Apr 232013
When the F/V Chevelle sank inside the Newport Jettys not all of it was recovered.

When the F/V Chevelle sank inside the Newport Jettys not all of it was recovered.

Soon Harbor Seals and nesting birds will move into the almost pristine cobblestone beach at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. I say almost pristine for a reason. This otherwise beautiful beach has been plagued by a massive tangle of rope and mangled metal debris that has come ashore on a difficult to access beach. Volunteers have spent 5 days trying to cut their way through this massive mound of rope, metal and floats. At least two tons, maybe more, have remained on the beach. Despite numerous clean-up outings it will take many more OR a huge turnout of volunteers this upcoming weekend to finish it off.


This weekend is last one that this area will be accessible to people until very late in August or the beginning of September. It’s because wildlife needs to be isolated from humans while birthing and raising their young. But with the help of enough volunteers at this last cleanup, we may, just may, be able to declare victory over this massive environmental hazard and keep it from washing up and down and over and into tide pools, endangering Harbor Seals and birds becoming ensnared or mistakenly nesting in a shifting mass of rope and metal.


Crab Gear Cleanup – Yaquina Head April 27 & 28

When: April 27th and 28th, 2013, 7am-12pm both days.

Where: Yaquina Head Lighthouse cobble beach – sign in at interpretive center and then proceed
to the lighthouse. The cobble beach is down the stairway on the south side of the parking area.
Directions: Heading north on highway 101 in Newport take a left near the northern end of
Newport at NW Lighthouse Dr. Follow that road to the fee booth and follow signs for the
interpretive center. All volunteers must check in, sign the waiver, and obtain a parking pass at
the interpretive center before proceeding to Cobble Beach for the cleanup. Since we are doing
this cleanup so early, volunteers may have to obtain parking passes once the interpretive center
officially opens.

Contact: Peter Snell: nptsurfridercc@gmail.com (541-520-5174) RSVP by e-mail appreciated


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 Posted by at 9:35 AM
Apr 192013

suction dredge mining creeks.oregonian

A series of bills aimed at heading off a major surge in in-river gold dredging in rivers home to spawing salmon and other fish are working their way through the Oregon Legislature. Committee testimony came from river dredgers who say they have a right to dredge in federally regulated streams. Others admitted that there are federal regulations they have to follow but that too many in the rivers and streams only fouls the waters the federal government has spent millions restoring for salmon spawning.

Critics also point to many river miners descending on Oregon from Idaho and California where tight restrictions and outright moratoriums have put a stop to such intrusive in-river activities.

The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.


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 Posted by at 11:53 PM
Apr 182013
Time is running out to clear fishing debris from Yaquina Head, left ther by the sunken F/V Chevelle.  Surfrider needs volunteers!

Time is running out to clear fishing debris from Yaquina Head, left ther by the sunken F/V Chevelle. Surfrider needs volunteers!

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.28.36 PM

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.28.56 PM


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 Posted by at 11:33 PM
Apr 142013
How suction dredging in stream beds work

How suction dredging in stream beds work
The Oregonian graphic

With the explosive popularity of hose-suction gold mining in western American rivers and streams, it’s prompted an outcry among those who worry about fish spawning areas in those waterbodies, not to mention conflicts with boaters, fishers and swimmers.

Things have been coming to a head in southern and southwestern Oregon where hose-suction mining has grown considerably over the past few years, especially since California recently outlawed such mining altogether just across the border. Oregon lawmakers are now contemplating the same sort of moratorium saying that the state’s tourism industry requires unfettered access to the state’s rivers and streams. In addition, they claim that suction dredging is a concern for Oregon’s commercial and recreational fishing industries which require healthy stream beds to produce young fish. The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.


