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News

The latest goings-on at the MidCoast Watersheds Council

Developing a Dissolved Oxygen TMDL for the Siletz River

MidCoast Watersheds Council

The main stem of the Siletz River is water quality impaired, including a 303(d) Category 5 listing for dissolved oxygen from the confluence of the North and South Forks to Cedar Creek. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is currently developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to determine the causes of the dissolved oxygen impairment and identify the maximum allowable pollutant loads in order to attain the dissolved oxygen standards. Join the Siletz Watershed Council’s fall quarterly meeting for a presentation on this process from Oregon DEQ’s Water Quality Analyst, Ryan Shojinaga, beginning at 6:30 PM in the Siletz Public Library. 

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In the past two years, Oregon DEQ has conducted two studies of water quality in the Siletz Watershed. The first study involved collecting an extensive amount of water quality data in 2017 followed by thorough analysis in 2018. The second study involved modeling hydrology and nutrient loads generating from landscape runoff processes. Ryan Shojinaga will present a high level discussion of results and conclusions from both studies, with an eye on how these pieces fit into the TMDL process and what the next steps are. Ryan is a Water Quality Analyst with more than 15 years of experience in water resources engineering and environmental science. His professional journey has led him to Australia and back, working on exciting projects along the way. Ryan’s professional expertise is in surface water hydrology, hydraulics, water quality and numerical modeling.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM at the Siletz Public Library on 225 SE Gaither Street. Refreshments will be provided. A Siletz Watershed Council meeting will follow the presentation to give updates on the MidCoast Watersheds Council restoration and monitoring work in the Siletz Basin, disperse ODFW’s new Siletz River Guide, discuss future SWC goals, and allow time for any questions and announcements from the community.

Oregon's Changing Ocean: What Kelp, Sea Stars, and Other Organisms Can Tell Us

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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From sea star wasting disease to ocean acidification, our coastal ecosystems are changing in ways that may test their resilience. While understanding these changes and their impacts can be daunting to study, long-term monitoring and research can provide information that can help us decide on appropriate management steps. The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) has been doing such monitoring on the west coast for two decades.  Now celebrating its 20th year, this collaboration between four west coast universities and partners including local, state, and federal agencies, and local community members helps us better understand our coastal oceans. At the September 5th MidCoast Watersheds Council Community Meeting, PISCO’s Heather Fulton-Bennett will highlight some of the results of this work, focusing on the long term changes along our coasts, current efforts, and what is expected in the future. The public is invited.

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Founded as a partnership between Oregon State University, Stanford University, and the Universities of California Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, PISCO has been at the forefront of studying sea star wasting, marine protected areas, ocean acidification, and hypoxia.  PISCO has a strong emphasis on public communication and being responsive to management and policy, needs.  Heather Fulton-Bennett joined these efforts as a PhD candidate at Oregon State University working with Drs. Bruce Menge and Jane Lubchenco. Her research focuses on the effect of ocean acidification on seaweeds in Oregon and New Zealand. Before joining Oregon State she earned a master's degree at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California studying marine science and kelp ecology. Her background also includes working with artisanal fisheries in Mexico and monitoring seawater cooling systems at a power plant. 

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive.  Refreshments will be provided.  Prior to the presentation, consider venturing into the VAC’s third floor gallery to check out The Wetland Conservancy’s traveling art exhibit, Ode to Tides from 4:00-6:00 PM. The display of original, Northwest artwork in a variety of media recognizes the aesthetic and ecological significance of Oregon’s estuaries, tide pools and intertidal habitats, and seeks to spark community and creative interdisciplinary engagement, promote conservation, and enhance visitor experience and support of coastal resources and communities. It is sure to get you in the mindset for Fulton-Bennett’s intertidal presentation! Following the presentation, a MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will carry out with the following agenda: financial report, restoration report, technical team report, administrative committee report, and action items. We hope to see you on Thursday, September 5th.

 

Habitat Restoration Work: What Benefits Can We Expect for Salmon and Watersheds?

