The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host 16 public open houses (see list and links to rsvp below) with communities in Northern California and Oregon this June to gather input on the potential reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range. The open houses will provide communities and stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and speak with Service staff about sea otters and next steps in recovery efforts including the potential reintroduction process – should a proposal be developed. The sessions are for listening and understanding concerns — we want to hear from everybody to take the information and consider it, along with the scientific data and information, before determining next steps, if any. June 21st you can attend the USFWS Open House event on sea otter reintroduction in Garibaldi from 10:30am-1:00pm at the Old Mill RV Resort.
BONUS: Also on June 21st, join us in person in Nehalem at 5:30pm at the North County Recreation District for an update from Elakha Alliance on returning sea otters to Oregon. RSVP to attend: https://bit.ly/June21Nehalem
This event is sponsored by the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, Nehalem Valley Historical Society, and refreshments will be provided by #OregonOtterBeer participant Pelican Brewing – Tillamook .
The southern sea otter, one of three subspecies of sea otter, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As directed by Congress, the Service assessed reintroduction feasibility in 2022. The assessment concluded that reintroduction was biologically feasible and may have significant benefits for a variety of species in the marine ecosystem and expedite the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter. The assessment also concluded that additional information about how reintroduction would affect stakeholders and local communities was needed before considering the next steps. There is no active proposal to reintroduce sea otters at this time.
The open houses will help the Service gather further information to inform next steps. As the Service considers the possibility of reintroduction, we recognize that community values and issues are critical in this process. Input from the public and key stakeholders, including ocean users, will be a foundational component in establishing next steps including whether or not a potential reintroduction is proposed, as well as ensuring that proposals, if any are developed, are crafted in a way that benefits stakeholders and local communities.
The Service aims to be inclusive, thoughtful, and scientifically sound as we consider actions to support sea otters, local communities and ecosystem recovery, now and in the future.