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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

2022 Sea Otter Science Symposium (October 25)

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Join us for all things sea otters, science & fun!

All are welcome to join us for a Virtual 1-day 2022 Sea Otter Science Symposium on Tuesday October 25th. The Symposium speakers hail from across the globe, which will make for some unique conversations and perspectives. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to register.

This year, our focus is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Our hope is that you take away valuable knowledge regarding the protection of our precious ocean ecosystems, no matter where you reside. You can make a difference! We want to say thank you to Defenders of Wildlife and Sea Otter Savvy for their partnership.

Photo: Ingrid Taylar

Review the agenda for the Symposium below, listed in Pacific Time:

Tuesday October 25th: 9am-5:30pm PDT

  • 9:00am: KEYNOTE: Dr. Ralph Chami (Co-Founder of Blue Green Future): Natural Capital & Marine Conservation
  • 10:00am: Dr. Steven Rumrill (Shellfish Program Leader, ODFWS): Changes to Rocky Reef Habitat on the Southern Oregon Coast
  • 11:00am: Dr. Leigh Torres (Oregon State University, GEMM Lab): Importance of Kelp to Gray Whales
    ——– BREAK ——–
  • 1:30pm: Tom Calvanese (Oregon Kelp Alliance Coordinator): Toward Kelp Forest Restoration
  • 2:30pm: Tristin McHugh (Kelp Project Director, The Nature Conservancy): California Kelp Restoration Strategy
  • 3:30pm: Joanna Lyle (Blue Carbon Fellow, The Nature Conservancy | Oregon Sea Grant): Exploring Blue Carbon in Oregon
  • 4:30pm: Dr. Philip Seddon (University of Otago, New Zealand): IUCN Conservation Translocation Considerations

We are asking participants to provide a $10 registration fee, but scholarships are available for students and others for whom $10 would be a barrier by emailing Chanel Hason, chanel@elakhaalliance.org.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Restoring Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast – Corvallis Museum (9/28/2022)

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Bob Bailey of the Elakha Alliance will be presenting at the Corvallis Museum for the Benton County Historical Society members (free) & non-members ($5).

Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, Port Orford, OR. Photo by Patrick Webster

On September 28, Bob Bailey of the Elakha Alliance will discuss the history of sea otters in Oregon, the strong cultural ties of coastal tribes to sea otters, and work of the Elakha Alliance, an organization of tribal, nonprofit, and conservation leaders formed to restore sea otters to the Oregon coast.

This Webinar will take place on Wednesday September 28th, at 10:30am at the Corvallis Museum (411 SW 2nd Street, Corvallis, OR 97333).

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

USFWS Panel Discussion: Sea Otter Reintroduction along Pacific West Coast (9/19/22)

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Join the Elakha Alliance as we welcome three representatives from the United State Fish & Wildlife Service to discuss all the details about potential sea otter reintroductions along the West Coast.

Photo: Arthur Morris, Getty Images

The Elakha Alliance has invited Lillian Carswell, who will give a short presentation summarizing the findings of the most recent USFWS Feasibility Assessment regarding the reintroduction of sea otters to Northern California and Oregon. Then, Michele Zwartjes and Michelle St. Martin will join Lillian Carswell on a panel to answer pertinent questions submitted by participants using the registration form below.

USFWS Panel Representatives:

  • Michele Zwartjes, Field Supervisor for the Oregon Coast Field Office, USFWS
  • Lillian Carswell, Southern Sea Otter Recovery & Marine conservation Coordinator, USFWS
  • Michelle St. Martin, Marine Conservation Coordinator, USFWS

This Webinar will take place on Monday September 19th, from 6:30pm-7:30pm PDT via Zoom. Use the form below to RSVP.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Sea Otter Awareness Week: The Road to Restoration in Oregon (9/18/22)

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Join Elakha’s Board President, Bob Bailey, as he discusses the next steps for sea otter reintroduction in Oregon.

Annually, throughout the last week of September (18-24), we celebrate sea otters during Sea Otter Awareness Week (SOAW). This year is the 20th anniversary of this celebration for these unique marine mammals! During this time we encourage zoological and educational institutions, governmental agencies and communities to plan and undertake events that highlight sea otters. These activities include sharing stories, disseminating science and generating media that inspire a deeper awareness of these unique marine mammals, their ecological importance and the many challenges they face.

The Elakha Alliance is pleased to kick off SOAW this year! Bob Bailey, Elakha Alliance’s Board President, will present on the results from the Elakha scientific Feasibility Study and what our next steps are return sea otters back to Oregon’s coastline.

This presentation is part of Sea Otter Savvy’s We Were Here sea otter program, which is dedicated to educating communities and stakeholders who are missing sea otters. We encourage you to take the We Were Here Sea Otter Stakeholder Survey if you have a couple of minutes today.

This Webinar will take place on Sunday September 18th, from 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT via Zoom. Use the form below to RSVP.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Tribal Youth Interns Present Cultural Display Final Project (8/25/22)

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Hear from both our Summer Tribal Interns about their journey creating a traveling cultural display focusing on sea otters in Oregon!

The Elakha Alliance received funding from the Siletz Tribal Community Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund to support two summer internships for tribal youth in the state of Oregon. This is a very exciting opportunity for learning and growth within the younger tribal members regarding elakhas’ (sea otters’) deeply rooted cultural ties to Oregon.

The two tribal students from University of Oregon, Kaitlynn Spino & Greyson Gomez (read about them here), used the 10-week summer internship to create a traveling cultural display, highlighting the cultural significance of Oregon’s sea otters. The display is intended to educate the public and travel up and down the coastline to various cultural centers, museums, and marine science centers in Fall 2022.

Please join us on Thursday August 25th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT via Zoom, as our Interns present their key takeaways from this project, as well as their final display. Use the form below to RSVP.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Oregon Ocean Paddling Society Monthly Meeting – Elakha Alliance (6/29/22)

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Oregon Ocean Paddling Society Monthly Meeting featuring the Elakha Alliance

Point Lobos Foundation

Virtual Chapter Meeting
June 29th, 2022

6:30pm-8:00pm

Register for virtual meeting here.

