Do you love the Oregon coast, enjoy watching wildlife, and have an RV or camping trailer? Come and spend three months in Bandon OR, as a SEA volunteer!
SEA is recruiting a volunteer wildlife interpreter to work at one of our beautiful coastal overlooks in Bandon. This position runs from May 1 through July 31, 2023.
Offshore islands and rocks at Face Rock Wayside and Coquille Point, provide nesting habitat for thousands of seabirds. The volunteer will work a 4-hour shift (10am-2pm), three days a week at Face Rock Wayside or Coquille Point, doing interpretive work with the public.
SEA will provide training and equipment for viewing tufted puffins, peregrine falcons, common murres, western gulls, and many other marine birds. The volunteer will share information about this unique coastal habitat and use spotting scopes to assist visitors with viewing wildlife.
The volunteer will also work a shift on two other days a week for OR State Parks, helping to monitor a snowy plover nesting area at nearby China Creek State Park. Your primary duty will be to provide interpretation regarding snowy plovers, their habitat, and conservation efforts in protecting their nesting areas.
You will be expected to inform visitors of the rules regarding the restricted nesting grounds on adjacent beach and surf areas. While on duty, you will be required to keep records of visitor contacts as well as any rule infractions you may witness. Bullards Beach State Park (located near Bandon) will provide a free RV campsite for the duration of the 3-month period and provide a state vehicle to get back and forth to China Creek State Park. The Oregon State Park system requires a DMV license and criminal background check for its volunteers.
For more information or to apply for this volunteer opportunity, please contact Laurie Friedman (SEA Volunteer Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Territorial Sea Plan Part Three – Rocky Habitat Management Strategy Adopted
SALEM – On March 31, 2022, the Land Conservation and Development Commission unanimously adopted Part Three of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy. The decision completed a multiple-year effort led by the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) to revise the Strategy. The revision of Part Three of the TSP included extensive input from agencies, organizations, governments, and those with general interest in Oregon’s rocky coast. This is the first significant update to the Strategy since it was originally adopted in 1994 and completes a comprehensive rewrite of the whole chapter.
The amended Strategy is now consistent with the existing policies of the Oregon Nearshore Strategy, the Climate Change Adaptation Framework, and recommendations from the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Coordinating Council. Notable revisions include the designation of two new management areas at Coquille Point (Marine Education Area/Garden) and Cape Blanco (Marine Research Area). Part Three also includes a new process that provides the public with the opportunity to submit proposals for additions, removals, and changes to rocky habitat site management designations on Oregon’s (See Section E for details).
In recognition of this achievement, the Department of Land Conservation and Development and Oregon’s Coastal Management Program would like to thank all those who participated in the revision process, including: the members of OPAC and its Rocky Habitat Working Group, agency staff, local governments, tribal governments, conservation organizations, members of the public who took part in the proposal process, and anyone else who contributed their ideas, perspectives, and time to the effort. The consensus recommendations that advanced this amendment reflect the hard work that was accomplished and the values that Oregon will use in future management of our Rocky Shores.
The Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) is a federal-state partnership program authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). OCMP is housed within the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). We work in partnership with coastal local and tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders to ensure that Oregon’s coastal and ocean resources are managed, conserved, and developed consistent with Oregon’s Statewide Land Use Planning Goals.
The OCMP has been charged by the Legislature with managing ocean resources for the existing and future benefits that they hold. This is codified under Oregon’s Land Use Planning Goal 19: The Ocean Resources Goal – which states all agency actions within Oregon must “conserve marine resources and ecological function for the purpose of providing long-term ecological, economic, and social value and benefits to future generations.”
Under the program, all cities and counties have adopted comprehensive plans that meet mandatory state standards. The standards are 19 Statewide Land Use Planning Goals that deal with land use, development, housing, transportation, and conservation of natural resources. Periodic review of plans and technical assistance in the form of grants to local jurisdictions are key elements of the program. Find more information at www.oregon.gov/lcd/Pages/index.aspx.
Here’s proof: last week the state Land Conservation and Development Commission approved two designations – Coquille Point Marine Garden near Bandon, and Cape Blanco Marine Research Area near Port Orford – to better manage Oregon’s rocky habitat and involve local communities while seeking to honor Tribal sovereignty. The Commission also approved the broader Rocky Habitat Management Strategy which includes critical policies to protect kelp forests and seagrass meadows which support an abundance of marine species. https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2022-04-04/environment/new-protections-designated-for-fragile-or-shoreline-sites/a78529-1 #oregoncoast #thepeoplescoast
We are please to share the dynamic presentation on the topic of floating offshore wind energy that was presented to SEA by Mike Graybill on March 29, 2022. Mike shared a thoroughly researched and thought provoking look at the issue.
Billions of these tiny plastic pellets are floating in the ocean, causing as much damage as oil spills, yet they are still not classified as hazardous.
When the X-Press Pearl container ship caught fire and sank in the Indian Ocean in May, Sri Lanka was terrified that the vessel’s 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil would spill into the ocean, causing an environmental disaster for the country’s pristine coral reefs and fishing industry.
