events - The Friends of Cascade Head Marine Reserve will host two local tuna grill events to update local citizens and volunteers on the status of the Cascade Head Marine Reserve. One event will occur at the Neskowin Community Center in mid-summer and one event will be held at Knight Park on the Salmon River Estuary. These are meet and greet events using existing facilities. 
Cape Perpetua Bioblitz -  A bioblitz is an outdoor citizen science activity, in which teams of scientists, students, teachers, and community  members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, and other organisms as possible in a specific period of time, usually 24 hours. This project would conduct a series of citizen science events in which volunteers, from skilled scientists to elementary school children, complete a string of surveys along a forest-to-sea transect. Focusing on the Cape Perpetua scenic area, the sampling would occur high up in the forest canopy, move down to a stream that runs off the Coast Range mountains to the ocean, include a coastal headland and meadow habitat and an intertidal zone at the gateway to the Cape Perpetua marine reserve. Activities would leverage the availability of experienced tree-climbing volunteers to survey lichens; existing partnerships with area schools to engage youth in macroinvertebrate and meadow sampling, Audubon staff and volunteers who survey for marbled murrelets each year, and tie into existing sampling efforts underway by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership in the intertidal zone and marine reserve. The result of these BioBlitz events would be increased awareness of the unique ecology and forest-sea connection on the Oregon Coast, active citizen science engagement, important baseline data to be used by the partners, and valuable stories for our Forest Service field rangers to share with visitors and the community about this special place we live.
Participate in Community Events
Cape Perpetua Land-Sea Symposium (November 2015) - More than 100 people participated in the 2015 Land-Sea Symposium at the Yachats Commons. The event, hosted by OMRP member organizations (Audubon Society of Portland, Surfrider Foundation and Cape Perpetua Foundation) and sponsored by OMRP, promoted local stewardship efforts and raising awareness about scientific research conducted in and around Cape Perpetua.

 

State of the Coast Conference (October 2015) - Hundreds of people participated in the 2015 State of the Coast conference in Coos Bay, Oregon to share current science, policy and issues. The agenda included topics on water quality, changing ocean conditions and "the blob," innovations in fishing, Cascadia earthquake, citizen science, marine debris and microplastics, and student research. The keynote speaker, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, talked about the research behind his book, "Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do."

 

OMRP Marine Reserve Summit (a Tide Change: Inspiring Engagement in Oregon's Marine Reserves) (February 2016) - The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership and The Nature Conservancy co-hosted a marine reserves summit February 24-25, 2016 in Cannon Beach, Oregon to convene key Oregon stakeholders to embrace scientific understanding and public engagement of Oregon’s marine reserves and define opportunities for underrepresented stakeholders to participate in all aspects of marine reserve implementation. The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • Share information about current marine reserve status and activities completed to date.
  • Define the role of Oregon’s marine reserves within the context of emerging marine trends on the West Coast and how they are projected to affect Oregon’s coastal ecosystem.
  • Foster new partner opportunities, enthusiasm, resources and expertise to support scientific research and public engagement in Oregon’s marine reserves.

Participate in marine reserve community teams



Walking the Talk - Outreach

The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership seeks to raise awareness, support, and appreciation of Oregon's system of marine reserves and protected areas through engaging, informative, and effective outreach and education initiatives. Here's what we accomplished from mid-2015 through mid-2016:


  • Revamped our website (http://www.oregonmarinereserves.org
  • Consistently posted to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/oregonsmarinereserves).
  • Produced videos on Cascade Head Marine Reserve, Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, and Otter Rocks Marine Reserve, and posted all of these videos on a new online archive of marine reserve photos and videos.
  • Produced short video clips on Oregon's marine reserves for use on social media and for community presentations.
  • Shared information about Oregon's marine reserves through our listserv.
  • Distributed press releases and public service announcements about Oregon's marine reserves.
  • Designed and installed a marine reserve backlit display at the Oregon Zoo (see display in column to the right).
  • Produced 14 interpretive panels for the South Coast of Oregon, and have 7 panels and an interpretive exhibit under production for the mid and north Coast of Oregon as well as a display at Cape Foulweather Visitor Center.
  • Promoted citizen volunteer opportunities through partners and the media.
  • Conducted a statewide marine reserves photo contest that concluded in October of 2015.
  • Finalized arrangements with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to complete an interactive science exhibit on Oregon's marine reserves, which will be produced by November 2016.
  • Produced a rack card on volunteer opportunities.
  • Completed an exhibit on the Science of Marine Reserves at the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology in Charleston.
  • Published an article in SevenSeas magazine on marine reserve outreach.
  • Wrote and published an article for Open Channels on the OMRP summit.
  • Gave a presentation to the Coastal Caucus at the Capitol and to the Ocean Policy Advisory Council in Tillamook on the OMRP, its accomplishments, and its goals.
  • Met with several Oregon legislators to discuss OMRP and achievements and goals, and coordinated a 3-member panel to discuss ocean research priorities for an Oregon Energy and Environment Committee led by Rep. Vega Pederson.
  • Produced a seabird poster with Portland Audubon to explain the role of Oregon's ocean habitats to migratory seabirds.
  • Sponsored kayak tours at Redfish Rocks on the Docks annual  event.
 

                 An "Our Ocean" exhibit at OMSI featured marine reserve content.

The Science of Marine Reserves backlit display at the Oregon Zoo.


Citizen Science

Citizen science connects people with marine reserves, instills an appreciation of the roles of science and monitoring to ocean health and our understanding of the functioning of ocean life in marine reserves, and helps advance scientific research conducted by volunteers.

Examples of citizen science conducted in 2015-2016 include:

    

seabird poster Seabird poster. 

 

The Nuts and Bolts

Managing the day-to-day operations of the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership is critical to long-term success and sustainability. Although not glamorous, these tasks are priorities for the partnership as they are foundational to funding, accountability, and strategic direction. In 2015-2016, we accomplished the following:

  • Developed and managed our budget.
  • Wrote and was awarded grants from three nonprofit foundations.
  • Worked with a consultant to finalize a communications plan.
  • Created a shared Google calendar for all OMRP partners to share information about events.
  • Contracted with several graphic designers for graphic design support of OMRP materials.
  • Three OMRP members participated in two Ocean Policy Advisory Council meetings.
  • Facilitated bi-monthly conference calls with marine reserve partners, including OMRP member organizations, Oregon State Parks, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and US Forest Service.