Join Chanel Hason, Director of Outreach & Community Relations of the Elakha Alliance, as she highlights how reintroducing sea otters would be extremely beneficial ecologically, economically, and culturally. 

This is a virtual meeting – the link will be sent to you 24 hours before the meeting in the third reminder email. To receive this link, you will need to register 24 hours prior to the meeting. We’re looking forwarding to seeing you!

The virtual doors open at 6:30.  During this time we will have themed break out rooms to talk about various kayaking topics and socialize.  The presentation will begin at 7:00. 

The Oregon Ocean Paddling Society was founded in 1983 by two couples leading  trips each month and mailing out a calendar.  A print newsletter called The Gam was once a highlight of membership.  They incorporated as a nonprofit in 1997 and now have around 400 members.

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Help Us Welcome Our First Executive Director, Jane Bacchieri

On June 13, Jane Bacchieri was unanimously and enthusiastically selected by the Elakha Alliance Board of Directors to lead the Elakha Alliance!! Her broad, deep background in organizational management and natural resource issues in Oregon are what we need. She will begin her leadership on July 5th. We’re looking forward to working with her to bring her up to speed and help her take the reins of this great organization.

Jane spent the past decade leading the Watershed Services and Integrated Planning groups at the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, where she got rave reviews from supervisors and staff alike. Prior to that, she had a productive stop with the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University focusing on the Lower Columbia River Solutions Group. From 2006 to 2010 she was a natural resources policy advisor to Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski working on watershed and water quality issues and implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). She also has experience with coastal, river, and watershed management issues for the Oregon Coastal Management Program, South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the National Park Service in Alaska. She currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the board of directors of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. In her “youth,” she spent two years with the U.S. Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga as an environmental advisor.

Jane holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Vermont. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, including having built her own kayak, and is a dedicated marathon runner (is there any other kind?) We are super pleased to welcome her to the world of the Elakha Alliance! You can reach her at Jane@ElakhaAlliance.org.

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Jason Younker, Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe, Joins Elakha Board

Since the passing of Chief Don Ivy last summer, the Elakha Alliance Board of Directors has been without a member of the Coquille Indian Tribe.  We are very pleased to announce that Jason Younker, now Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe, has agreed to serve on the Elakha board.  He grew up on South Slough and Charleston on Coos Bay and wishes to extend and honor the legacy of his uncle, Chief Don Ivy.  Jason is a very busy man; he is Assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President on Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations at the University of Oregon.  He received his PhD in Anthropology from the UO in 2004 and spent a decade teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology before returning to Oregon.  He is the Past-President of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists.  

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

OMSI Science Pub: Sea Otters – Bringing Oregon’s Climate Change Warriors Back (6/21/22)

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Sea Otters: Bringing Oregon’s Climate Change Warriors Back with Bob Bailey, Elakha Alliance Board President and Chanel Hason, Elakha Alliance Director of Outreach and Community Relations and marine biologist

Point Lobos Foundation

June 21, 2022 7-9PM, Doors @ 6PM
McMenamins Kennedy School
736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Get tickets to this event.

Imagine spotting a raft of furry sea otters floating atop a thick bull kelp forest canopy along Oregon’s rocky coast, what a sight it would be! Sadly, sea otters have been an absent predator along the Oregon coast for over a century, due to being hunting to near extinction during the maritime fur trade. Their return to Oregon would be extremely beneficially culturally, economically, and ecologically. Previous sea otter reintroduction efforts have been successful in California, Washington, and British Columbia. Now, the Elakha Alliance is working towards returning these once native marine mammals back to OregonThe Elakha Alliance is a non-profit organization based in Oregon, made up of tribal, conservation, and non-profit leaders working towards returning sea otters to Oregon.

This talk will feature Chanel Hason, a marine biologist and Director of Outreach & Community Relations for the Elakha Alliance, highlight why sea otters are a keystone species in the nearshore marine ecosystem, and how that benefits climate change. The talk will also highlight the current status of sea otters returning to Oregon, with a summary from Elakha Alliance’s Board President, Bob Bailey regarding the results from their recently published Feasibility Study.

If you are unable to join us in person, you can join us on zoom. You must register in advance- Register Here.

Questions? Email sciencepub@omsi.edu

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Congratulations to Elakha’s Tribal Youth Summer Internship Recipients

The Elakha Alliance received funding from the Siletz Tribal Community Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund to support two summer internships for tribal youth in the state of Oregon. This is a very exciting opportunity for learning and growth within the younger tribal members regarding elakhas’ (sea otters’) deeply rooted cultural ties to Oregon.

The two tribal students will use the 10-week summer internship to create a traveling cultural display, highlighting the cultural significance of Oregon’s sea otters. The display is intended to educate the public and travel up and down the coastline to various cultural centers, museums, and marine science centers in Fall 2022.

Kaitlynn Spino, University of Oregon

Hello! My name is Kaitlynn Spino, and I am a descendant of the Yakama Nation. I am from Klickitat, WA, which is nestled in the Columbia River Gorge. I am a third-year student at the University of Oregon. I am currently majoring in Marine Biology and Native American Studies. Being an Elakha Alliance Tribal Youth Intern is a phenomenal opportunity. Being able to combine marine science, law & policy, and tribal perspective into an organization is exactly what I want to do once I graduate from college. I hope to work for different tribal governments regarding fisheries, with a focus on salmon specifically. Being able to partake in the work of the reintroducing of sea otters or Elakha along the Oregon Coast is incredible to think about. To make sure my future kids and grandkids can see and exist together with sea otters along the Oregon coastline pushed me to get involved in this internship.

Greyson Gomez, University of Oregon

I am Greyson Gomez, A Native student from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw. I am going into my senior year at the University of Oregon with a major in Product Design and a minor in Sports Business. The Elakha Alliance team is something I am so grateful to be a part of this Summer. The Elakha Alliance is important to me because of the founding vision of our people thriving alongside the keystone species of the sea otter years from now. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to use my creative toolbox to showcase and emphasize just how important Elakha are to the Oregon coast!