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 Posted by at 1:00 PM
Apr 132013

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 4.31.18 PM

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 Posted by at 4:32 PM
Apr 122013

Chinook Salmon Cooks Creek near Newport

Coho Salmon
Cooks Creek near Newport

Mid Coast Watershed Council project using logs to shade Cooks Creek east of Newport to cool stream waters for salmon

Mid Coast Watershed Council project using logs to shade Cooks Creek east of Newport to cool stream waters for salmon

logs insert streams salmon cooks creek

It’s a well established fact of science that salmon need cool, if not downright cold waters to ensure their reproduction goes according to plan. Many conservationists have argued for decades that logging trees too close to rivers and streams causes more sunlight to reach the flowing waters and thereby heat them up. Sometimes too much. Less shade means warmer waters and it’s bad for fish.

As the pictures to the left show, fish love to linger in the shade, not the bright sun and when areas are logged right up to the sides of streams, it’s beneficial that some of those logs are stacked in the streamways to provide at least some shade to keep the water from heating up so much it damages the fishery in the creek.

A long running lawsuit in Federal Court in Portland has lent greater support to that argument. A Federal judge ruled this week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not properly supervised the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in protecting certain fish stocks by not properly regulating stream flow temperatures.

The story is found in the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife News Bulletin. Click here.

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 Posted by at 11:41 PM
Apr 112013

Salmon Creek One source of Yachats municipal water

Salmon Creek
One source of Yachats municipal water

Concern about logging steep hillsides in the watershed - sediment loading could affect fish life and muni water treatment

Concern about logging steep hillsides in the watershed – sediment loading could affect fish life and muni water treatment

Water Treatment Facility

Water Treatment Facility

Migrating fish ladder Ken Gagne photos

Migrating fish ladder
Ken Gagne photos

Ken Gagne photos
Click to enlarge

The Yachats City Council has received a letter of strong support from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), encouraging the city to acquire some higher elevation timber parcels before they’re clear cut. The DEQ and the city council are concerned how the steep slopes might erode and cause sedimentation of the creek. Sediment could affect the city’s water treatment facility as well as the ability of the stream to support fish life.

The upper 300 acres are private timberlands owned by Yachats Ivestments, LLC, Michael Riggs. Riggs has already logged about 75 acres up top with another ten acres to be logged in the near future. All three hundred acres are slated for harvesting.

DEQ says

“if the parcels are harvested the creek, river and downstream estuary would be at increased risk of streambed sedimentation, increased turbidity and elevated stream temperatures. Any pesticides applied to control weed and pioneer species could also reach waterways and/or groundwater, affecting drinking water as well as aquatic health. These impacts could result in greater expense for drinking water treatment by the city, increased risk of treatment plant shutdowns, negative effects on salmonids, amphibians and other aquatic life and reduced watershed resiliency to coastal storm events and other natural disturbances. In addition, the resulting fast-growing plantation forest may reduce streamflows 20 years or more after replanting thereby reducing available water supplies likely to be already stressed by predicted dry-season reductions in water quantity due to global climate change.”

“By maintaining the parcels as mature forestland, Yachats will be securing not only the quality and resiliency of its drinking water supply for its 700+ residents, it will also help to protect the Salmon Creek aquatic ecosystem. In addition, preserving the mature hemlock and spruce forest will help to reduce negative effects of drought on the water supply through the moderating effects provided by a mature forest.”


The DEQ added that the purchase or otherwise protection of these parcels are of the utmost importance to the city, as well as for considerations related to the presence of habitat for Marbled Murrelet which is a protected species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Yachats Mayor Ron Brean says the city has been working with the Trust For Public Lands, a nationwide group that protects and preserves environmentally sensitive lands. The Trust has a long successful history of combining federal and private funds to achieve that goal. Mayor Brean said whatever package the Trust comes up with, the city of Yachats will be contributing something to it. He said Mr. Riggs is amenable to considering the acquisition of part of his property while adding he would like it done in an expeditious manner.


Mayor Brean said in addition to the area being home to the Murrelet, which is listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, the area is also considered prime habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl which is also listed as “Threatened.” Brean says because of this, the U.S. Forest Service is also interested in being a party to the discussions on the future of the property. No word on how long the process might take.


