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New leadership at Oregon’s Marine Reserves Program

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February 9, 2024

NEWPORT, Ore – Dr. Sarah Klain, the Oregon Marine Reserves Program’s new human dimensions project leader, has come full circle back to the Oregon coast where she began her career in 2003 interviewing commercial fishermen before the reserves were established. 

A former Utah State University professor of ecosystem services, Klain is happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest and the coastal climate. 

She is continuing the human dimensions work of her predecessor, recently retired Dr. Tommy Swearingen, in understanding if and how marine reserves have impacted coastal communities, particularly when it comes to commercial and recreational fishing as well as tourism. She looks forward to maintaining and growing the marine reserves program’s collaborations with coastal communities, fishers, conservation groups, academic institutions, and others.

Klain has previously collaborated on fisheries and watershed management research with tribes and First Nations. Klain looks forward to learning more about the historic and current relationships connecting Oregon’s tribes with the coast.

“For some, the ocean matters because it provides jobs and food. Others use the language of Mother Ocean, a source of diverse life that deserves human care and restraint in how we interact with it. Many indigenous groups refer to ocean inhabitants as kin,” Klain said. “Navigating these diverse values is crucial for socially acceptable marine management in general and marine reserves in particular.”

The ocean has been part of Klain’s identity since her childhood on an island off the coast of Maine. She worked on East Coast offshore wind energy issues, sea turtle conservation as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Palau, and marine spatial planning in Oregon and British Columbia.

In her off time, Klain enjoys Newport’s excellent local seafood, kayaking with her kids, trail running with her two golden doodles, and attending her husband’s bluegrass gigs.

ODFW welcomes Dr. Sarah Klain, the human dimensions project leader for the Oregon Marine Reserves Program.


Contact: Meghan Dugan, 541-464-2179
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