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Environment America’s Meet our Ocean: Ocean Life Panel (6/15/22)

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Join Environment America’s Webinar
Panel Discussion Ocean Life

Wednesday June 15 at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET

Register for Webinar: bit.ly/Ocean_webinars

From seals to sea otters to whales, our marine animals can only thrive when our ocean places are healthy. Learn more about the ocean critters we love and what we can do to keep their homes safe.

Speakers:

  • Lauren Divine – Aleut Community of St. Paul
  • Rev. Tiffany Holleck – Creation Justice Ministries
  • Bob Bailey & Chanel Hason – Elakha Alliance

Register at: bit.ly/Ocean_webinars

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Presents for Women High School Students in Science & Engineering

Written by Elakha Alliance Board Member: Katie Russell

On Thursday, May 26th, I was able to join the young scientists of Eugene’s 4J high schools at the 10th annual Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Symposium at Churchill High School. At this symposium, 8th-12th graders in Lane County joined local scientists and conservation groups to learn about this year’s theme—Pacific Northwest Climate Change: From our Forests to our Oceans.

Rather than just telling the students what the Elakha Alliance and other marine mammal conservation groups do, I helped them design their own observational studies. We began the workshop by discussing the goals of the Elakha Alliance and the importance of kelp forest ecosystems as a natural climate solution. Next, we had a broad conversation about the information we needed to gather to ensure we were setting future sea otters up for success. Finally, we focused on understanding the energetic needs of sea otters and their natural behaviors.

For our experiment, we designed and conducted ethograms. An ethogram is a catalog or table of different animal behaviors observed in a set period. Ethograms can be used to study animals in the wild or human care and help track things like the prevalence of certain behaviors, social interactions, behavior changes in response to new conditions, and establish a baseline to approximate energy expenditure. To complete a successful ethogram, the students used one of the most important skills all scientists practice—careful and close observation.

In a few years, these young scientists will hopefully be able to conduct ethograms on wild sea otter populations, but for this workshop, we studied otters using the exhibit live streams from the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Georgia Aquarium. First, students chose six behaviors they were going to be tracking. Then they formed hypotheses about which behaviors they thought would occur most frequently—some predicted that otters would be mostly resting because we were observing them later at night. Some thought they would see grooming the most after learning how otters need to work hard to maintain their fur to stay warm. Once they formed their hypothesis, we got to work making close observations!

Example of the students’ ethogram data collection from observing sea otter live cameras.

We set our experiment duration for 5 minutes, with students recording behaviors every 20 seconds. I helped as a timekeeper so they could focus on their study, letting them know to make a tally next to the behavior occurring exactly at that 20-second mark. After collecting all their data, students analyzed it to see which behavior occurred most frequently. It was great to hear students comparing their results and discussing the differences between what they observed across the three aquariums. The most observed behaviors were grooming, swimming, and resting across all observations. My favorite observation of the night was, “I knew otters were cute, but I didn’t know they were THIS cute!”

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Cultural and Ecological Recovery of Sea Otters Presentation at OSU (5/17/22)

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Learn why sea otters are important to the Indigenous peoples of Oregon.

This presentation is free and open to the public on Tuesday May 17th, from 12:00pm-1:00pm. It will take place on the Oregon State University Campus at the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws Building – 311 SW 26th St, Corvallis, OR, 97331. 

Elakha (ee-LAK-uh) is a Chinook trading language word for sea otter, which were once plentiful in Oregon’s coastal waters. The Elakha Alliance was formed in 2018 by tribal, nonprofit, and conservation leaders with a shared belief in a powerful vision: an Oregon coast 50 years from now where our children and grandchildren co-exist along with a thriving sea otter population and a robust and resilient marine ecosystem.

Dr. Peter Hatch and Chanel Hason from the Elakha Alliance will share accomplishments and next steps for restoring Oregon sea otters, relatives to the Siletz peoples. After the lecture, everyone is welcome to join OSU students in a discussion and writing project about cultural and ecological recovery.  

Peter Hatch is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and works in the tribe’s Cultural Resources office. He’s been fishing, clamming, and crabbing in Lincoln County his entire life, and he wants to ensure that his descendants can always do the same. He serves at the secretary of the Elakha Alliance Board of Directors.

Chanel Hason is the Director of Outreach & Community Relations at Elakha Alliance and has a rich background in marine biology, animal husbandry, and environmental education. She is an otter alum from CSU Monterey Bay and volunteered with sea and river otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She’s conducted marine science research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and worked for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program at the Ritz Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. She moved to Oregon in 2016 to obtain her MS in Sustainability Education from Portland State University.

Sponsored by Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws, Spring Creek Project, and the PAX 301 STS Peace Strategies class.

Learn more on the OSU Event Page.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

The Latest on Sea Otter Reintroduction in Oregon (5/3/2022)

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Interested in learning more about why we are trying to bring sea otters back to Oregon?

Karen Hall, Morro Bay

Who is the Elakha Alliance? Why aren’t sea otters in Oregon? How do you reintroduce sea otters exactly? Where would you release sea otters in Oregon? How? Why?

Let us help answer the many questions revolving sea otter reintroduction efforts in Oregon with Bob Bailey, the Board President of the Elakha Alliance.

This webinar will take place on Tuesday May 3rd, 2022 at 7pm PDT. Please use the form below to register for the Zoom link.

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Alliance Offers Paid Summer Internships to Tribal College Youth in Oregon

The Elakha Alliance is seeking to fill two paid Full Time Summer Internship positions for tribal youth to support the mission to reintroduce sea otters back to the Oregon coast. If necessary, we will also entertain the opportunity to hire one Full Time Summer Intern, coupled with two Part Time Summer Interns. We are seeking undergraduate students along the central Oregon coast, and southern Oregon coast who identify themselves as Indigenous.

The Elakha Alliance received funding from the Siletz Tribal Community Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund to support these Internships for tribal youth. This is a very exciting opportunity for learning and growth within the younger tribal members regarding elakhas’ (sea otters’) deeply rooted cultural ties to Oregon.

To view the full Internship descriptions and find the application form, click here. Applications will close on May 23rd, 2022.