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Restoration in the Siletz River Basin, which supports one of the most diverse assemblages of fish species on the Oregon Coast and the fishers who seek them year-round, is about to see the benefits of a major culvert replacement project. Located on North Creek—a tributary to Drift Creek—this project will make over 13 miles of high quality habitat within the Siuslaw National Forest fully accessible to Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, lamprey, freshwater mussels, and other aquatic organisms for the first time in 62 years. At the August 1st MCWC Community Meeting—beginning  at 6:30 PM at the Newport Visual Arts Center—Council Coordinator, Evan Hayduk, will provide an update on the ongoing project, and provide context to one of the biggest restoration projects completed during his three year tenure.

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Restoration work is at times as much of an art as it is a science, and is never finished until natural processes are restored. Culvert replacements like that at North Creek are just one of a suite of actions the MidCoast Watersheds Council and partners take on the ground to restore habitat and watershed scale processes, supporting salmon and everything else that depend on them. Other actions may include large wood placements, dike removal, invasive species management, and riparian planting and fencing. It takes understanding site characteristics and working in partnership with the landwoners, other organizations, and agencies to determine the right actions for any particular project and to see these tasks through. Years after these exciting projects wrap up, MCWC continues monitoring them to ensure that the actions taken are working to achieve the desired goals. Evan’s presentation will shed light on the benefits expected or seen from various restoration projects, illustrating before and after conditions on the ground.  Evan came to MCWC and Oregon’s Central Coast after almost a decade of work restoring riparian, wetland, sub-alpine, prairie, forested and oak savanna ecosystems in Washington state.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: financial report, restoration report, technical team report, administrative committee report, and action items. We hope to see you on Thursday, August 1st!

#grants4plants

MidCoast Watersheds Council

MidCoast Watersheds Council is applying for a grant from Mountain Rose Herbs to help support volunteer and nursery activities at the Beaver Creek Native Plant Nursery, in order to ensure sustained, quality care of native plants being stored there prior to their use in watershed restoration projects. This in turn will allow for the greatest chance of plant survival and provision of ecosystem services such as shade, water filtration, soil stabilization, pollinator habitat, large woody debris, and carbon sequestration, among others.

As part of the application process, we made this little video to help showcase the nursery and awesome people who help run it! A big thank you goes out to all who contributed their photos and film footage for this application process, as well as to those who spend so much of their time and energy at the nursery.

Restoration Project Underway in the Drift Creek (Siletz) Watershed

MidCoast Watersheds Council

Even during low summer flows, the old North Creek culvert was clearly undersized.

Even during low summer flows, the old North Creek culvert was clearly undersized.

The ground has broken at a major culvert replacement project on North Creek, a tributary to Drift Creek in the Siletz River Basin, being managed by the MidCoast Watersheds Council, the US Forest Service, and other collaborators. In preparation for the heavy construction involved in removing the grossly undersized culvert, last week a total of 432 aquatic organisms—including rearing salmon—were removed to good habitat downstream so that dewatering of the work site could take place without harm. While rains at the end of June slowed down excavation work, the old culvert was successfully removed on June 28th.

Recolonization of North Creek by native fish will be easier than at other sites,  as it is a direct tributary to Drift Creek, which already contains intact freshwater mussel beds and coho salmon rearing habitat.

Recolonization of North Creek by native fish will be easier than at other sites, as it is a direct tributary to Drift Creek, which already contains intact freshwater mussel beds and coho salmon rearing habitat.

Upon completion, this project will open up about 16 miles of high quality fish habitat in the Siuslaw National Forest by removing the current culvert and replacing it with an appropriately sized, open-bottomed structure. This coming fall, Chinook and coho salmon, along with steelhead, coastal cutthroat, lamprey, freshwater mussels, and other aquatic organisms will be able to freely access the habitats of North Creek for the first time in 62 years.

