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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Oregon’s Lost Sea Otters

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Restoring a Cultural Heritage and Ecological Keystone

Presented by the MidCoast Watersheds Council on Thursday, March 4th, at 6:30pm, as part of their virtual Community Meeting.

It is hard to appreciate the cultural importance and ecological significance of a species that vanished from Oregon’s coastal waters over a century ago. What has the loss of sea otters meant to Oregon’s indigenous peoples? What does their absence mean to the health of nearshore ecosystems? What might be gained from the return of sea otters to Oregon? Join Peter Hatch and John Goodell, from the Elakha Alliance, as they discuss the history and possible future of sea otters in Oregon.


Presenters:

Peter Hatch is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and works in the tribe’s Cultural Resources office. Peter is the son of the late David Hatch – the co-founder of the Elakha Alliance.

John Goodell is a conservation biologist and former museum curator with a background in science communication and natural history interpretation.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Urchins, Kelp, and Sea Otters: A Webinar for Oregon’s Freedive & Scuba Community

Don’t miss this informative webinar on Thursday, January 21st at 6:30pm, sponsored by the Oregon Freediving Company. Wildlife Biologist and Elakha Outreach Director John Goodell, and Oregon Kelp Alliance Coordinator Tom Calvanese, will discuss concerning trends in Oregon’s kelp ecosystem, urchin management, and the Elakha Alliance’s plan to reintroduce sea otters.

Goodell will also discuss opportunities for the freediving and scuba community to participate in citizen science in collaboration with marine biologists. Register Now!

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Oregon’s Lost Sea Otters: Restoring a Cultural Heritage and Ecological Keystone

Webinar: Thursday, January 14th, at 7:00pm

Please join us for this free virtual talk hosted on Fort George Brewery’s Facebook page via Fort George Brewery Facebook Live event.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: December 17th, 7:00pm

The Plight of Oregon’s Kelp Ecosystem, Sea Otters, and our Plan

Join Board President Bob Bailey and Director of Outreach John Goodell for an introductory webinar about the Elakha Alliance. We will discuss the origins of the Elakha Alliance, conservation issues surrounding the kelp ecosystem, and why sea otter reintroduction may be an important conservation tool. December 17th at 7:00pm

Register for the webinar to receive links.

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Meet the Dream-Team!

One of our most important goals of 2021 is the completion of the Feasibility Study. We are thrilled to announce this is now in the hands of a powerhouse team of six leading scientists! This third-party study will evaluate key dimensions of a proposed sea otter reintroduction, including: source populations and population dynamics, habitat suitability, ecological considerations, social and economic impacts, legal requirements, logistics, and more.

Meet the team:

  • Jim Bodkin, retired  Research Wildlife Biologist with the US Geological Survey Alaska Science Center 
  • Jim Estes,  ecologist and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at USGS & University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Jan Hodder, Emeritus Professor, University of Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
  • Shawn Larson, Curator of Conservation Research at the Seattle Aquarium 
  • Mike Murray, Senior Veterinary Scientist, Jane Dunay Director of Veterinary Services, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Tim Tinker, Research Wildlife Biologist with the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, and an adjunct Professor at UC Santa Cruz
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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Virtual Symposium Recordings are Available!

If you missed some of the talks at the recent Elakha Alliance Virtual Science Symposium, here are the links recordings for 6 of the 8 talks. Unfortunately we had technical difficulties with our second day of recordings. We are looking forward to seeing you at our next virtual event.

View recorded symposium presentations here…

 A. Dr Jim Estes Keynote Address

#1 Scott Groth on the history of sea urchin fishing and their populations in Oregon

#2 Sarah Hamilton on the conservation status of Pycnopodia (sunflower sea star)

#3 Josh Smith on patchiness in kelp and urchin barrens

#6 Brent Hughes on the ecological influence of sea otters on eelgrass communities

#7 Tim Tinker on considerations for the recolonization of sea otters in Oregon

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Help us improve

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Thanks for participating in our October 2020 virtual symposium: “Sea Otters and the Kelp Ecosystem.”