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Alliance Seeks an Executive Director

We are pleased to announce that the Elakha Alliance is searching for our first Executive Director. This position will play a key role to furthering the efforts of the Elakha Alliance’s mission of reintroducing sea otters back to Oregon.

Download the job description & application here, or see full description below. Review of applications will begin May 15th, 2022.


Job Announcement
April 15, 2022
Full-Time Executive Director, Elakha Alliance

About the Elakha Alliance
The Elakha Alliance is an Oregon-based nonprofit that includes conservationists, academics, lawyers, tribal members, and scientists. The Elakha Alliance’s mission is to restore a healthy population of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) to the Oregon coast, and to thereby make Oregon’s marine and coastal ecosystem more robust and resilient.

“Elakha” is the Chinook trading language word for sea otter. These mammals were once plentiful in coastal waters all along the Pacific Coast. For thousands of years, sea otters and coastal native peoples had strong relationships with each other and the nearshore marine environment. But in the 1700s and 1800s sea otters were decimated by hunting for their pelts, and by 1910 they were eliminated from Oregon.

Since then a catastrophic loss of kelp forests has occurred along the Pacific Coast due to a superabundance of herbivorous sea urchins and a super deficiency of their main predators, sea stars and sea otters. Until apex predators are returned, the urchins will continue to clearcut our kelp forests, resulting in loss of fish and invertebrate species diversity, carbon sequestration capacity, and ecosystem health and economic services. The goal of the Elakha Alliance is to reverse these trends. Reintroducing sea otters to Oregon is a logical step — perhaps the only ecologically and practically sound proactive step available — for restoring and sustaining the West Coast’s magnificent underwater forests and their denizens.

The Elakha Alliance is governed by a board of directors (currently with 12 members). The Elakha Alliance is also served by an External Advisory Council, from which it seeks regular guidance. The “executive” function of the organization has been filled since the organization’s 2018 founding by Board President, Bob Bailey, who has overseen a variety of contractors and a single employee (Outreach and Community Relations Director). Having raised and set aside sufficient funds, the Elakha Alliance board has determined the time is ripe to transition to a more traditional nonprofit leadership model by hiring its first Executive Director.

The Elakha Alliance is in the third year of implementing a five year Strategic Plan. A copy of this plan is available from Jonathan@ElakhaAlliance.org. This Strategic Plan and our recently completed Feasibility Study will guide and focus the activities of the Executive Director (E.D.).

General Attributes Sought for the Position
The single most important attribute for Elakha’s E.D. is the aspiration for, and unwavering commitment to, returning sea otters to the Oregon Coast.

To help the Elakha Alliance achieve this goal, we seek an entrepreneurial, strategic thinking
individual with excellent communication skills. The individual must be adaptable, and able to respond positively to opportunities and changing circumstances. The individual also must be an affable and outgoing “team player” who will reinforce Elakha’s collaborative leadership style and motivate others within and outside the organization to embrace our shared vision. The E.D. will be expected to work closely and collaboratively with the Board President as duties transition, while also working with the Board of Directors as a whole, Elakha scientific advisors, the Elakha
External Advisory Council, interested Tribes, and Elakha employees and contractors.

Must Have Skills and Experience

● Demonstrable success in fundraising (grant writing, individual donors, and corporate sponsors)

● Previous management or leadership experience with a nonprofit organization, government agency, or equivalent environment

● Experience working in roles that involve some combination of public policy development, science, and advocacy

● Experience working with Tribes and government agencies

● Capability of planning for, implementing, and documenting activities of a small organization without support staff

● Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in formal and informal settings, including via writing, public speaking, and one-on-one interactions

● Comfortable learning about scientific advances and using the best science available to guide planning of projects and their implementation

● Willingness to travel to attend meetings, interact with agency employees, external advisors, donors, etc. Access to a vehicle and valid driver’s license are essential

Desirable Skills and Experience

● Knowledge of marine ecology, especially the role of sea otters in nearshore ecosystems

● Knowledge of Oregon coastal politics, players, and geographies

● Experience with personnel management and human resources

● Experience with nonprofit or agency budgeting and financial management

● Experience with nonprofit or agency communications (presentations, video, online)

● Experience interacting with a nonprofit Board of Directors

● Experience communicating via web pages, social media, and other online methods

Specific Responsibilities of the Position
Note: the job responsibilities listed below are for 2022. If/when funds are raised to add additional staff/contractors, the Executive Director and board leadership will adjust these as deemed appropriate at the time.

Fundraising. The E.D. is the chief development officer – i.e., the person with overall responsibility for fundraising to support the organization. Duties will include identifying and cultivating relationships with potential individual, foundation, and agency donors; preparing, submitting, and tracking grant proposals to private foundations, government agencies, individuals, and other potential funders; submitting required performance and close-out documents; and assisting Board members in fundraising within their personal networks.

Finances: The E.D. is the chief financial officer. Duties will include budgeting and reporting, in concert with an outside bookkeeping firm; consulting with the Treasurer, and Board committees, and members to ensure the financial health and integrity of the organization; providing monthly financial reports to the Board; and ensuring that adequate and legally required financial records are kept and made available to Board members, outside auditors, and government agencies.

Human Resources: The E.D. is the chief human resources officer. As of April 2022, key employees/contractors are a full-time Outreach and Community Relations Director and a three quarters time South Coast Liaison. Human Resources duties will include hiring and supervising employees and contractors; maintaining employee and contractor records; cultivating positive and respectful relationships with employees and contractors; assisting employees and contractors in maintaining and improving their job performance, including updating job descriptions as necessary; and conducting annual, written evaluations of employees and contractors (i.e., evaluations that provide opportunities for feedback from
evaluees, including suggestions to the E.D. about how to improve his/her own job performance).

Science and Policy: The E.D. is the chief scientific officer. Duties will include promoting the scientific rationale for the mission of the organization and consulting/contracting with scientific and technical committees and other scientific and policy experts to ensure that the strategic objectives of the organization are being met.

Strategic Planning: The E.D. is the chief strategic planner. Duties will include periodically reviewing the Strategic Plan to evaluate progress; collaborating with the Board President and Board as a whole to ensure that Elakha’s mission and operations continue to be aligned with the Strategic Plan; and consulting with the Board and, as needed, outside individuals, organizations, and agencies to make judicious amendments to the Strategic Plan.

