The $900,000 competitive grant opportunity is being made available by the Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) for the study and monitoring of nearshore keystone species.
Sea otters, nearshore marine ecosystems, kelp and eelgrass habitat, and blue carbon sequestration will all be monitored for species.
As part of House Bill 5202, the cash was made available through the Oregon Legislature in 2022. This occurs right after the OOST finished spending 2021 legislative money of just over $1 million for monitoring and research on ocean acidification.
State Senator Dick Anderson remarked, “This is a fantastic example of the kind of support we need more of to allow our communities to develop.” Our nearshore animals and habitats suffer particular difficulties. And one area of research that is sometimes overlooked is the relationship between these ecosystems and the larger environment. This progress gives me hope, and I’m pleased to be an advocate for it.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, healthy nearshore marine habitats are essential for Oregon’s coastal towns and businesses (ODFW).
According to a release from the ODFW, “Nearshore species and ecosystems are in danger of enduring negative consequences from both human population rise and climate change stresses.” We can plan and take future efforts to maintain or restore the ecological functions of these significant ecosystems much better by having a deeper understanding of the ocean in Oregon today.
State Representative David Gomberg stated that “excellent data is vital to successful decision-making.” “Knowing how the decisions we make now will affect our ecosystems tomorrow is crucial to me as a legislator. But without data, that is impossible. Although the coastline along our ocean is a national asset, the very real effects of human activities have put stress on coastal ecosystems.
I’m hoping that by making these research expenditures, we’ll be able to better understand how to use coastal resources more efficiently while also taking good care of the natural resources that have historically made our coast unique.
In order to better understand the distribution, abundance, and status of nearshore species as well as to aid in the completion of the state’s inventory and mapping of kelp and seagrasses (also known as submerged aquatic vegetation, or SAV, in both marine and estuarine areas), the ODFW stated that the majority of the funding will go toward field data collection projects.
The remaining funds will be utilized to simulate Oregon’s nearshore or estuarine ecosystems in order to better understand them and how potential changes in ocean conditions can impact them in the future. The general public will have access to these informational materials.
These nearshore studies are meant to fill knowledge gaps about the relationships between nearshore species and habitats. Caren Braby, the co-chair of the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Council in Oregon, said. The outcomes of this research will directly influence how we manage the systems in the nearshore and estuary and how we make decisions.
Laura Anderson, chair of the Oregon Ocean Science Trust, said, “We continue to be grateful to Oregon lawmakers for their continued leadership and support in making investments in Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources. All coastal towns, Oregon’s economy, and our quality of life are impacted by ocean health.
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