Please help us improve our future work by filling out this evaluation form.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Virtual Science Symposium: Sea Otters & Oregon’s Kelp Ecosystem October 6, 7, 8

In Partnership with Hatfield Marine Science Center & the Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society

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The prospect of restoring sea otters to the Oregon coast raises important ecological and economic considerations to be explored in this symposium.

Over several days, this symposium will offer three virtual sessions, 7 total presentations, with discussion. Presentations will explore current scientific understanding of key issues that are central to future decisions about restoration.

Keynote Address by renowned sea otter ecologist Dr. Jim Estes, October 6th, at 7pm (~45min)

Science Sessions will be held October 6, 7,and 8, from 1 pm to approximately 3:15 pm based on Q&A participation

Presenters will include ODFW urchin biologist Scott Groth, OSU kelp ecosystem researcher Sara Hamilton, sea otter researcher Dr. Tim Tinker, estuary ecologist Brent Hughes, interdisciplinary researcher Dr. Ed Gregr and more! Explore more information about the speakers here…

Register below and receive links to the video-conference and the full schedule. Please consider donating support this symposium

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Get to Know Our Symposium Speakers!

Interested in attending our virtual symposium and want to learn more about our presenters? Check out our speakers biographies here. (Click on the link above or click on either image below to see the full document)

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

The Elakha Alliance in Paddler Magazine

Author, photographer, and Oregonian Neil Shullman recently published a great piece in Paddler Magazine, about the Elakha Alliances effort to return sea otters to the Oregon coast. ‘Welcome Back, Otter: inside the fight to bring an ecological super hero back home‘ starts with Neil perched on a rock on Knight Island in Prince William Sound in Alaska – as he listens through the foggy scenery, to the crunching sound of sea otters consuming shellfish. “I know the sound, although it’s been missing in my home state of Oregon for more than a century, writes Shullman.

Read the article…

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Joint Webinar Co-hosted by Environment Oregon: Oregon’s Kelp Ecosystem & Sea Otters

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Join the Elakha Alliance and Environment Oregon on September 23rd at 6:00pm, for a joint webinar discussing the status of the kelp ecosystem in Oregon, including conservation issues and policy considerations. We will discuss how a possible sea otter reintroduction may play a foundational role in the restoration of this key ecosystem. Presenters include Elakha Board President Bob Bailey, and John Goodell, Director of Outreach and Community Engagement

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Beyond Kelp: How Sea Otters Cultivate Healthy Estuaries

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The role of sea otters in sustaining a healthy kelp ecosystem is well known, however new research from Monterey Bay in California, reveals how the presence of sea otters builds seagrass habitat, which in-turn buffers the effects of pollution and increases marine productivity in the estuary.

Explore this article from The Guardian…

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Legal and Economic Dimensions of Sea Otter Reintroduction

Species re-introductions involve complex biological, legal, and social consideration for agencies, scientists, stakeholders, and communities. However, evaluating a species associated with effects on economically valuable resources, makes assessments and input all-the-more important.

Please join Elakha Board President Bob Bailey and USFWS biologist Michele Zwartjes, on August 26th at 6pm, for a webinar presentation designed to explore the legal, scientific, and social framework of sea otter reintroduction; where things stand now, and what are the next steps? Register soon!

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Webinar for Ocean Users and Core Stakeholders: The Legal Framework and Key Considerations Surrounding a Potential Sea Otter Restoration in Oregon

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Podcast: Sea Otters & Zooarchaeology

The Emerging Role of Zooarchaeology

Check out the recent Northwest Nature Matters podcast with Professor Madonna Moss about her fascinating research into the pre-historic use of sea otters by indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest. Professor Moss is the Curator of Zooarchaeology, at the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and studies the long term history of Native Americans and First Nations of the Northwest Coast of North America, with a special focus on Tlingit and Haida and their ancestors.