Communications and Partner Engagement: The E.D. leads interactions between Elakha and its external advisors. Duties will include creating and maintaining clear and productive communications with Alliance partners, participants, and donors; quarterly reporting to the external Advisory Council and others on the activities of the organization; and making judicious decisions about when to seek advice and engagement from the Board, Advisory Council members, agency employees, and other external partners.

Board Engagement: The E.D. reports to the Board, while working to deepen board engagement in the organization. Duties will include scheduling, organizing, and participating in Board meetings and other committee meetings as needed; maintaining positive and supportive professional and personal relationships with Board members; collaborating with the Board President and the Board as a whole in strategic planning, fundraising, and other matters; and helping to recruit new Board members as needed.

Compensation and Benefits

● Starting salary range is $90-$110K, negotiable based on qualifications and experience

● Starting Health Care stipend of $400 per month

● Generous vacation and wellness benefits

Office
The Elakha Alliance is a virtual organization, with no fixed office. We expect the Executive Director to provide a home office or an equivalent remote location for their work with access to communication devices (e.g., a laptop, cell phone, printer).

How to Apply and the Selection Process
Please submit a resume and a cover letter. The cover letter should address:

● What motivated you to apply for Elakha’s E.D. position

● How your skills and experience match up with Elakha’s needs

● How your skills and experience match up with specific responsibilities of the position

● The date you could commence working

Submit your materials to Elakha’s strategic advisor, Jonathan Poisner (jonathan@elakhaalliance.org).

Review of applications will begin on May 15, 2022. Finalists will be interviewed by the Search Committee. The search will remain open until the position is filled.

The Elakha Alliance is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, age, or any other characteristic. The Elakha Alliance is committed to reflecting the diversity of Oregon’s communities in our Board, employees, and contractors. We strive to ensure that our internal culture, business practices, and programs are welcoming and advance our diversity goals.

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Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Meet our New South Coast Community Liaison

Frank Burris’ first love has always been wildlife management, so he is retiring from OSU Extension Service at the end of March, and starting a new job in April working with the Elakha Alliance as our South Coast Community Liaison to help return sea otters back to Oregon.

Frank has served as Watershed Management Educator for the OSU Extension Service and Oregon Sea Grant since 2000, and has been County Leader of the Curry County OSU Extension office since 2007. His interests include: water quality, wetland and estuary education and restoration, and tourism and economic development. A short assignment as Interim Coastal Region Director, a special assignment with the Association of Oregon Counties working as the Mid-Coast Coordinator to improve and complete the Oregon Coast Trail, and serving as facilitator for the Rocky Habitat selection process, helped broaden Franks knowledge of the coast and the people working to protect and preserve its beauty and strong sense of community.

In his spare time, Frank enjoys riding his bicycle, floating rivers, bird watching with his lovely wife, Jan, and flying. They live in Gold Beach, Oregon with their dog, Maddy. We are pleased to have you join the team, Frank!

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Relationships Between Elakha & Sense of Place on Oregon’s South Coast – SWOCC Speaker Series (4/4/2022)

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Event is Free to Students and Community Members

This Conference is dedicated to the life and legacy of Chief Don Ivy. Chief Ivy was an esteemed member of the Elakha Alliance Board, and a wonderful voice for ocean conservation. When Chief Ivy was recognized as the Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Distinguished Alumnus in the Spring of 2021, several individuals associated with the Elakha Alliance were in the virtual audience. The idea of hosting an event on the south coast involving Elakha and sense of place was brought up. Following Don’s passing in July. 2021 we began to plan a conference dedicated to many of the tenets that Chief Ivy lived by, among them: recognizing the cultural identity of Native Peoples of the region, supporting education, improving community and fostering a greater awareness for land stewardship. It is our intent that those attending this conference will go forward with a better “sense of place”. It is also our hope, that like Don, we will all go out and “think deeply, make an impact, share our knowledge and go on to encourage others to do the same.”

This event will take place Saturday April 16th, from 1-4pm. We expect to be live in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on the Coos Bay campus and also streaming via Livestream at the college website. For full details, please visit this website.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Oregon Otter Beer Festival (3/12/22)

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What’s more Oregon than an otter-themed craft beer festival benefiting marine ecosystems?!

When: Saturday March 12th, 6:30pm-10:00pm
Where: Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

THE EVENT IS SOLD OUT

Join the Elakha Alliance for our 1st Annual Oregon Otter Beer Festival! Taste 13 unique otter themed beers from Oregon breweries, where the proceeds will be used to educate the public about the benefits to Oregon’s marine ecosystem of restoring sea otters as a keystone species. The Festival will also feature live music, local vendors, cashless bar, and a raffle for outstanding Door Prizes. We will be judging the beers based on a variety of categories, and awarding prizes at the end of the evening. Learn more about the participating breweries.

The Festival will take place indoors with limited capacity & Covid-19 safety protocols observed (outlined at the bottom of the page). The event will be for individuals 21+ only.

Ticket Sales Information:

  • Tickets for this event are sold out. If you already have secured your Festival tickets, you may still purchase additional drink tickets up until 3/11.
  • Drink Tickets for Festival Ticket Holders Only: $10 (for beer, wine, and cider)

What’s included in your ticket purchase?

  • Opportunity to taste all 13 otter-themed beers + 1 bonus tasting from Patagonia Portland
  • 1 customized MiiR stainless steel pint cup
  • Delicious assortment of appetizers all evening from Elephants Catering
  • 1 raffle ticket for amazing Door Prizes if you turn in your Beer Bingo Card after visiting all the breweries
  • Enjoy live musical performances from the Uncle Mary Band
  • Seltzer Waters/Sodas
  • Parking at OMSI

Breweries:

Vendors:

Sponsors:


Covid-19 Safety Protocols:

Starting on Saturday, March 12, OMSI will drop the mask requirement for guests.

  • OMSI will strongly encourage guests to continue to wear masks – signage will be created but ultimately it will be optional
  • OMSI will continue to monitor case counts in the state to determine if we need to require guests to wear masks again
  • OMSI will continue to require masks for OMSI staff and vendors

If you are feeling sick or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home.

