Join the Movement!

Become an Oregon Marine Reserves Ambassador!


The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership has three goals for its marine reserve citizen science programs:

  • Foster long-term cultivation of ocean stewards through engagement in marine reserve-related citizen science activities
  • Inform management actions through collection of data and information in and near marine reserves by citizens
  • Create awareness of the existence of marine reserves and protected areas and science-based management

    Audubon Society of Portland Volunteer Opportunities

    marbeled murrelet

           Marbeled murrelet. Photo credit: Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO

    Marbled Murrelet training & Survey: This annual event in Yachats, Ore., starts with an evening program about Marbled Murrelet biology and conservation, followed by a predawn on-the-ground survey the next morning! This is a unique opportunity to learn from top Murrelet researchers in the state, to witness Murrelets in flight during nest exchange, and to see Murrelets foraging in nearshore waters. Generally takes place in July.  For more information visit:

    pigeon guillemot

                   Pigeon guillemot. Photo credit: Ron LeValley

    Seabird monitoring at Cape Perpetua and Cape Falcon: Help Portland Audubon monitor seabird nesting colonies adjacent to the Cape Perpetua and Cape Falcon Marine Reserve/Protected Areas to track the nesting success of seabirds including Pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants as well as assess Rhinoceros Auklet, Pigeon Guillemot usage of Sea Lion Caves.  We are partnering with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sea Lion Caves, Friends of Cape Falcon, Haystack Rock Awareness Program, and others on this project. Monitoring tasks include regular visits to seabird colonies, using a scope to observe nesting activity, and ultimately estimating the percentage of nests that successfully hatch young. This project takes place late May through early August.  Contact Joe Liebezeit ( for more information.



    For more information visit:
    Check out the 2015 Annual Report for this project here!
    For other examples of Portland Audubon citizen science, click here.

    Black Oystercatcher monitoring results -2015

    black oystercatchaverage number of black oystercatchers seen

    The first year of Black Oystercatcher monitoring was a great success!  Over 45 volunteers conducted abundance surveys along the coast during May of 2015.  Check out the included map to see all 57 sites that were sampled.  Using the collected abundance data, a USGS statistician worked with us to develop a population estimate for the entire coast as well as along the marine reserves and mpas. The data indicates that somewhere between 500 and 600 Black Oystercatchers use Oregon’s coast during the breeding season.  The last population estimate for this species was performed in 2006 and back then the population estimate was about 300 individuals.  This coming year we’ll be conducting more surveys to refine our estimate but it looks like oystercatcher numbers may have gone up over the past 10 years.  This is good news for a bird that is listed as species of conservation concern because of its low reproductive rate, near complete dependence on rocky intertidal habitats, and vulnerability to both natural and human disturbances.  Our estimates also indicate that as many as 120 oystercatchers use rocky intertidal habitat along the marine reserves and mpas during the breeding season. The highest densities of oystercatchers seem to be concentrated along the south coast. 


    Volunteers also conducted weekly monitoring visits to 57 oystercatcher nests along the coast, including eight nests discovered in three of the marine reserves. Across the coast, monitored nests fledged approximately one chick for every two nests. Overall reproductive success (hatching and fledgling success) was higher on the south coast compared to the north and central coasts and was also higher on island nests compared to mainland nests.

    Through our outreach effort associated with this project we’ve engaged with thousands of people on the conservation of oystercatchers, of seabirds, and of the value of marine reserves. If you want to get involved and participate in this project contact Joe Liebezeit at the Audubon Society of Portland (

    To read the full report of oystercatcher findings from 2015 visit here:


    black oystercatcher  black oystercatcher nest at Seal Rock

    Black oystercatcher. Photo credit: Hayley Crews.                                                                           Black oystercatcher nest at Seal Rock State Wayside. Photo credit: Tara DuBois.

    Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition Volunteer Opportunities


      Mile 281, Tillamook County, Agate Beach. Photo credit: CoastWatch

    Adopt a CoastWatch mile: CoastWatch, a citizen monitoring program, engages Oregonians in personal stewardship over their shoreline. Volunteers adopt mile-long segments of Oregon's coast, keeping watch for natural changes and human-induced impacts, reporting on their observations, and sounding the alarm about threats and concerns. CoastWatch is founded on individual vigilance and responsibility for one portion of the ocean shore. But the program also links hundreds of 'mile adopters' in a coastwide network of concerned citizens taking action to conserve shoreline resources. CoastWatchers serve as an early warning system not only for the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, but also for neighbors along their miles, local government, regulatory agencies and other conservation groups.

    oregon shores logostudent marine debris monitoring team

                     Student marine debris monitoring team. Photo credit: Fawn Custer.

    Volunteer for an Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition citizen science project:

    • The beached bird survey, in which CoastWatch partners with COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, based at the University of Washington). 
    • Marine debris monitoring, using a protocol developed by NOAA. 
    • The sea star wasting syndrome survey.
    • Marine mammal stranding, in cooperation with Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This work produces data points for the stranding network. 
    • "Beached marine critters" survey, using a protocol that provides an online means of recording observations of stranded sharks, squid, sea turtles and two species of fish. 
    • Invasive species: At present, this primarily involves species carried on tsunami debris, training volunteers in what to look for, how to handle it, and how to report it to scientists at the HMSC.

    CoastWatch will provide training for these various citizen science surveys during the fall and winter. To volunteer or for more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027,;


    oregon king tides

    King Tide Sea Level Documentation - Volunteers photographically document the reach of the year's highest tides (known as "king tides" in Australia, where this international project began). The goal, in addition to identifying current threats to both natural habitat and human infrastructure, is to envision the "new normal" as what are now unusually high tides become the ordinary water level with sea level rise. This is a coastwide project, but we will begin concentrating special effort on the marine reserve areas, documenting how their intertidal margins in particular are likely to be affected in coming decades.

    Surfrider Volunteer Opportunities

    redfish rocks students

    Redfish Rocks MR - Surfrider Foundation volunteers partners with Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve Community Team on a number of citizen science monitoring efforts from water quality and shoreline monitoring to intertidal clam surveys. These activities take place throughout the year on a monthly basis, often engaging students from the local school district and community volunteers in the Port Orford area. Learn more about these programs and how to get involved by or visit the Community Team’s citizen science page here -
    team transect at Cape Perpetua Cape Perpetua MR - Surfrider Foundation’s Siuslaw Chapter engages volunteers in water quality monitoring through their local Blue Water Task Force program as well as monthly monitoring of marine debris through NOAA’s shoreline monitoring program. Volunteers sample water quality monthly within the marine reserve for enterococcus bacteria, a recreational and ecological health indicator, using an EPA-certified method. See an interactive map of where volunteers test, download data or learn more at the link above or contact For a full listing of Chapter programs and descriptions, including beach and highway cleanups in the reserve area, visit:
    blue water task force

    Otter Rock and Cascade Head MR - Surfrider Foundation’s Newport Chapter runs two Blue Water Task Force Programs, sampling sites within both the Otter Rock and Cascade Head Marine Reserves. Volunteers sample water quality weekly in some areas and monthly within the marine reserves for enterococcus bacteria, a recreational and ecological health indicator, using an EPA-certified method. See an interactive map of where volunteers test, download data or learn more at the link above or contact Here's links to the actual data collected:

    Otter Rock

    Cascade Head -

    Cape Perpetua -

    Redfish Rocks -

    Cape Falcon -