The Oregon legislature recently designated two areas along the coast as marine reserves. The state hopes to involve the public in the new sites.
Cape Perpetua north of Florence and Cascade Head near Lincoln City join two marine reserves already protected by a 2012 law. In 2016, Cape Falcon near Cannon Beach will round out the coastal sites.
As of the first of the year, the two newest areas are under harvest restrictions. No species of fish or seaweed can be taken from them. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes the protection will create an ocean nursery of sorts, and provide long-term stability for commercial and recreational fishermen.
Cristen Don is a spokeswoman for the ODFW:
Don: "There was a very long process to designate these five sites. The marine reserves bill says we have to monitor these sites and engage communities until the year 2023."
Don says the ODFW is researching how the habitats change over time, as the protections kick in. They're also charged with involving the public, and are asking people to submit ideas.
Don: "It could be a citizen science project, it might be an economic development project around or related to the marine reserve site. It might be a community-led outreach event."
Workshops take place this week in Lincoln City and Florence. The Wednesday meeting takes place at the Lincoln City Community Center from 6-8 p.m. and Thursday's is at the Siuslaw Library from 6-8 p.m.
For more details, follow this link.