There are inherent risks involved when participating in in-person and public events, including risks associated with COVID-19. Participation in this event is voluntary and solely at a participant’s own risk, including risk of exposure, infection, and illness from COVID-19. Individuals should only participate to the extent that they are healthy and can comply with physical distancing and applicable federal, state, and local rules and restrictions.

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Oregon Wild: Sea Otter Reintroduction Efforts on the Oregon Coast-Part 2 (2/2/22)

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Join the Elakha Alliance
as we present with Oregon Wild

The Elakha Alliance is pleased to be the guest presenter for the Oregon Wild as we take a deep dive into our sea otter Feasibility Study.

Introducing part 2 of Oregon Wild’s sea otter webinar series. If you love these charismatic animals then this is the webinar for you! Sea otters were once present along the Oregon coast for 10,000+ years before the fateful arrival of European fur traders and settlers. The absence of this species is still felt to this day, not only by tribes who had a connection to the species since time immemorial, but also by the entire coastal ecosystem that has since been thrown off balance. However, at long last there is hope for the return of this beloved, fuzzy mammal! 

On February 2nd, a guest from the Elakha Alliance will teach everyone about the sea otter Feasibility Study, the most important guiding document for reintroducing sea otters to the Oregon coast. You’ll get the chance to learn about topics varying from habitat suitability and ecosystem effects of sea otters, to political, legal, economic, and social considerations for successful reintroduction. Hope to see you then!

If you missed our first installment of the series you can view a recording here

Oregon Wild will be raffling off a copy of Oregon’s Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide, a solar USB charger, an Oregon Wild hat, or a “Wild: The Oregon Way” t-shirt! Tickets are $5 and are an optional purchase by clicking the link below. Raffle tickets not only help Oregon Wild continue these Wednesday presentations but also support our work safeguarding Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters. 

This webinar will take place on Wednesday February 2nd, 2022 at 6:00pm PDT. Register below.

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: What Lies Beneath (1/20/22)

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Let’s Go On An Underwater Safari!

Laura Tesler

The Elakha Alliance has invited guest speaker, Laura Tesler, to take you on an underwater safari starting in British Columbia and traveling south along the coastline all the way down to California. See what lies beneath the beautiful Pacific ocean waves and why it is worth braving the rough conditions and 40 degree waters to dive the coastal waters of the Pacific. Learn a few fun facts along the way about marine reserves and BOFFFs!

This webinar will take place for free on Thursday January 20th, 2022 at 7:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

Laura Tesler’s Biography

Laura Tesler

I grew up watching the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and old Sea Hunt episodes and always thought it would be great to learn how to dive. On my open water certification in 2005, I remember sitting at 50 feet in Nellie’s Cove outside Port Orford and watching rockfish and thinking I was stupid for not learning how to dive earlier. In any case, I eventually gained my Divemaster certification (December 2014) and I haven’t turned back. In 2006, I added a point and shoot camera and for the first 5 years took a lot of bad pictures… however I eventually got to the point where I made a large investment in my camera equipment as my diving skills improved and now, I take a lot of OK pictures (my opinion). I love to travel, and although 90% of my 300+ dives have been in cold water, I do treat myself with a warmwater trip to a foreign locale every now and then (although I usually annually dive Florida as my in-laws reside there). I also became a certified level 5 REEF surveyor so I am usually surveying whilst I am diving.

I live with my husband and son and they are certified non divers, however I have a lot of wonderful dive friends that I am always having fun and adventures with. I went to school to be a fisheries biologist with a focus on inland freshwater fisheries. I currently am gainfully employed (for almost 25 years) where I am the field coordinator for a mitigation program that purchases property for wildlife conservation in the Willamette valley. This is a fun job that takes me all over the valley and I am learning lots of new information about wildlife and the types of habitat they need to prosper in a rapidly urbanizing landscape.

I own all my own equipment- and I like it that way. I recently switched to a back plate from a jacket style BCD and it’s really better for me without a weight belt. I also like the trim better underwater. I wish I saw more women diving cold water. I think that statistic is changing over time. It would be great if we could encourage more women (and people in general) to dive our beautiful temperate waters. Some of the best diving I have ever done has been in Canada and it rivaled the best of the tropical diving in diversity and beauty. 

I enjoy being a “silent partner” in the OSC as I live in Salem and don’t come to meetings in Portland regularly… however I love how active the club is and I like the information exchange on the FB page. Look me up if you want to dive sometime!

Categories
Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha’s 2021 Year In Review

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Summarized by Bob Bailey,
Elakha Alliance Board President

2021 is in the books. It was such a good year for the Elakha Alliance and our work to bring sea otters home to Oregon! It proved the virtues of planning, patience, serendipity, and seizing opportunities when they come whizzing by. Here are a few milestones that will give you a sense of where we are in this journey.

Chief Don Ivy

The passing of Chief Don Ivy in July left a big hole in our hearts, the Elakha Alliance, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and his entire community of family and friends. Don was instrumental in reviving the vision of David Hatch by formally organizing the Elakha Alliance to actively work to restore sea otters to Oregon. He was a busy, committed man and the fact that he took the time to help build the Elakha Alliance indicates how important and meaningful our mission is.

To honor his work, we have commissioned a large myrtlewood bas-relief sculpture of a sea otter that we intend to present to the Coquille Tribal Council sometime in early 2022. You can also donate in honor of Don here.

Feasibility Study

Feasibility Study Poster, art by Lonny Hurley.

Nearly two years of anticipation and work came to fruition in August when we released our draft Feasibility Study for public review on our website. Written by an “A-Team” of scientists led by Dr. Tim Tinker, this document fulfills a goal we set for ourselves in our strategic planning process in 2019. This is a huge step toward our strategic objective of building a scientific basis for returning sea otters to Oregon.

The study concludes:
“Restoring a population of sea otters on the Oregon coast is feasible if steps are taken to account for ecological, habitat, logistic, economic, and social factors highlighted in this Feasibility Study. There appear to be no significant ecological, habitat, physiological, logistical, or regulatory barriers to restoring a population of sea otters in Oregon.”