Classified by the UN as Sri Lanka’s “worst maritime disaster”, the biggest impact was not caused by the heavy fuel oil. Nor was it the hazardous chemicals on board, which included nitric acid, caustic soda and methanol. The most “significant” harm, according to the UN, came from the spillage of 87 containers full of lentil-sized plastic pellets: nurdles.
“I’ve seen some of the dolphins and they had plastic particles inside. There are 20,000 families who had to stop fishing.”
Hemantha Withanage, environmental campaigner
Since the disaster, nurdles have been washing up in their billions along hundreds of miles of the country’s coastline, and are expected to make landfall across Indian Ocean coastlines from Indonesia and Malaysia to Somalia. In some places they are up to 2 metres deep. They have been found in the bodies of dead dolphins and the mouths of fish. About 1,680 tonnes of nurdles were released into the ocean. It is the largest plastic spill in history, according to the UN report.
Nurdles, the colloquial term for “pre-production plastic pellets”, are the little-known building block for all our plastic products. The tiny beads can be made of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and other plastics. Released into the environment from plastic plants or when shipped around the world as raw material to factories, they will sink or float, depending on the density of the pellets and if they are in freshwater or saltwater.
They are often mistaken for food by seabirds, fish and other wildlife. In the environment, they fragment into nanoparticles whose hazards are more complex. They are the second-largest source of micropollutants in the ocean, by weight, after tyre (tire) dust. An astounding 230,000 tonnes of nurdles end up in oceans every year.
Like crude oil, nurdles are highly persistent pollutants, and will continue to circulate in ocean currents and wash ashore for decades. They are also “toxic sponges”, which attract chemical toxins and other pollutants on to their surfaces.
“The pellets themselves are a mixture of chemicals – they are fossil fuels,” says Tom Gammage, at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international campaign group. “But they act as toxic sponges. A lot of toxic chemicals – which in the case of Sri Lanka are already in the water – are hydrophobic [repel water], so they gather on the surface of microplastics.
“Pollutants can be a million times more concentrated on the surface of pellets than in the water,” he says. “And we know from lab studies that when a fish eats a pellet, some of those pollutants come loose.”
Nurdles also act as “rafts” for harmful bacteria such as E coli or even cholera, one study found, transporting them from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff to bathing waters and shellfish beds. The phenomenon of “plastic rafting” is increasing.
Yet nurdles, unlike substances such as kerosene, diesel and petrol, are not deemed hazardous under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) dangerous goods code for safe handling and storage. This is despite the threat to the environment from plastic pellets being known about for three decades, as detailed in a 1993 report from the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency on how the plastics industry could reduce spillages.
Now environmentalists are joining forces with the Sri Lankan government in an attempt to turn the X-Press Pearl disaster into a catalyst for change.
When the IMO’s marine environment protection committee met in London this week, Sri Lanka’s call for nurdles to be classified as hazardous goods attracted public support, with more than 50,000 people signing a petition. “There is nothing to stop what happened in Sri Lanka happening again,” says Gammage.
The nurdles came from another Formosa plant in Texas, which had spilled vast amounts of the pellets into Lavaca Bay on the Gulf of Mexico (Formosa agreed to pay $50m to settle a lawsuit for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act). The charges against the activists, which carried a 15-year prison term, were later dropped.
Such incidents are preventable, campaigners say. “The sinking of the X-Press Pearl – and spill of chemical products and plastic pellets into the seas of Sri Lanka – caused untold damage to marine life and destroyed local livelihoods,” says Hemantha Withanage, director of the Centre for Environmental Justice in Sri Lanka. Consumption of fish, the main protein source for 40% of Sri Lankans, has reduced drastically, he says. “It was a huge accident and unfortunately there’s no guidance from the IMO.”
Classifying nurdles as hazardous – as is the case for explosives, flammable liquids and other environmentally harmful substances – would make them subject to strict conditions for shipping. “They must be stored below deck, in more robust packaging with clear labelling,” says Tanya Cox, marine plastic specialist at the conservation charity Flora & Fauna International. “They would also be subject to disaster-response protocols that can, if implemented in the event of an emergency, prevent the worst environmental impacts.”
But the nurdle can has been kicked down the road, with the IMO secretariat referring the issue to its pollution, prevention and response committee, which meets next year. Campaigners said it was disappointing that the Sri Lankan proposal was not properly discussed. The EIA’s Christina Dixon said: “The attitude of the committee members was extraordinary and showed a callous disregard for plastic pollution from ships as a threat to coastal communities, ecosystems and food security. This is simply unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the cleanup continues in Sri Lanka. Some of the 470 turtles, 46 dolphins and eight whales washing ashore have had nurdles in their bodies, says Withanage. While there is no proof the nurdles were responsible, he says: “I’ve seen some of the dolphins and they had plastic particles inside. There are 20,000 families who have had to stop fishing.
“The fishermen say when they dip [themselves] into the water, the pellets get into their ears. It’s affected tourism, everything.”