Will this year’s Oregon legislature buck the divisive direction in Salem and turn the tide with bipartisan opportunity to invest in Oregon’s Marine Reserves and Protected Areas? Your voice can help make that happen – take action to support Oregon’s ocean conservation legacy, before it is lost.
With all the divisiveness and partisan activity in Salem over the last number of years, one might hope that Oregon’s leadership could get behind something we all believe in. Oregon’s Marine Reserves and Protected Areas represent the state’s only program investment in conservation and long-term monitoring for ocean changes in our nearshore ocean. And, for the last 10 years, these protected areas and the communities and cultures that live in concert with our ocean have built strong bipartisan alliances and a common appreciation for how they may serve some level of certainty in our changing oceans. But rather than leaning into commonality and even the decadal science recommendations to invest in these areas, Oregon’s leadership has eroded monitoring funding, cut community-engaged staffing and threatened the value-based alliances that cross party lines.
This year Surfrider Foundation is supporting and helping to lead a strong coalition of voices for Oregon’s Marine Reserves Program in the 2024 Oregon short legislative session. The initiative, HB 4132, is chief sponsored by coastal Representative David Gomberg, who’s brought along major democratic and republican leadership. Politics align around the values of our ocean and the bill is also sponsored by the entire coastal caucus, the key group of largely rural republican legislators, that serve our coastal districts. These individuals are close to the communities and cultures witnessing ocean changes that are impacting all Oregonians, from the fish we eat, to the wildlife we enjoy and the air we breathe.
So what will HB 4132 do and how can you support the effort? Most importantly, the bill will act on the Decadal Science Recommendations that call for fully funding the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's Marine Reserves Program, mandating actionable goals for community and tribal engagement and adapting management and monitoring to meet the needs of climate resilience in our changing ocean. These recommendations come from a strong panel review of scientists and researchers that was mandated in the original bill that designated these special places. Take action by clicking on the photo above or action links in this post!