Our study, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has drawn attention in the world of sea otter conservation, too, because it appears that nobody has done this before. We were assisted by Andrew Johnson, Defenders of Wildlife, in preparing public-facing summaries of each chapter. These summaries and each of the entire chapters were posted on the Elakha Alliance website along with a form by which to provide comment. We received very few comments but one, pertaining to water quality on the coast, will be addressed in the final document due by the end of
January, 2022.

This study is important because it will provide the Elakha Alliance, state and federal agencies and the public with scientific information necessary to inform discussions – and decisions – about where, when, and how to return sea otters to Oregon.

Sea Otter Science Symposium

Our third symposium was held in the afternoons of October 5, 6, and 7, with an evening keynote presentation on October 5. These outstanding science presentations were recorded and are viewable on the Elakha Alliance YouTube channel (where there are now a total of 42 videos).

Chanel Hason (see below) did a great job of promoting the symposium on social media, working with the speakers to make sure they were comfortable with our format, and acting as host for each session. We had 12 speakers, 9 of whom gave presentations related to the science in our Feasibility Study; the three keynote speakers took an interdisciplinary and creative look at kelp on the West Coast.

Economic Impact Assessment

In early December we received a draft Economic Impact Assessment from our consultant, The Research Group, in Corvallis. This study, supported by a coalition of funders, proved to be more difficult than anticipated because a) there are no comparable situations and b) it sought to assess future hypothetical impacts from a return of sea otters rather than assess historical data of real events. The draft has been sent to “peer-reviewers” for comments. We hope to post the draft on our website by March for public review.

Building Public Support

People viewing the lone sea otter at Yaquina Head in Nov 2021. Photo by Roy W. Lowe.

Building public consensus around the idea of restoring sea otters to Oregon is a strategic objective for the Elakha Alliance. The Meyer Memorial Trust has provided core support for our public outreach work over the past two years. I think we made substantial progress toward that objective in 2021 both in terms of actually building public awareness and support as well as building the capacity to increase our results in 2022.

In March we said “goodbye” to John Goodell, who opted to return to the world of his beloved falcons, and welcomed Chanel Hason as our
Director of Outreach and Community Relations. Chanel hit the ground running and has done an outstanding job of ramping up our social media presence which, as it turns out, is a real “thing,” scheduling and coordinating webinars and other presentations, coordinating a variety of fundraising projects, and other outreach and engagement work.

During 2021 we hosted or participated in sixteen webinars or in-person presentations on topics related to kelp and sea otters. Among these was a “Crabinar” that focused on the life-history of Dungeness crab and studies from California and Alaska of the impact of sea otters on Dungeness crab fisheries.

Our social media presence really took off during 2021 as shown in this table:

Our mailing list for our newsletter, The Raft, also grew substantially during the year.

  • February 11, 2021: Subscribers 1,135
  • May 25, 2021: Subscribers 1,458 (+323)
  • September 16, 2021: Subscribers 1,687 (+229)
  • December 14, 2021: Subscribers 2,192 (+505)

Several amazing opportunities were presented to us that helped increase public awareness as well as raise significant income. One was with Jacobsen Salt Company, a company based in Portland with salt-works on Netarts Bay. The company created a special 10th anniversary salt tin featuring a sea otter and information about the Elakha Alliance. Proceeds from sale of those tins netted more than $10,000 for the Elakha Alliance!

A second opportunity was presented by Kristyn Plancarte, a sea otters and marine mammal specialist at the Vancouver BC Aquarium who also hosts an on-line social media channel that features game-playing and science about marine mammals. She hosted a 24-hour live-stream fundraiser for us (yes, she stayed up all night!!) and when the dust settled the next morning people from all over the world had donated more than $22,000 to the Elakha Alliance! It was a very fun event that exceeded all expectations for money raised.

A third opportunity that is still coming to fruition is our Oregon Otter Beer Challenge. Thirteen breweries from around the state have agreed to accept the challenge to brew an ale with Maris Otter Malt. Annie Pollard from 7 Devils Brewing in Coos Bay has been instrumental in assisting Chanel with organizing the Challenge.

Some breweries, such as 7 Devils, have already released their brew while others will be tapping their kegs in January and February. We hope to hold a grand tasting event at OMSI in Portland in March, Covid permitting. So, watch for a brewery near you to feature an Oregon Otter Beer brew!

Fundraising

Jacobsen Salt Co.’s 10th Anniversary Sea Otter Salt Slide Tins.

Our financial picture improved during 2021 thanks to support from an increasingly diverse set of funders. In addition to those mentioned above, major 2021 supporters of the Elakha Alliance included:

  • Meyer Memorial Trust
  • Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative “Containers for Change” program
  • glassybaby foundation
  • Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund
  • Collins Foundation
  • Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund
  • Oregon Zoo Foundation
  • Sarah A. Stewart Foundation
  • Roundhouse Foundation
  • Mark Greenfield/Jane Hartline Advised Fund
  • Siletz Community Charitable Trust
  • Coquille Tribal Community Fund
  • Spirit Mountain Community Fund

Just as important, giving by individual donors rose significantly as word of our effort spread. Individuals from, literally, around the world are investing in this effort to return sea otters to Oregon. Their gifts are not just tangible expressions of support for our mission, but in the aggregate provided more than 25% of our total funding.

South Coast Community Liaison

Overlooking Bandon Beach. Photo by Chanel Hason.

Publication of the Feasibility Study reinforced our hunch that the best sea otter habitat is from Cape Arago and Coos Bay southward to Brookings. And we have long believed that we need a more personal presence and stronger relationships with the people and communities along this Wild Rivers Coast. Now, thanks to a generous gift from the Roundhouse Foundation and a matching grant from the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, we are in the process of hiring a South Coast Community Liaison to work directly with people and organizations in that region.

After several months of recruiting for candidates, we are thrilled that Frank Burris, the long-time Oregon State University Extension Sea Grant agent for Curry County, will take on this task and put on his Elakha Alliance hat in April after he retires from OSU. Activating the liaison position demonstrates that we are serious about working within potentially affected communities to increase understanding, address concerns, and build grassroots support.

