Rocky Shoreline Regions: Every year, numerous visitors and residents alike enjoy Oregon’s beaches, lured by the silky sand and apparently unending views. However, the rugged crags and outcroppings that make up more than 40% of the state’s 363 miles of Pacific Ocean beachfront are far less accessible.
The state is now contemplating declaring six additional Marine Conservation Areas, all of which are distinguished by their rocky nature, as a result of years of planning and volunteer work.
Andy Lanier, the marine relations coordinator for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, said that this was a very positive news story for the Oregon coast. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge a really important resource. The Audubon Society of Lincoln City suggested two of the areas: Cape Foulweather, which is south of Depoe Bay, and Cape Lookout, which is north of Pacific City.
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The Land Conservation and Development Commission may give them their OK as early as April. The other four conservation areas are at Chapman Point, Ecola Point, Fogarty Creek, close to Depoe Bay, and Blacklock Point, which are all located north of Port Orford. If approved, they will be included in a list of rocky shorelines that are included in the state’s rocky habitat management plan.
For instance, they would join the Otter Rock marine garden, located north of Newport and already included in the state’s inventory. No modifications to the current rules governing fishing or shellfish harvesting are proposed. The whole endeavor, according to Kent Doughty, coastal conservation coordinator for Audubon Society of Lincoln City, “focuses on stewardship versus regulation as a way to conserve and manage natural resources at the locations.”
It’s a wonderful chance for residents and coastal communities to get engaged and shape the future of these locations.
Thousands of seabirds are breeding at the Cape Foulweather location, a 1.9-mile stretch of rocky beach, according to him. Local fisheries are greatly aided by the vast underwater kelp forests that develop on the reefs. Visitors standing on the cape above often see feeding whales.
In contrast, the three miles of coastline and near-shore seas are covered by the Cape Lookout designation. It has tidal pools, kelp forests, near-shore reefs, a sea cave, and areas where marine animals gather in addition to providing habitat for flocks of seabirds.
In an effort to convince local fishing interests that the new conservation zones won’t interfere with their current fishing rights, Doughty said he and other Audubon Society members routinely speak with local fishing interests.
That was made clear when the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association voiced worry that future modifications to the regulatory parameters might introduce changes to the procedure as part of the public comments collected prior to the introduction of the six proposed new regions. The state’s Lanier said that the planned site arrangement was more of their worry than the actual site itself. “Their worry is what will prevent a region from changing in the future if it advances now?”
Lanier’s reaction is that any suggested adjustments would have to go through the very rigorous process that has to lead up to this point as the state seeks to constantly examine how the sites are being maintained in the future. Any suggested adjustments would be the subject of an extensive public process, he added.
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It would probably take a full year for several state agencies to conclude the rule-making process necessary to put the final touches on real management plans, if, as anticipated, the six planned locations are approved for the following stages. Lanier, who has spent the previous four years assisting in the direction of the Marine Conservation Area project, is one of many who anticipates that to occur.
According to him, there has been a wave of support for this in every coastal community they have worked with. And that assistance has actually been important in advancing these concepts. You may keep yourself up to date with all of the most recent news by visiting our website, Focus Hillsboro.