Also known as faunal analysis, zooarchaeology involves studying remains of animals from archaeological sites including remains like bones, shells, hair, fish scales, hides, and DNA. Professor Moss explained how faunal evidence can support a wide range of natural resource and cultural resource questions. Moss describes how her research into the past use of sea otters by PNW tribes helped confirm their own oral histories, and defend their tribe’s cultural practices against outside opposition. Listen….

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: What can we learn from past reintroductions to prepare us for an Oregon plan?

The Elakha Alliance and the Defenders of Wildlife are pleased to announce a joint webinar that explores sea otter restoration in adjacent Pacific coast regions where recovery efforts have occurred. The discussion will consider how these examples may advise a sea otter reintroduction in Oregon. This presentation will be led my leadership of the Elakha Alliance, along with the Defenders of Wildlife’s PNW team.

When: July 14th, 6:00pm7:00pm

Who: Anybody

By Whom: Presented by the Elakha Alliance and staff from the Defenders of Wildlife.

Sign up and we will email you the link and password information.

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Alliance in the News!

Northwest News reporter, and regular OPB contributor, Tom Banse, chats with the Elakha Alliance’s leadership about new research coming out of British Columbia. Economists and social scientists studied the effects of sea otter population growth on human communities, with some interesting implications for Oregon. Read the full story….

A sea otter in the waters off Vancouver Island
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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Sea Otter Recovery Makes National News

British Columbia sea otter populations are on the move – as they reoccupy portions of their historical range. The effects of this expansion in benefiting ecological resiliency, commercial fisheries, tourism, and climate change – but some trade-offs exists such as the short-term impacts to the subsistence shellfish gathering by local tribal communities. Researchers underscore the need to improve tribal voices in natural resource management – to ensure the long-term success of sea otter conservation.

Explore these news stories to learn more…

Also, a new paper in the Journal Science reveals the economic boom expected from sea otter recovery – with some trade-offs to specific sectors.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/sea-otter-benefits-180975086/

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Podcast Episode: A Deep Dive on Sea Otters

In Part V of our series, leading sea otter researcher Dr. Tim Tinker discusses new science and reveals the varied issues effecting sea otter populations across their pacific range  – from Alaska to California – including his perspectives on a possible Oregon reintroduction. 

Listen here:


 

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Podcast Episode: From Science to Solutions

In part IV of our series on the kelp ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, we discuss kelp conservation on Oregon’s south coast with Tom Calvanese. Tom is a rockfish scientist, the Station Manager of the Port Orford Field Station, and a catalyst behind developing action to address kelp declines along Oregon’s south coast. Join us for a multi-dimensional conversation about kelp conservation. 

Listen here:


 

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Podcast Episode: A Narrative of Discovery with Jim Estes

In part III of our series on the kelp ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest, renowned marine biologist and sea otter researcher Jim Estes shares his story of science discovery. Fom a young graduate student on the Aleutian Islands to scientific breakthroughs, Jim reveals the profound ecological effects of a keystone predator.

Listen here:


 

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Podcast Episode: Understanding Urchins Part II

In part two of our series in the kelp ecosystem, marine biologist Scott Groth discusses an important urchin monitoring projects on Oregon’s nearshore. While red sea urchin numbers appear normal, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years with alarming impacts to kelp forests in Oregon.

Listen here:


 

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Podcast Episode: The Kelp Ecosystem in the PNW Part I

A fascinating window into new discoveries in kelp ecology and conservation with Sara Hamilton – a leading researcher studying trends in kelp forests. Sara is a PhD student at Oregon State University.

Links to learn more: A story map compiled by the Samish tribe and others about the importance of kelp and it’s loss in that region:

Listen here:


 

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

In the News: Sea Otters Still Recovering From the Russian Fur Trade

Sea otter conservation in the news: A new op-ed piece reflects on the long-term population consequences of the nearly 300 year-old sea otter fur trade.