Before road construction in 1958, small boulders, cobble, gravel, and large woody debris settled near the mouth of North Creek during large storm events that brought the material down from its’ 4.4 square mile watershed,. This created excellent salmon spawning and rearing habitat, and a home for a genetically distinct population of Chinook salmon. However, construction of Forest Road 1790 resulted in a culvert less than half bank full width being placed 750 feet above the confluence of North Creek with Drift Creek. The Oregon Fish Commission quickly identified the North Creek culvert as a fish passage problem in 1961. Over the years, engineered fish passage improvement projects were attempted but all failed. Storm flows destroyed concrete lined pools below the culvert outlet in the early 1960's. Concrete weirs built in 1982 were unsuccessful even with modifications and the addition of boulders and large wood. As a result, high water velocity through the undersized culvert eroded stream cobble and gravel, leaving exposed bedrock. Adult Chinook salmon have not been seen in North Creek for decades, and environmental DNA analysis conducted by Trout Unlimited in 2018 detected no Pacific lamprey—an ESA listed species—above the culvert.

USFS Hydrologist Leah Tai stands next to the concrete weirs constructed below the undersized culvert, which are also set to be removed.

USFS Hydrologist Leah Tai stands next to the concrete weirs constructed below the undersized culvert, which are also set to be removed.

The entirety of the North Creek watershed was included in the designation of a late-successional reserve as part of the Northwest Forest Plan adoption in 1994. This means that the forest here is managed to enhance the development of old growth conditions, which in turn provide important watershed and aquatic habitat benefits. Restoration activities will greatly advance the ability for these benefits to be realized—especially in terms of the transportation of large woody debris into the creek previously prevented by the undersized culvert. Large woody debris in streams help to provide cover for juvenile fish, slow water to collect spawning gravels, and create deep pools that provide refuge for both juvenile and adult fish.

Following the culvert removal, other restoration activities will include the removal of the concrete weirs, installation of the new open-bottomed culvert, installation of natural boulders and cobble in the streambed, and seeding of native plants. During the remainder of this work, Forest Service Road 1790 will be closed to allow operation vehicles full access to the site. While this blocks access to Drift Creek Camp and other popular recreational areas, it is a short-term impact that will allow for long-term access of salmon and other aquatic organisms to high quality habitat. The road is currently set to reopen on August 31st, and visitors are welcome to check out the new changes at that time.

A sign was posted at North Creek prior to construction to inform visitors of the crowdfunding campaign.

A sign was posted at North Creek prior to construction to inform visitors of the crowdfunding campaign.

Construction costs for this project total approximately $900,000, with support received via grants from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Transportation-Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Passage, Trout Unlimited, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as a crowdfunding campaign through the Native Fish Society.

"Stitching the Northwest Back Together": MCWC featured in High Country News

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Chair of the Board, Paul Engelmeyer, took High Country News Executive Director and Publisher Paul Larmer on a bit of a Central Oregon Coast road trip this spring, stopping at private and public forests, streams, freshwater wetlands and estuaries— ranging from Cape Perpetua to Cascade Head— to discuss conservation issues and restoration solutions along the way. The tour was part of HCN’s ‘On the Road to 50‘ larger tour of the West, with the goal of learning about readers’ concerns as the nonprofit, independent media organization prepares to celebrate 50 years of publishing in 2020. We are excited by and grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of our mission on a regional level.

Read the full story here: https://www.hcn.org/issues/51.10/on-the-road-to-50-stitching-the-northwest-back-together

MCWC is Hiring!

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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The eDNA Sampling and Temperature Monitoring Intern will aid MidCoast Watersheds Council staff in collection of eDNA samples that target two under-recognized aquatic organisms—freshwater mussel and lamprey—in order to fill in species distribution gaps.  This pilot-project will help inform future conservation and restoration actions by MCWC and its partners, and will guide a larger sampling effort in summer 2020. eDNA samples and temperature data will be collected on at least 60 sites on the Alsea and Yachats River and their tributaries. Samples will be sent to partners at the Bureau of Land Management for analysis. Results will complement the BLM’s eDNA Basinwide Lamprey Inventory and Monitoring Project and Xerces Society’s freshwater mussel database. Oregon Wildlife Foundation is a major funder of this project.

This position is part-time, a stipend is offered, and University credit is possible for current students.

For the full intern position description and application instructions, click here.

