The 2013 regular session of the 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly recently came to a close. With several challenging budget issues at play, many items of interest such as a statewide plastic bag ban never saw the light of day. Fortunately, there were a few significant advancements for Oregon’s Ocean, including funding for the marine reserves program, as well as the establishment of the Oregon Ocean Science Trust which will help to provide a long term funding mechanism for ocean science priorities of the state.

House Bill 5013 was the budget bill for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) which included the policy option package for the marine reserves program. This package included an allocation of $1.7 million for implementation of Oregon’s system of marine reserves and protected areas over the 2013-2015 biennium, including continued work at Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock, as well as baseline studies and management plan development for Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head and eventually Cape Falcon. You can learn more about what this funding will go towards by checking out the ODFW marine reserves Work Plan.

Looking North to Heceta Head & Cape Perpetua

Heceta Head photo credit: Ben Nieves

Senate Bill 737 was the bill to establish the Oregon Ocean Science Trust and passed both chambers unanimously! Championed by Central Coast Senator Arnie Roblan, the concept for this bill was one of several recommendations that came from the 2010 Nearshore Research Task Force, check out the final report here, Surfrider and recreational ocean users were represented on this Task Force by Oregon Policy Manager Gus Gates. The Ocean Science Trust will be overseen by the State Treasurers Office, and members of the 5 person board will be selected by the State Land Board. The purpose of the Trust will be to “promote peer-reviewed, competitive research and monitoring that leads to increased knowledge and understanding of Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources; Promote innovative, collaborative, community-oriented, multi-institutional approaches to research and monitoring related to Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources; Enhance this state’s capacity for peer-reviewed scientific ocean and coastal research; and subject to available funding, establish and execute a competitive grant program to conduct research and monitoring related to Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources.”

TomandGus

 

Tom Calvanese from Redfish Rocks Community Team & Oregon Policy Manager Gus Gates on the steps of the Capitol after delivering testimony in support of the Ocean Science Trust

Many thanks to all of the Chapters and members who provided their support on issues during the session with feedback on testimony, participation in constituent meetings and taking the time to contact your legislators on issues that you care about! Now that we are in an interim period between sessions, it’s a great time to get to know your legislators through town hall meetings and speak with them about issues affecting the health of our coast and ocean.