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Some Oregon Coast Areas Will Have Survey Takers, Asking What Visitors Know

Published 07/08/23 at 6:21 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Some Oregon Coast Areas Will Have Survey Takers, Asking What Visitors Know

(Oregon Coast) – Nearly two dozen sites on the Oregon coast have researchers asking the pubic questions, checking into how much they know about Oregon's marine reserves. Staff from Oregon State University are now onsite at 23 parks, visitor centers or access points and will be through August. (Above the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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OSU researchers will be asking visitors various questions about the science of the five marine reserves and what they know of these important areas, including whether their visits will help foster a change in habits needed to curb climate change.

Many of these survey sites are right at those marine reserves.

Look for two different kinds of interviewers, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said.

“[They will] be asking random visitors questions focused on education outreach about ocean acidification and whether visiting the ocean can trigger personal changes to reduce global warning's impacts such as ocean acidification,” ODFW said.

Participants will also get questions about how much they know about the marine reserves.

What is called an “intercept survey” takes about five minutes or less and is very low-pressure.

Cape Falcon area - Cape Falcon Marine Reserve is here (photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

“We go out of our way to avoid intrusion with people’s recreational experiences,” said Tommy Swearingen, the Human Dimensions program leader for the Oregon Marine Reserves Program who is helping in the study.

The goal of the study is to talk to at least 1,600 Oregon coast visitors, but Swearingen believes there should be well over 2,500.

Ocean Acidification, sometimes referred to as OA, is the byproduct of increased carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water over the past two centuries. It triggers chemical reactions that make sea water more acidic, impacting the entire ocean food web from fish and shellfish.

“Climate change is happening in everybody’s backyard and it’s happening globally,” says Dr. Megan Jones, the OSU conservation social scientist overseeing the study by master’s degree student Jennifer Waldo. “You don’t see OA with your naked eye, but it’s effecting local marine life and industries. Maybe this will make something abstract feel more relevant to people.”

By adding this relevancy, researchers hope to gauge whether this spurs interviewees to make lifestyle changes that reduce their carbon footprint.

The results will be matched with online surveys of about 1,400 Oregonians concluded this past spring.

Results are expected later this year.

Enacted by the Oregon Legislature in 2009, the Marine Reserves Program includes five actual marine reserves and nine protected areas that together cover nine percent of Oregon’s near-shore ocean waters. The reserves, where no plants or animals can be removed and where development is banned, are underwater listening stations tracking ocean changes including fish, invertebrate and algal communities. It is the first long-term nearshore ocean conservation and monitoring program run by the state of Oregon and includes cutting-edge research on the economic, social and cultural dynamics of the Oregon coast and coastal communities. The program is funded through state general fund dollars and not sport or commercial fishing fees. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve - courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

Near Lincoln City, Cascade Head and the Cascade Head Reserve, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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