Tracking the survival and abundance of Oregon’s coastal Coho populations

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Join the Siletz Watershed Council’s summer quarterly meeting, on Tuesday, June 18th, as Mike Lance and Erik Suring from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salmonid Life Cycle Monitoring Project discuss where and how they study coho populations, general trends in coho populations, results of monitoring efforts in the Mill Creek watershed near Logsden, and how this information is used by managers and collaborators to help protect these important fisheries while providing opportunities for responsible use. The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Siletz at the Public Library on 225 SE Gaither Street

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Salmon play a critical role in the ecology and communities of western Oregon by transporting nutrients and energy between marine and freshwater environments, and providing the basis for commercial, sport, and tribal fisheries. ODFW began monitoring the abundance and survival rates of coho salmon across western Oregon in response to declines in the 1980s and 1990s. The goal of the Salmonid Life Cycle Monitoring Project (https://nrimp.dfw.state.or.us/crl/default.aspx?pn=SLCMP) is to create reliable estimates of the production of juvenile coho smolts, rates of marine survival, and counts of returning adult coho. Fisheries managers use this information to evaluate population trends, set harvest regulations, and monitor the effectiveness of restoration activities. This management is informed by 20 years of data in select basins.

Mike Lance is a research fisheries biologist with ODFW in Newport, Oregon where he is an assistant project leader on the Salmonid Life Cycle Monitoring Project. He oversees research and monitoring of Coho Salmon at sites in the Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, and Tenmile Watersheds. Erik Suring is a research fisheries biologist with ODFW in Corvallis, Oregon, and he is the project leader of the Salmonid Life Cycle Monitoring Project. Erik oversees monitoring and research projects along the entire Oregon coast and up the lower Columbia River.

A Siletz Watershed Council meeting will follow the presentation to review the Siletz River Clean Up, give updates on the North Creek culvert replacement, and allow time for any questions and announcements from the community.

June is Orca Month: join us in restoring salmon habitat

MidCoast Watersheds Council

Healthy orcas start with healthy food, and salmon need healthy habitat. That’s why we are partnering to put on not one, but three restoration work parties on Fridays this month: the 7th, 14th, and 21st!

Short descriptions of each event we’re planning follow below, as well as links to more information about them. Please contact ari@midcoastwc.org with any questions.

All Orca Month events listed here.


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June 7th, 10 AM to 3:30 PM: Restoration Work Party at Sitka Springs Farm

Care for a former riparian planting along a salmon-bearing stream by conducting some site preparation and planting at a small organic farm and long-time partner of the Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District.

More info/directions here.


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June 14th, 9 AM to 12 PM: Beaver Creek Native Plant Nursery Work Party

Volunteers are vital to ensuring locally-adapted plants are available for use in restoration, improving their survival rate and ability to support healthy watersheds, salmon, and everything that relies on these once they are out-planted across the Central Coast. Tasks at the nursery include sowing seeds, starting shrbus from cuttings, potting plants, and weeding.

More info/directions here.


June 21st, 10 AM to 2 PM: Invasive Species Removal in the Salmon River Estuary

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Continue a legacy of restoration by removing invasive species at two important sites. As native plants continue to establish, they must contend with Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, laurel, fox glove, and other invasive species. Removing these early in the growing season will help ensure young native trees and shrubs are given the best chance to survive so that they may provide habitat benefits for fish and wildlife over the long run.

More info/directions here.

C2C Trail: History, Development, and Updates

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Imagine traveling along a 50 mile trail linking the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Ocean, taking in the rich cultural, geologic, and ecological attributes of the landscape that is harder to fully grasp at faster paces. This picture is soon to become a reality, in the form of the Corvallis-to-the-Sea—or C2C—Trail . Jim Golden will present the latest trail development updates at the June 6th  MidCoast Watersheds Council Community Meeting, in the Newport Visual Arts Center, starting at 6:30 PM.

The C2C trail’s completed eastern half begins in Corvallis at the confluence of the Marys and Willamette Rivers. Hiking takes place on bike paths, some highway and county road sections, than continues into the lush Coast Range on actively managed forest lands and old growth reserves alike. After passing through more traditional single-track sections being built, the trail will ultimately end at the confluence of Beaver Creek with the Pacific on Ona Beach, within Brian Booth State Park. MCWC has implemented restoration projects throughout the Beaver Creek Watershed, and the trail provides potential for hikers to catch a rare glimpse of restoration sites as they mature.

