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Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia

Oregon was one of the first places in the world to observe the direct impacts of ocean acidification when the oyster hatchery production collapsed in 2007. Acidification continues to challenge oyster aquaculture productivity and has caused some producers to move operations elsewhere. Also of great concern are the hypoxia events that are continuing to intensify and there are now clear signs that they are undermining the rich ocean ecosystem food web. Oregon’s iconic fisheries and the coastal communities that depend on them — both of which quintessentially define the world-renowned Oregon Coast — are at risk. While the oyster industry has implemented solutions for successfully propagating oysters in closed tank systems, Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) events are projected to intensify and threaten our wild fisheries and rich ocean ecosystem.
To sustain Oregon’s marine-based food supply and our cultural and economic well-being, the OAH Council recommends taking strategic action to understand, adapt to, and mitigate OAH in an iterative process, including repeated public input, scientific inquiry and action planning. Oregon must act swiftly to set short term priorities and make progress quickly in order to maximize our options and effectiveness. However, Oregon also needs a sustained, long-term approach to addressing OAH impacts and much of what the OAH Council recommends will take time to implement.

History of the Oregon Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) Coordinating Council

In 2017, the passage of Oregon Senate Bill 1039 created the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH Council) to provide recommendations and guidance for the State of Oregon on how to respond to this issue.

The sponsors of Senate Bill 1039, Senator Arnie Roblan (D) and Senator Jeff Kruse (R), recognized that Oregonians depend on our healthy coastal environment for fisheries, tourism, and recreation. They created the OAH Council to assemble interests that are currently and potentially impacted by OAH in Oregon. The OAH Council forum is composed of members of State agencies, academic experts, stakeholders, and Tribal interests, who will collaboratively develop recommendations, and advise the State on the implementation of actions to support the sustainability of Oregon’s ocean as OAH intensifies.

Oregon’s OAH Council Report (2018) and OAH Action Plan (2019)

The OAH Council met monthly from January to August 2018, with working subgroup meetings between each Council meeting from March-July. During these meetings, each Council member brought their unique perspective and expertise to bear on Council discussions. The final report (submitted September 2018) informs and provides the basis for the development of the Oregon OAH Action Plan, targeted for completion in June 2019.

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The Action Plan will identify the actions that Oregon is ready to commit to and will flesh out the scope, methods, and resources needed to implement each action. The Council agreed by consensus to include all 38 actions in the 2018 report. However, a general prioritization exercise (in which Council Members anonymously rated each action from lower to higher relative value) and the summarization of results reveal the recommended actions for that merit immediate attention.

To learn more about the Council, opportunities to engage, or OAH in Oregon, please contact:

Dr. Caren Braby
ODFW Marine Recourses Program manager
OAH Council Co-Chair
Caren.E.Braby@state.or.us

Dr. Charlotte R. Whitefield
ODFW Ocean Acidification Assistant Project Leader
OAH Council Staff
Charlotte.M.RegulaWhitefield@state.or.us

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