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 Posted by at 9:01 PM
Apr 102013

The Siletz Watershed Council is having their annual river clean-up on Saturday April 13th (see flyer below). We will attempt to cover the river from Moonshine Park to Kernville. We need all types of boaters and all types of boats. Drift boats, kayaks and canoes generally cover the upper stretches of the river, while motor boats cover the lower stretches. Please contact Aaron Duzik 503-621-2433 if you have any questions or would like more information.

Siletz River Cleanup topScreen shot 2013-03-29 at 1.28.21 PM


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 Posted by at 12:31 PM
Apr 032013
Alsea Bay  OSU Sediment Study

Alsea Bay
OSU Sediment Study

Monitoring sediment and organic materials in Alsea Bay estuary

From: Drs. Miguel Goni and Jim Lerczak, Oregon State University

(Here’s what those red buoys are all about, bobbing out there on Alsea Bay)

Like many of the small rivers along the Oregon Coastal Range, the Alsea is ‘flashy.’ When a Pacific Storm brings heavy rains to the coast, river stage and the flow of river currents can rise rapidly and often reaches flood stage in the winter. As river flow increases, high concentrations of sediments and organic materials can be brought from the forests of the coastal range to settle on the intertidal flats of the bay or be flushed out to the coastal ocean. These materials are important to the ecosystems of the bay and of the coastal ocean.


This past winter Drs. Miguel Goni and Jim Lerczak of Oregon State University monitored sediment concentrations and sediment movement in Alsea Bay as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation. They have been measuring sediment concentrations and currents in the bay to determine exactly how much sediment makes it down from the coastal mountains and determine how much sediment and organic materials settles on intertidal flats and how much bypasses the flats to be flushed directly to the coast. They have been making measurements by surveying from small boats. In addition, they have anchored current meters and sediment sensors at different locations of the bay. For example, you may have noticed red buoys near the Port of Alsea and upriver near Drift Creek. Both of these buoys have a sediment sensor attached to them.

The experiment started in December 2012 and will continue until May 2013. It will be repeated next winter (2013-2014). If you have any questions about the experiment, feel free to contact Jim Lerczak (jlerczak@coas.oregonstate.edu) or Miguel Goni (mgoni@coas.oregonstate.edu).


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 Posted by at 11:12 AM
Mar 262013
Falconer Trent Seager and Cooper's Hawk

Falconer Trent Seager and Cooper’s Hawk

Provided by Yaquina Birders & Naturalists

Thursday, April 18. Trent Seager presents “Brief History of Falconry with a Look at Oregon Falconers.” Besides being a falconer, Trent is an OSU graduate student, wildlife and aspen ecologist, and volunteer raptor rehabilitator. He will bring a falconry-trained Merlin to the meeting. This Yaquina Birders & Naturalists meeting starts at 7 PM at the Meeting Room of Central Lincoln PUD in north Newport. Cost: free. Everyone is welcome! For more info, call 541-265-2965.


Saturday, April 20. “Plant Field Trip to Gerdemann Botanic Preserve.” This preserve includes many species not typically grown in Oregon such as New Zealand tree ferns, Australian Grevillia, and Chilean Flame and Lantern trees. Plantings of rhododendrons also include uncommon species and hybrids. Sally Lockyear & Betty Bahn will lead this Yaquina Birders & Naturalists field trip. Please dress or bring clothes for variable weather and meet by 9 AM at the Preserve. Directions: turn east off of HWY 101 at Forest Hills Road 0.2 mile south of Mile Marker 163, proceed 0.1 of a mile and turn right on Wiedeman Court, and drive slowly to the end of Wiedeman Court where there is a small parking area. Car pool if possible.

For more info, call Betty at 541-547-3693 or see http://gerdemanngarden.org
This event is open and free to the public.


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 Posted by at 12:47 PM