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With both a BS and MS in Fisheries from Oregon State University, Jim is keen on keeping fish, wildlife, and habitat in consideration in trail planning. His career background included 34 years spent with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as a technician, biologist, and finally as the manager of the Marine Resources Program, based out of Hatfield Marine Sciences Center. Following, he spent 13 years as a consultant with Golden Marine Consulting. “After spending so many years exploring the marine environment, I turned east and started exploring Oregon’s terrestrial and freshwater habitats,” Jim says, which lead him to joining the C2C Trail organization. Over the past four years ago, he has worked directly on the trail, as well as a board member for the organization.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: financial report, restoration report, technical team report, administrative committee report, and action items. We hope to see you on Thursday, June 6th!

Integrated Stormwater Management

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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What actions can we take to coexist with fish and wildlife in our towns and cities? How can we maintain healthy streams where we live as more development occurs? There is great need to be mindful of the quality and quantity of water run-off in our communities, and how development changes these conditions. Please join the MidCoast Watersheds Council at our monthly Community Meeting as Mike Broili presents on the importance of—and the techniques and tools used in—restoring site hydrology in the built environment.  

Over the past 150 years, most development has occurred without consideration of the impacts to the natural systems that sustain us. In the face of present day environmental issues coupled with the expected population growth in this region, we must collectively rethink how we develop our built environments and the impacts they have on hydrology and other supporting natural systems.

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Mike Broili moved from the Seattle area to South Beach with his partner Karen just over two years ago, after retiring from his own environmental consulting and design firm, Living Systems Design, where he focused on low impact, sustainable building and storm water management in Shoreline, Washington. Mike grew up in a fishing and logging family in Port Orford and worked in the fishing industry in Alaska. While in Shoreline, Mike also founded and served as the former Chair of the Board of the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation; on the City of Shoreline’s Parks Board, Bond Advisory Committee, Arts Jury, and Planning Commission; and as the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Well Home Program Director. He is a Washington Native Plant Steward, a King County Forest Adviser, a certified Sustainable Building Advisor, and a Compost Facility Operator.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: financial report, restoration report, technical team report, administrative committee report, and action items. We hope to see you on Thursday, May 2nd!

Arbor Day Potting Party: Friday, April 26th

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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MCWC staff and partners from Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District will be trekking up to the Northwest Oregon Restoration Partnership (NORP) Native Plant Nursery on Friday, April 26th. Volunteering our time potting plants there allows us to buy coastally-adapted native plants for our restoration work at 25% of their full cost. Even more, the other 75% qualifies as in-kind match on restoration project grants. 

The potting party will run from 10 AM to 3:30 PM at 6820 Barracks Circle, Tillamook, OR 97141. If you are looking for an opportunity to extend your green thumb to your greater watershed, consider joining us!

Want to arrive/leave on your own time? Meet us there. Please register at the following link if you choose to take this route: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/potting-party-days-tickets-53936678056?aff=erelexpmlt

Up for a full day? Join our carpool by meeting us at 8 AM at the MCWC/LSWCD office at 411 NE Avery St, Newport, OR 97365. Respond to this email if you plan to do this. 

Please dress for the weather, bring gloves if you have them, and water and food (pizza has been provided at past potting parties, but it is unclear at this time whether it will be made available). Also, because NORP works in partnership with Oregon Youth Authority, you must be 18+.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. 

Hope to have you in our company this Arbor Day, Friday, April 26th! 

Annual Siletz River Clean Up: Saturday, May 11th, 2019 9 AM to 2 PM at Hee Hee Illahe Park, Siletz

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Join Siletz Watershed Council, MidCoast Watersheds Council, and partners for a day on the water removing trash during the Annual Siletz River Clean Up on the Saturday, April 13th.

This is a family-friendly event, with opportunities for trash pickup both by boat and by foot to support the health of this special river system.

