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Oregon Coast Aquarium Provides Home to Marine Life Left Behind, Seeks Update

Published 10/24/2019 at 7:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Aquarium Provides Home to Marine Life Left Behind, Seeks Expansion

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(Newport, Oregon) - Two major developments are taking place at Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium, as it looks to an expansion / update and offers up a home for wayward marine life left over from the closure of another aquarium facility. (Above: sturgeon from Oregon Undersea Gardens, photos courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium)

After the longtime tourist attraction Oregon Undersea Gardens closed earlier this month, a large variety of marine life were in need of a new home. Releasing them back into the wild isn’t an option for all, as some don’t fit in with the area’s ecosystem and others wouldn’t survive for other reasons.

In comes the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which will be home to about a dozen creatures. Among them are two green sturgeon, a species listed as Threatened on the Endangered Species Act. Staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium are stabilizing and monitoring the sturgeon in quarantine to evaluate if they would be able to thrive in the wild, as they have been under human care for nearly fifty years. Until then, guests will be able to see the sturgeon in the Aquarium’s Halibut Flats exhibit. They will join four white sturgeon.

Also new residents at the Oregon coast attraction are six spiny dogsharks and a grass rockfish. Some creatures were released after working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The animals transferred from Oregon Undersea Gardens will be on display at the Oregon Coast Aquarium after a thirty-day quarantine period. People interested in seeing the green sturgeon and spiny dogshark even closer can check out the Oregon Coast Aquarium Guest Dive Program.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is hoping to raise $18.2 million for a Capital Campaign to remodel facilities, enhance the learning experience and build a marine rehabilitation center.

The Capital Campaign includes five main projects: a marine rehabilitation center, a children’s nature play area, a renovation of the Aquarium’s entryway and grand hall, a remodel of three indoor galleries and an enhancement of educational programming.

The Aquarium has welcomed 15 million visitors through its doors since 1992, providing people of all ages and backgrounds with a living classroom and a connection to the Oregon coast. But the facility and its programming has not had a major remodel since its opening.

President and CEO Carrie Lewis said it was never built with its current attendance in mind.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of three facilities in the Pacific Northwest, and the only in the state of Oregon, authorized to provide critical care to endangered marine wildlife, like sea turtles, northern fur seals and snowy plovers. But unfortunately, the Aquarium only has one building - an old, repurposed warehouse - to do this work.

You can find out more about the Aquarium’s plans for the future at www.givetoaquarium.org. - Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Newport Maps and Virtual Tours





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