Marine Reserves News: Celebratory Summit, Research Updates, and Community Outreach

A Deeper Dive

Celebratory Summit


Outreach and Community Engagement Project Leader Kendall Smith showcases the Marine Reserves table display and activity at the celebratory summit.

The Nature Conservancy hosted and organized a 10-year marine reserves celebratory summit in late April on the central coast. Community teams, managers, scientific partners, and organizations gathered to reflect on their progress in Oregon’s marine reserves and look towards the future of science and community engagement.

Marine Reserves Program staff attended the summit and connected with collaborators, legislators, and community groups. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the progress made in our program and communicate about goals moving forward.

Outreach and Community Engagement Project Leader Kendall Smith shared takeaways from the synthesis report and engaged participants in a spin-to-win marine reserves trivia activity. Participants learned about specific findings from the 10-year synthesis report and had a chance to win marine reserves prizes!


Program Leader Lindsay Aylesworth presents on ODFW's Marine Reserves Program highlights from the past 10 years and goals for the future.

Program Leader Lindsay Aylesworth presented on the past 10 years of science, partnerships, community engagement, and human dimensions research in Oregon’s Marine Reserves Program. Lindsay also shared projected goals for the next 12-18 months of the Marine Reserves Program as we continue to navigate staff changes and the on-going session of the Oregon Legislature.


Calla Allison (left), founder and director of the California MPA Collaborative Network, and Kevin Grant (right) Washington Marine Sanctuary Superintendent present on nearby marine conservation programs.

The summit also featured presentations from scientific collaborators at Oregon State University, community teams, regional affiliates from neighboring states and more. These sessions brought constituents together to present on community engagement progress made in Oregon’s Marine Reserves, how scientific studies are designed, and best practices for implementation of region-wide marine protections.

Updates from the Field – Human Dimensions


Visitors taking in the view at Oregon's marine reserves.

The Marine Reserves Program will take part in a groundbreaking new study designed to estimate how Oregonians assign value to the reserves beyond traditional economic impacts, referred to as "non-market values". The study’s results will reflect a metric similar to a “National Happiness Index,” which are measures of the collective happiness and well-being of a country’s population.

Conducted by faculty at Utah State and Oregon State universities, the subjective well-being study is a continuation of an earlier project considering “non-market values” of the marine reserves. It will quantify concepts of awareness and knowledge about Oregon's marine reserves. In the survey, participants will be asked a series of questions designed to investigate how different scenarios impact well-being. Perceived changes to subjective well-being could help researchers understand how participant responses relate to non-market values. These non-market values supplement traditional economic values like tourism dollars, income from research contracts with commercial fishing captains and other impacts to coastal communities.

The study will begin in the next two weeks with an online survey sent to a cross-section of Oregonians who have previously agreed to participate. The first round of questions will be used to help finalize the questions for the upcoming main survey, which is expected in late Summer or Fall.

Updates From the Field - Ecological


Ecological Project Leader Stephanie Fields (right) and university collaborators prepare gear for ecological mooring deployment.

Ocean Mooring

Our ecological team is hard at work finalizing the preparation for field season. We are assembling the SMURF moorings for deployment in early May. Assembling moorings includes preparing temperature and oxygen sensors so that they can accurately collect oceanographic data.

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Part of our volunteer network for ecological monitoring includes biological assistants that help us collect and record data during field work. We hosted a virtual training this month and trained 20 biological assistants for our hook-and-line surveys which will be performed at Cape Falcon Marine Reserve out of Garibaldi and at Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve out of Port Orford.


Lastly, our ecological team is prepping for the SCUBA, hook-and-line, and longline surveys. Look for our May newsletter and blog posts for more ecological monitoring updates as field season begins.

Community Outreach Update

Community Nights:


Artist Nora Sherwood (left) guiding watercolor techniques with Cape Perpetua Collaborative community night participants.

 ODFW partnered with the Cape Perpetua Collaborative, a marine reserves community team, to fund and organize a series of community nights which concludes this month (April). Members of the communities surrounding the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve were invited to learn about Oregon’s Marine Reserves Program and community groups to strengthen connections and spread awareness.


The community events consisted of three paint nights held between March and April and conclude with a storytelling night on April 28th. The goal was to raise awareness about the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve by combining art and science!

Lincoln City watercolor artist Nora Sherwood guided participants through watercolor paintings of marine organisms found in Oregon’s marine reserves, while offering expert techniques and assistance. ODFW Outreach and Community Engagement Project Leader Kendall Smith attended and shared top stories about the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve from the 10-year synthesis report.

Marine Science Day:


Marine Program Coordinator for the Friends of Otter Rock Marine Reserve, Taylor Brooks, and Board Member, Dennis White, engaging with young participants at Hatfield Marine Science Day.

Community team, Friends of Otter Rock Marine Reserve, connected with students and community members in the central coast area and beyond at Hatfield's Marine Science Day 2023. Friends of Otter Rock Marine Program Coordinator Taylor Brooks and Board Members Dennis White, Marilyne Coblentz-Strong and Genevieve Coblentz-Strong shared information about their community team and added 23 volunteers to their interest list.

This event reached over 1,650 community members and visitors while increasing awareness about Oregon’s Marine Reserves and community resources. Great job Friends of Otter Rock Marine Reserve!

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