With a river length of 67 miles from its’ headwaters in the Coast Range to where it meets the Pacific just south of Lincoln City, the Siletz River Watershed drains a total area of 197,120 acres. The cities of Siletz, Toledo, Newport, and Seal Rock all obtain water from this system. In addition, the river supports vulnerable populations of coho salmon, summer steelhead, and spring chinook, as well as winter steelhead, fall chinook, chum, and cutthroat and rainbow trout, and is a popular recreational fishing destination.

River users from the Central Coast and the Willamette Valley recognize the importance of this watershed. During the 2017 Clean Up, 20 volunteers in four boats collected over 1,000 pounds of garbage from the river and banks. In 2018, the event was delayed a month back from its usual date due to high flows and bad weather. But even with this change in schedule, over 25 volunteers in five boats collected over 1,200 pounds of garbage.

These collections include a range of trash, from smaller items such as plastic bottles and food containers, to larger items like car tires and even car bodies. By working with local boat owners, we are able to remove much more trash—and much larger pieces of trash—than would be possible with just land-based coverage.

Prior to divvying up volunteers into teams, coffee and donuts may be enjoyed in the morning, thanks to donations by Starbucks and JC Thriftway.

After all the hard work is done in the afternoon, a BBQ lunch and raffle takes place. Prizes may include items from: Logsden Store, Siletz Roadhouse, Noel’s Market, Larry’s Old Place, Englund Marine, Newport Marine, Little Chief Restaurant, Harry’s Bait and Tackle, among others.

Other sponsors and supporters include: Siletz Shuttle Service, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Dahl Disposal, SOLVE, City of Siletz, and Local Fishing Guides.

Bring your friends, gloves, waterproof boots, and dress in layers to take part in this long-term effort.

Registration is not required, but preferred, at the following link: https://www.solveoregon.org/opportunity/a0C1I00000Gu7wd

Hope to see you 9 AM at Hee Hee Illahe Park in Siletz on Saturday, May 11th!

 

 

Ocean acidification and hypoxia: What Oregon is doing to understand, adapt to, and mitigate the impacts

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Since the early 2000s, low-oxygen—or hypoxia—has been observed in Oregon’s coastal waters. In 2006, Oregon was one of the first places in the world to observe the direct impacts of ocean acidification. Since then, both ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) events are intensifying.

There are now signs that these events are undermining the rich food webs of Oregon’s ocean and estuarine ecosystems, putting iconic fisheries and coastal communities that depend on them at risk. Join the MidCoast Watersheds Council at our monthly Community Meeting, as Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Resources Program Manager, Dr. Caren Braby, presents information on OAH and the work of the Oregon Coordinating Council on OAH, which she also co-chairs.

To provide guidance and recommendations to the state on how to respond to this issue, Oregon Senate Bill 1039 created the Oregon Coordinating Council on OAH in 2017. Consisting of state agencies, academic experts, stakeholders, and tribal interests, the OAH Council submitted their first report to the State Legislative Assembly this past September. Work continues as Oregon's OAH Action Plan will be completed later this year and become part of the growing number of similar plans globally.

In her roles with ODFW, on the OAH Council, and while serving as the Governor’s representative on the Ocean Acidification Working Group for the Pacific Coast Collaborative,

Dr. Caren Braby provides strategic leadership on all things ‘ocean’ within the state of Oregon and across the West Coast. Caren and her staff build partnerships with industry, academic researchers, tribal governments, agencies, stakeholders, and elected officials to collaboratively define, and achieve, both economic and ecosystem resilience. Over the past five years, changing ocean conditions—including OAH—have become focal points for Caren’s work. She received her Doctorate from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine, though she began her career as a marine biologist toddling through West Coast tidepools at age 2.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: Financial report, Restoration report, Technical Team report, and Administrative Team report and action items.

We hope to see you on Thursday, April 4th!

Mid-Coast Fish District Fisheries, Stock Status, and Restoration

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Curious about the standing of Mid-Coast fish populations following the low returns of fall Chinook and emergency angling restrictions put in place this past fall?

Join the Siletz Watershed Council’s spring quarterly meeting, as Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Mid-Coast Assistant District Fish Biologist, Paul Olmstead, presents an overview of fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead stock status and their fisheries in the Mid-Coast District. In addition, he’ll give updates on the restoration work ODFW is currently undergoing in the Siletz Basin, and projects they’ll begin this summer.

