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Oregon’s Estuaries Under Threat: Help Protect the State’s Natural Resource

Saturday, September 27, 2014

 

Tomorrow marks the last day of National Estuary Week, during which Portland’s Wetlands Conservancy (TWC) aimed to raise awareness about the state’s estuaries. And this week comes at a time when these beloved natural resources are under a greater threat than ever before. 

Harbor Seal

Photo Credit: DaiLuo (image cropped)

“Our mission is to keep them protected forever and to also restore them. Many of them have had something happen to them over the years,” says Kendra Manton of the conservancy. “The environment is changing. There has been a lot of damage over a long period of time.

"Climate change, hurricanes, and the sea level rising into the estuaries are a huge threat.”

Oregon is home to 22 major estuaries – the tidal mouths of large rivers, where freshwater and saltwater meet - and many minor ones as well. These estuaries range from the Lower Columbia in Astoria to the Coquille River in Bandon, and are home to all sorts of species, such as crab, oysters, clams, salmon, flounder, herring, shorebirds, harbor seals, and more.

On top of these, there are 738 acres of estuarine and adjacent forest habitat in the Yaquina, Beaver Creek and Alsea Bay estuaries on the Central Oregon Coast. 

For 33 years the Wetlands Conservancy has been dedicated to protecting these places. The nonprofit agency works closely with the communities around these natural resources to conserve and restore them. 

These estuaries are also crucial to Oregon’s commercial and recreational fishing industries.

“Estuaries are very important ecologically and economically" Manton says. "By preserving those areas we are helping commercial fisheries."

Clams

Photo Credit: coniferconifer (image cropped)

One way communities can help out with preserving and restoring these estuaries is to know where their seafood is coming from and where their water is going. It’s incredibly important for not only consumers but for fisheries as well to be educated, according to the Wetlands Conservancy.

“Know where your seafood is coming from and know who’s serving the food,” Manton says. “Also think about water and where your water is going and how you’re using your water and where your water run off is going.” 

So, this week spend some time thinking about your seafood and water and where they come from and where they’re going. 

Head out to the coast and observe the birds, tides, and the estuary lands.Stop by the New Seasons Markets to pick up some local Oregon seafood to cook at home or one of the Wetlands Conservancy partnered restaurants, Nostrana OX, Cha Cha Cha, Flying Fish, and Raven and Rose to enjoy native and wild seafood delights.

Celebrate the estuaries and take a minute to learn more than you already know about Oregon and where the fresh seafood comes from.

 

Homepage Photo Credit: -= Bruce Berrien =- via Compfight cc

 

Related Slideshow: Slideshow: Oregon Brings Awareness to Estuaries

The Oregon Coast is home to some of the great estuaries.

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Yaquina Bay

Yaquina Bay

Located on the central Oregon coast at Newport, Lincoln County, this estuary is approximately 4,329 acres and has a watershed of approximately 253 square miles and is home to many waterfowls and shorebirds.

Photo Credit: Jeramey Jannene (image cropped)

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Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay

This bay is located along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway just sound of Lincoln City along US highway 101. The refuge was established to nourish species such as the coho, chinook salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.

Photo Credit: Michelle Kinsey Bruns (image cropped)

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Netarts Bay

Netarts Bay

Just south of Oceanside along the Three Capes Scenic Route is where you'll find Netarts Bay. This bay is just over 7 miles, spanning north to south, separated by a long club-shaped stretch of forest and and home to several types of clams and crab.

Photo Credit: Doug Kerr (image cropped)

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Umpqua River

Umpqua River

Near Roseburg at the coast of Oregon, this 111-mile long river is home to bass and shad.

Photo Credit: Cary Bass-Deschenes (image cropped)

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Chetco River

Chetco River

Located along the Oregon Coast Range, just northwest of Chetco Peak, this 56-mile long river is home to salmon and trout. This river is also entirely located within the Rogue River in Gold Beach, Curry County, Oregon.

Photo Credit: Zachary Collier (image cropped)

 
 

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