1. What is the Feasibility Study?
The Feasibility Study is a comprehensive scientific assessment that will assist the Elakha Alliance, state and federal agencies, ocean users, and the public in understanding, evaluating, and addressing the many complex factors that must be considered before deciding whether to return sea otters to the Oregon coast.
2. Who authored the Feasibility Study?
The following six scientists, advised by a Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and working under contract to the Elakha Alliance, authored the study:
- Dr. Tim Tinker, principal author; Research Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey; Adjunct Professor, UC Santa Cruz;
- Dr. James Estes, contributing author; Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey (retired); Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UC Santa Cruz;
- Dr. James Bodkin, contributing author; Research Wildlife Biologist (retired), U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center;
- Dr. Shawn Larson, contributing author; Curator of Conservation Research, Seattle Aquarium;
- Dr. Mike Murray, contributing author; Jane Dunaway Director of Veterinary Services, Monterey Bay Aquarium; and
- Dr. Jan Hodder, contributing author; Emeritus Professor, University of Oregon, Institute of Marine Biology.
3. Who funded the Feasibility Study?
The study was funded by a mix of funds from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, the Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund, Oregon Wild, and a private donation from Elizabeth and Warren Menche.
4. Who funds the Elakha Alliance?
The Elakha Alliance has many funding supporters, including the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Collins Foundation, the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, the Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund, the Oregon Zoo Foundation, the Coon Family Foundation, and many individual donors.
5. When will the Elakha Alliance release a draft of the Feasibility Study for public review?
The Elakha Alliance will post draft study chapters and chapter summaries on its website by September 1, 2021 and will accept comments on the draft chapters until November 1, 2021. The Elakha Alliance will review all feedback from research colleagues and the public and will work with the study team to incorporate those changes that improve the study’s clarity, accuracy, and thoroughness.
6. When will the Feasibility Study be finalized?
The study is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2022.
7. What’s next after the Feasibility Study?
Once completed, the Feasibility Study will form the basis for conversations with partners, state and federal agencies, stakeholders, and others about next steps toward a reintroduction of sea otters. Additional studies and analyses may be necessary to inform the process.
8. When is the earliest a reintroduction of sea otters to Oregon could take place?
A wide range of variables will affect the possible timing of any reintroduction operation. Three to five years may elapse to complete necessary analyses, build stakeholder support, acquire permits, and obtain funding for a reintroduction effort.