Valentine's Day Event Features Falling in Love with Nature on Oregon Coast
(Yachats, Oregon) – Valentine's Day also means falling in love with the beaches via a deeper look into the Oregon coast, as two events are featured that day at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center. Both are free.
At 4:30 p.m., CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer will lead a tidepool walk, during which she will discuss the sea star wasting syndrome that has been devastating the West Coast’s population of this key rocky shore creature. CoastWatch is engaging volunteers in monitoring the sea star population, and Custer will explain how to participate in this citizen science project.
Those joining the tidepool walk will meet at the Visitor Center and walk down to the rocky shores. The walk will conclude at about 5:45 p.m. Refreshments will be served in the Visitor Center after the field trip.
At 6:30 p.m., CoastWatch welcomes Dr. Rebecca Flitcroft, who will speak on “Estuaries rising Climate change and salmon in the Oregon Coast Range.”
Estuaries are key habitats within the watersheds that drain the Coast Range and support these diverse aquatic ecosystems. Estuaries, where these rivers meet the sea, support mudflats, marshes and other habitat areas that sustain commercially and culturally important species, including salmon and shellfish. Climate change, which will drive sea level rise and other impacts to Oregon’s coastal region, may affect the distribution and type of available estuarine habitats.
In her talk, Dr. Flitcroft will discuss current climate change predictions for the Oregon coast and how these predicted changes may affect aquatic species, and salmon in particular.
Rebecca Flitcroft is a Research Fish Biologist with the Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station. Her research focuses on aquatic systems from the headwaters to the ocean. She uses both statistical and physical representations of stream networks and estuaries in analysis and monitoring to more realistically represent system complexity and connectivity for aquatic species.
Her talk provides context for the upcoming final round of this year’s King Tide project, Februrary. 17-19, which invites volunteers to help document the highest tides of the year. This will help to identify current threats of flooding and erosion, and give us a preview of what ordinary high tides may look like in future decades as sea level rises and storms intensify due to climate change.
CoastWatch is a program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition. Both the sea star survey and the King Tide project are part of Oregon Shores’ “Community Engagement with Marine Reserves” project, which engages coastal residents and visitors in hands-on activities which both provide information about marine reserves and build public understanding of these special places.
The Cape Perpetual Visitor Center, three miles south of Yachats on Highway 101, is located in the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, and the tidepool walk will traverse the fringes of the reserve.(541) 270-0027. More on this area at the Upper Lane County Virtual Tour, Map.
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