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Cape Perpetua: A Collaboration in Conservation

Cape Perpetua is a special place. From the southern end of Yachats to Heceta Head, visitors are often struck by the majesty of this stretch of Oregon coastline, an ongoing collaboration of conservation and recreational management at it's best. We've written often on the many dimensions of Cape Perpetua that beckon the adventurous recreational user - Wilderness and Sanctuary designations, rocky shores of Marine Gardens and Reserves and other special management areas all working together – uniting this land-sea splendor through whole ecosystem conservation and management strategies by the local community, NGOs and state and federal agencies. With so much going on in this remarkable area, collaboration is the key to retaining the Cape's majesty for future generations.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Marine Reserve Program Manager, Cristen Don, explores the rocky intertidal with her dog Playa. Cape Perpetua's rocky intertidal is encompassed by the marine reserve and represents the most diverse area of it's kind in the Pacific Northwest.

In an effort to improve the conservation, management and stewardship of this special place, Surfrider Foundation has been working with other local NGOs, state and federal agencies and local tribes to formalize an effort known as the Cape Perpetua Collaborative. The Collaborative's vision seeks to foster conservation and collaboration within local communities for scientific exchange, management, awareness, and stewardship from the land to the sea in and around Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve.

Surfrider volunteers conduct water quality sampling in and around Cape Perpetua

Last week, Surfrider Foundation supported a Collaborative workshop, the second of this year, bringing together many groups and agencies working within the region to formalize our vision and guiding principles for collaborative efforts, develop a shared workplan for overlapping interests and projects and sign a Declaration of Cooperation to allow for partnered funding and fiscal relationships. Participants and interests represented at the workshop included Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, US Forest Service, Audubon Society of Portland, Surfrider Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.

Various interpretive panels help visitors way-find and learn about special management areas in Cape Perpetua

Much of the effort now is focused on building bridges between existing management, citizen/academic science and stewardship efforts on the ground to strengthen capacity and expand communications beyond individual groups' "silos". For Surfrider, this means things like cross-pollinating our volunteer efforts on water quality, marine debris and marine reserve research with that of formal academic and agency partners within a "Collaborative" platform. With critical habitat adjoining significant recreational areas, the Collaborative will serve as an excellent platform to discuss how to best manage and educate recreational users (i.e. - not loving this place to death).

When the stars align, the Cape can offer some fine lines for surfers in the know...mind the locals in the gray suits.

While our preliminary Collaborative workshops have chiefly engaged managing agencies and groups conducting programmatic or scientific work within the area, the next step of the Collaborative is to expand and formalize relationships with local businesses, cities and first nation group (particularly the Siletz tribe, with ancestral lands in and around the Cape). The City of Yachats has already stepped up as one of the first fiscal supporters of this burgeoning Collaborative, supporting the hire of a part-time Coordiantor to support the group's developing work and projects. The City of Yachats recognizes the benefits of the Cape Perpetua special management and conservation areas as vital to their well-being and local economy and as such were enthusiastic to support the group.

Join some of the Collaborative partners, learn more and find out how you can get involved at the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation event. It's open to both existing volunteers and those interested in getting more involved. Details below, RSVP here on the event page!