NEWPORT, Ore. -- The Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council recently received a report on feedback received during a public outreach effort on the Governor’s proposal to create a series of marine reserves off the Oregon Coast.
The report was prepared by Oregon Sea Grant, which conducted public meetings in February in eight coastal communities from Astoria to Brookings. Sea Grant, an OSU-based research and public outreach program, administered the public meetings, answered questions and compiled input on the marine reserve proposal.
The report was presented to the Advisory Council at its March 28th meeting, and its contents will become an important part of OPAC’s future recommendations on marine reserves.
“Oregon has a long history of public participation in land use and resource management decisions,” said Scott McMullen, chair of the Advisory Council. “Oregon Sea Grant has done a masterful job planning and conducting a public outreach program on a complex and sensitive issue.”
McMullen also acknowledged the time and commitment of the hundreds of coastal residents who participated in the outreach program.
“OPAC greatly appreciates the efforts of all those who attended the meetings and completed comment cards,” McMullen said. OPAC will carefully consider the comments included in the nearly 500 page report, he added.
Based on the public input and suggestions from its Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, the Council discussed a change in the process for identifying and nominating a site as a marine reserve. Along with nominating sites, the Council will also consider creating “study areas” as a way to begin looking at a proposed area short of actually nominating it as a marine reserve.
The Council also responded favorably to a recent Executive Order from the Governor that named the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as the lead state agency in developing marine reserve designations.
“The Council is looking forward to working with ODFW as the Governor’s representative on this issue,” McMullen said.
For more information about the marine reserves process, go to www.oregonmarinereserves.net.