 Olmstead is an Oregonian who has lived in the state his entire life. Raised in McMinnville, he later attended both Oregon State University and University of Oregon, worked as a wildland fire fighter with the US Forest Service, then began his career with ODFW. For 13 years, he has conducted field work and research with the agency, from as far south as Roseburg and as far north as Nehalem, including 8 years at the Corvallis Research Lab, and is currently based in Newport.

 Olmstead says, “I have always had a curiosity and passion surrounding fishing and the biology and ecology associated with salmon, steelhead, and trout in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the Oregon Coast range. I grew up spending lots of time fishing, hunting, camping, and backpacking with my family throughout Oregon and enjoy being outside on a river as much as possible.”

 The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Siletz at the Public Library on 225 SE Gaither Street. Light refreshments will be provided. A Siletz Watershed Council Board meeting will follow the presentation in which planning for the Annual Siletz River Clean Up will take place, as well as time for community questions and announcements.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ON TUESDAY, MARCH 19TH IN SILETZ!

Wave Energy Testing on the Central Coast

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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The Oregon coast has highly energetic and persistent waves that last throughout the year.  Additionally, Oregon offers accessible ports and has a strong maritime support industry.  It is therefore an ideal location for testing wave energy generation devices, from small autonomous systems to large utility-scale grid connected devices.

Join us as Oregon State University’s Burke Hales discusses wave energy and the PacWave test facility offshore of South Beach that is managed by the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

To help Oregon reduce its contribution to climate change, new sources of renewable energy that are complementary to existing solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are essential.  Wave energy has many attributes that fit this need: waves do not ‘set’ at night or become obscured by clouds, and they are not dependent on river discharge and drought/flood cycles.  Waves also persist in the ocean long after the winds die down.  

The PacWave test facility consists of a small existing site (PacWave North) for testing small devices, and an in-development site (PacWave South) for testing larger grid-connected devices.  When constructed, PacWave South will have four independent test berths located seven miles west of South Beach, each connected to our Central Lincoln Public Utility District grid by 5 MW-capable power transmission cables buried below the seafloor. Although this site is strictly for testing and development purposes, the power produced by a full-capacity testing operation could supply power equivalent to that consumed by 2000 homes.

Burke Hales is the chief scientist of PacWave, and a professor of ocean ecology and biogeochemistry. He earned degrees in chemical engineering and chemical oceanography at the University of Washington, and served as a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate Change at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Oregon State in 1998. His research focuses on the ocean’s carbon cycles at its boundaries: The seafloor, the air-sea interface, and the land-ocean margins. As a testament to his technical innovation in ocean science research, Hales is the inventor of the “Burke-o-Lator,” a system that has revolutionized shore-based ocean acidification monitoring. 

The presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: Financial report, Restoration report, Technical Team report, and Administrative Team report and action items.

We hope to see you on Thursday, March 7th!

 

Twenty Years of Monitoring Stream Habitat and Salmon

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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For the past 22 years, the Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District (LSWCD) has been monitoring stream habitat conditions and the populations of salmon and steelhead on our central coast. Please join us for a presentation about the work of the MidCoast Monitoring Project (MCMP) and what has been learned from this long-term work.

The MCMP undertakes Aquatic Habitat Inventories and salmon and steelhead Spawning Grounds Surveys all over Lincoln County from the southern end near Yachats, up to the northern boundary in the Salmon River Basin. The Spawning Ground Surveys for adult Chinook, coho and chum salmon are conducted from late August to the end of January. From February to the end of May, steelhead and lamprey spawning grounds are surveyed.  Typically 50 stream miles are covered for Spawning Grounds Surveys. From June to mid-August salmonid habitats in the Central Coast are surveyed by conducting Aquatic Habitat Inventories on differing streams to document their conditions and changes over time.  Typically 10 miles of Aquatic Habitat Surveys are conducted annually.

