Sunday, May 31, 2015

Becoming Educated in Marine Conservation and Policies

By: Chaleen Begin & Cat Lo
After having a relaxing three day weekend for Memorial Day, we launched right into learning about topics in marine conservation and policies on Tuesday, May 26th from our new instructor, Sarah Henkel. This week was all about getting exposed to current states of our marine ecosystems through a local, national, and global scale, and recognize potential solutions that have been established or may be in the works. Examples of policies, management plans, and other restoration goals such as the watershed and salmon restoration were explored in this week.

Because the weeks in this course were slightly modified to accommodate low tide for our research projects, we actually began the course on the previous Friday talking about the current state of the oceans and services that can be provided which include aquaculture and renewable energy sources.  We ended the day by getting into groups to choose conservation topics to we wanted to present. What a great way to start off the long weekend!

Our focus on Tuesday was to tackle important information about marine reserves and the ecological benefits and management concerns that result from them. Marine Reserves (MR) are designated areas that prohibit any commercial or recreational efforts to remove something in the area, also known as no-take. Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in general is a loose term that can consist of occasional no-take reserves, but essentially the main idea is to assist in the conservation for marine resources.
If you’re ever curious, MRs and MPAs in Oregon aim to succeed in three main goals: 1. Preserve cultural and or natural heritage, 2. protect habitats, and 3. create reference areas that will assist scientific research and monitoring for efficiency.

Later that evening we all gathered in the Guin Library for an informative discussion about our own ideas on the science, policy, and ethics scientists face with. We have some very engaging minds in the class and it’s safe to say it was a successful discussion!

Laura explaining the components of a crab pot. 
Look at how large they are! (May 27, 2015)

On Wednesday, we were lucky enough to meet with Laura Anderson, the owner of a popular restaurant just on the Bayfront called Local Oceans to learn about sustainability and the decisions for choosing certain seafoods to place on the market. Laura guided us through the docks to point out key features on the boats important for identifying what type of fish they catch.  

This circular net is being built for capturing pink bay shrimp

Here are some hoochies found on one of the boats. Don’t be confused by the name, these are perfect lures to capture Salmon. (Image right)

A key feature of this boat indicates that it uses trolling methods to send out multiple fishing lines with bait to catch fish such as Salmon and other pelagic fish (Image left).

19 eager students ready to eat some delicious food at Local Oceans!

After our highly informative dock walk, we went straight to Local Oceans for a delicious early lunch.  Thank you again Laura for providing such valuable information on fisheries!

We finished the day off by pushing through a couple hours of lectures. Methods to reduce bycatch and the effects of climate change on oceans were highlighted. Lastly, Sarah kindly showed us a brief introduction to seabirds and their intense connection they’ve created between the land and sea. 

Paul Engelmeyer (right) spent the
day with the class discussing his
conservation efforts and successes.
Here he is showing a map of the
 land use in the central Oregon coast
 at Cape Perpetua (May 28, 2015)
Thursday, we had the opportunity to meet with Paul Engelmeyer at Cape Perpetua as he told us about his work as a conservationist working in many different areas; from watershed council, forest management, MPA’s and MR’s, and much more. Paul taught us the importance of restoring forests, marine areas, and protection of species such as Salmon and the Marbled Murrelet. After walking through the scenic area we moved onto Tenmile Creek were we learned about an ODFW project that looks at the number of fish coming down the river by using a rotary screw trap. We heard about their project as well as the importance of drift wood in the river. The wood provides a habitat for the fish which helps protect fish from predators and gives them a chance to rest. 
ODFW Rotary Screw Trap at Tenmile Creek 

At this point we got the chance to see and touch a lamprey that had spent the last 8 months in the river fasting and reproducing. After looking at the fish from the trap, we moved upstream of Tenmile Creek where we got to explore the old growth forest and learn more about the Marbled Murrelet. Paul walked us through the old growth forest pointing out the Sitka Spruce, and the habitat used by the Murrelet. The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered marine bird that spends most of the time at sea, however once a year they come inland, up to about 50 miles, to nest. Each year they only lay one egg in the old growth forests in California, Oregon, and Washington. This is a unique bird and Paul has done amazing work to study and protect the Marbled Murrelet.
Cat (left), Landon (middle), and Rachel (Left) 
holding the Lamprey at Tenmile Creek 
Paul Engelmeyer talking about the 
old growth forest and the
 Sitka Spruce at Tenmile Creek 

Friday, May 29th, was our last day of Marine Conservation and Policy, and our last of class for the term. We spent then day presenting our conservation and policy projects to the class. Projects topics included: Hagfish fisheries, the Arctic Ocean, coral reefs, artificial reefs, phytoplankton blooms, ocean acidification, marine resources as medicine, and several more. Each presentation offered new information and new insight on conservation and policy in many different areas to the class. Overall we had a fantastic week, and we couldn’t have done it without the most enthusiastic Sarah Henkel and passionate Paul Engelmeyer.
Rachel presenting to the class about coral reef conservation. Nice job Rachel! (May 29, 2015)

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