By Dan Haag
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will host a series of workshops in Tillamook and Clatsop County as they develop their management plan for the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.
Located just off of Oswald West State Park north of Manzanita, the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve is the northernmost of Oregon’s five marine reserves. It was established in 2016.
ODFW is responsible for the overall management and scientific monitoring of all five marine reserves. The management plan feeds the state and community priorities for each site.
The ODFW workshops will be held in three North Coast locations over the next month to gather public input: October 25 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Pine Grove Community House in Manzanita; November 6 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Best Western Plus Ocean View Resort in Seaside; November 28 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Garibaldi City Hall.
Input will be used to develop strategies and actions included in the management plan that will be carried out by ODFW in support of scientific research, keeping locals up-to-date and informed, engaging communities, and supporting compliance and enforcement.
The management plan will document local community interests for activities above and beyond what is already being carried out by ODFW.
By highlighting the communities’ interests in the plan, ODFW hopes to attract additional research and resources to foster future projects in and around Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.
ODFW Program Leader Cristen Don says hearing from the communities that border Cape Falcon Marine Reserve is vital to developing a sound management plan.
“We look and listen for ideas from the community on additional research or monitoring projects,” she says. “Those could be a variety of projects, like outreach and education projects, citizen science, or economic development.”
Don will be moderating each session and has worked on the planning and implementation of Oregon’s marine reserves since 2007. She recently completed similar plans for two other marine reserves and looks forward to hearing from interested citizens.
“These workshops will give us a chance to hear what interests folks about Cape Falcon Marine Reserve,” she says. “Is it the ecology? What hiking is nearby? What kind of on-water, non-extractive activities can they do? It’ll help us tailor our outreach programs to each community.”
Another big component of the workshops is establishing clear lines of communication between these communities and ODFW so information can be shared in a timely manner.
“We want to know who we can connect with, either groups or individuals,” Don says. “We want to know where the information hubs are in each community so we can improve our communication and outreach.”
Each workshop will feature presentations on Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, a chance for Q & A, and an opportunity to brainstorm ideas.
If you can’t make any of the workshops, there are two additional opportunities to learn about Oregon’s marine reserves. ODFW will be hosting two “Virtual Tours” of the reserves, with special focus on Cape Falcon. Don calls these presentations “a deeper dive” into what makes up a marine reserve. These will be on October 30 at 6:00 pm at Tillamook County Library and November 14 at 6:00 pm at Cannon Beach Library.
After the workshops wrap up, ODFW will then take the gathered input and begin developing a draft, which will be followed by a public review and a revision process, and then implementation. The implemented strategy will be reviewed every five years.
While she strongly encourages locals to attend, Don says you don’t have to be at the workshops or events to have your voice heard. ODFW is developing an online survey that will address many of the same issues.
“Or just give me a call,” she says. “I am happy to talk on the phone or make time to come sit down with folks in person.”
For more information on Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, visit http://oregonmarinereserves.com/reserves/cape-falcon/ To contact Cristen Don, email Cristen.N.Don@state.or.us or call (541). 867.7701 (ext. 228)