The MidCoast Watersheds Council invites the public to attend a presentation by LSWCD Biosurveyor Mark Stone that will take a look at the past, present, and future activities of the MCMP and LSWCD, including beautiful images he’s gathered from some of the special places this work has taken him. Mark has worked with LSWCD since 1996, initially joining as part of the Hire-the-Fisher Program. His over two decades of experience working firsthand in the streams of this region have given him insight into on how stream habitat and salmonid populations have changed over time.

The presentation will take place in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation with the following agenda: Financial report, Restoration report, Technical Team report, Administrative Team report and action items.

We hope to see you on Thursday, February 7th at 6:30 at the Newport VAC!

Introducing Ari Blatt

MidCoast Watersheds Council

Hi All,

I’m Ari Blatt, the new Restoration Program Assistant with the MidCoast Watersheds Council. I just wrapped up my first week here this past Friday and am glad to have already met some of you at the Administrative and General Board Meetings on Thursday. For those of you who I have not yet met, here's a bit about me:

Californian-born but Corvallis-raised since age 3, I count myself lucky for growing up with access to the forests, mountains, and waters that make Oregon so enchanting to transplants and natives alike. From this place grew a desire to gain a deeper ecological knowledge of the world around me.

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With this in mind, I obtained my BS in Environmental Science from Western Washington University in Bellingham in 2016. Being situated on the shores of the Salish Sea, I focused my studies on salmon and their environment, and received an emphasis in marine ecology, along with a minor in American Indian Studies. I stayed in Bellingham for a year after college to work with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, a non-profit similar to MCWC in their goals to recover salmon populations through restoration actions and community outreach.

Upon return to Oregon, I spent several seasons with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sampling recreational fisheries and conducting salmon spawning grounds surveys. At the same time, I worked as a writer at the independent newsweekly the Corvallis Advocate, writing stories within the intersection of environmental science and society. I am excited by the opportunity to combine my love of salmon, restoration, and writing into a single position in my favorite spot on the coast.

In my free time, I am thrilled to surf, ski, cook and read. I am looking forward to getting to know all the members of this community, so say hi when you can!

 

Ari Blatt

ari@midcoastwc.org

Orcas of the Oregon Coast

MidCoast Watersheds Council

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Killer whales, also known as orcas, are perhaps the most widely recognized type of whale in the world. With their distinctive black-and-white coloring, tall dorsal fins, and reputation as top predators, most people know what an orca is and how they live – or do we?

There is a lot more happening beneath the waves than first meets the eye. The MidCoast Watersheds Council invites the public to attend a presentation by Colleen Weiler on Orcas of the Oregon Coast and their connection to our watersheds on January 10th, 2019 at 6:30 PM in Newport.  The meeting will be held in room 205 (upstairs) at the Newport Visual Arts Center at Nye Beach, 777 NW Beach Dr., Refreshments will be served.

Orcas aren’t just the “wolves of the sea,” they live in incredibly close family groups, have lifespans similar to ours, and are one of the best examples of culture in non-human society.  The critically endangered Southern Resident orca community, a unique population that lives off the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, faces threats from fundamental changes to their ecosystem, most vitally the decline of salmon throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  How are these orcas connected to Oregon, and why are healthy rivers and watersheds essential for their continued survival? 

Colleen Weiler is the Rekos Fellow for Orca Conservation at Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).  Her work is to identify effective conservation strategies and protective measures for orca populations around the world, primarily focused on orca populations of the Eastern North Pacific and especially the critically endangered Southern Resident orca community.  WDC works globally through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation and field projects, educational outreach, legal advocacy, and more to develop science-based, ecosystem-wide solutions for protection and recovery of orcas.  Colleen earned a Master of Science in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University and has been active in the marine mammal field for over a decade, in a variety of roles – from rescue and rehabilitation to fieldwork, policy, and conservation.   She has lived and worked in Oregon for 11 years, after giving up on ever seeing a whale in the Great Lakes of her home state of Michigan.

A MidCoast Watersheds Council Board meeting will follow the presentation and refreshment break. Agenda: Financial report, Restoration Report, Technical Team report, Administrative Team report and action items.

Join us to learn more about how Oregonians can help save one of the most endangered whale populations in the world.

We hope to see you on Thursday, January 10th at 6:30 at the Newport VAC.