Videos

Photo of Peter Hatch, Elakha Board Secretary, on ‘set’ at Otter Rock. Photo by Shervin Hess.

The Oregon Zoo has become a valued partner. In late August the Zoo released a 7-minute video that focused on the cultural significance of the return of sea otters. This video features Peter Hatch, Elakha Alliance Board Secretary and member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

In early December the Zoo released a second video focusing on the ecological and economic significance of sea otter return. This video features Dave Lacey, owner and operator of South Coast Tours LLC in Gold Beach and Dr. Aaron Galloway, professor at the University of Oregon Institute for Marine Biology (OIMB) in Charleston. The Zoo & Elakha production team led by Shervin Hess, went to Port Orford and rode with Captain Dave to Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve to dive and shoot underwater video of kelp and marine habitat. Dr. Galloway was interviewed at OIMB near the mouth of Coos Bay.

A Glimpse of the Future

Lone male sea otter off of Yaquina Head. Photo by Roy W. Lowe.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, a lone sea otter was spotted at Yaquina Head, just north of Newport. Despite the fact that this little guy succumbed to the effects of a shark bite in early December, it was a glimpse into what could be.

The little visitor was almost certainly a sub-adult male from population on Washington’s Olympic Coast. He was not the first lone animal to be seen off Oregon. In recent years others have been spotted and, in some cases, photographed along the coast, but this appearance at Yaquina Head was different: he chose a very public place to stay for a nearly two weeks which gave time for word of his presence to spread.

Because Yaquina Head, managed by the U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as an Outstanding Natural Area has a visitor center, docents and interpretive programs related to its
seabird colonies, intertidal areas, and migrating grey whales, there are many eyes observing the ocean around Yaquina Head year-round. Thus, it did not take long for the furry visitor to be spotted. Photos taken with telescopic lenses spread on social media, including posts by the Oregon Coastal Wildlife Refuges, headquartered in Newport. News quickly spread that there was a special visitor and the parking lot began to fill as people came to scan for the visitor.

The day that I visited (approximately Day Four), the excitement in the crowd was palpable even in the parking lot as people arrived, bundled up, and headed to the viewing area to join others peering through binoculars and spotting scopes, pointing out the little guy floating on the bobbing, rippling ocean’s surface, oblivious to the commotion he was causing. I was there for an hour and the crowd did not abate. In the parking lot license plates from Oregon were alongside plates from Washington, California, Idaho and Utah. This animal belonged to everyone!

Roy Lowe, our former board colleague, was there with his giant telephoto lens and keen eyes. We marveled at the excitement of the onlookers, young and old alike. He told me that a day before one man confided that he had been hoping since 1956 to see a sea otter in Oregon and had finally gotten his wish. That kind of passion and caring is invaluable. In the past, wildlife agencies were reluctant to advertise the presence of such a lone visitor, fearing the wrong kind of attention to the animal. But this positive reaction in such a public place may demonstrate that perhaps the best protection for these animals would be a very public presence with lots of people watching and, most important, caring.

Looking Ahead

Bob Bailey enjoying the beauty of Cape Blanco State Park. Photo by Chanel Hason.


We have a number of things planned for 2022, including discussions with federal and state agencies about next steps, bringing our South Coast Liaison up to speed, implementing a Tribal Youth Internship Program, and addressing some research needs identified in the Feasibility Study.

But the best part will be the unexpected, the serendipitous, the opportunities that will come our way. I cannot wait!

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Holiday Otter Wrap Up Party (12/16/21)

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Don’t Miss This Otterly Great End of the Year Party!

Join Bob Bailey (Elakha Board President) & Chanel Hason (Dir. of Outreach & Community Relations) for a night of light-hearted virtual holiday fun! We will be highlighting our accomplishments of 2021, while sharing our future endeavors for 2022. Feel free to sport your favorite ugly sweater, pour yourself a festive libation, and learn what our next big goals are for the future of sea otter relocation in Oregon. BONUS – don’t be surprised if we give away fun prizes throughout the evening!

This webinar will take place for free on Wednesday December 16th, at 6:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Chasing Kelp: A bull kelp journey across the Pacific Coast (12/1/21)

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Learn the history of
Seaweeds & Kelp of the Pacific Coast

Credit: Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin will take us on her journey as an artist diving deep into the science of the seaweed and kelp of our Pacific West Coast. The images and chapters of her book the The Curious World of Seaweed will be a jumping off point into her current research and artwork concerning the history of kelp surveys and maps. Her newest project, entitled Chasing Kelp will be discussed as it is currently evolving. Comparing the underpinnings to storytelling concerning kelp in California versus Oregon, Puget Sound and Alaska are some of her current preoccupations, as visual artist and storyteller, she is delighted to bring for discussion with the Elakha Alliance community.

This webinar will take place for free on Wednesday December 1st, at 6:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

About The Guest Presenter: Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin is the photographer, author and designer of many books exploring our coastal universe. Beach Stones was published in 2006, Beach: A Book of Treasure in 2010 and her visual primer on seaweed, An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, was published in 2014. Iselin continues her explorations into the world of marine algae with her most recent book, The Curious World of Seaweed (Heyday Books, August 2019, winner Tiffany Award from Phycological Society of America and shortlisted for The Northern California Book Awards and The Alice Award), an ambitious combination of essays and historical as well as contemporary imagery. This book chronicles the natural history as well as the history of science of sixteen iconic seaweeds and kelps. Iselin uses her visual art practice—the act of looking closely—as the stimulus for her scientific research and storytelling. You can often find her on various coasts at low tide exploring tide pools and investigating the intertidal realm. 

Josie Iselin holds a BA in visual and environmental studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. For over twenty-five years she has used her flatbed scanner and computer for generating imagery. Iselin exhibits large-scale fine art prints at select galleries and museums, advocates for ocean health through education and speaks widely on the confluence of art and science. She teaches in the School of Design at San Francisco State University and is constantly exploring ways to bring design and art students closer to the ocean world as well as bring design concepts into the realm of ocean science. Seaweeds’ stories and beauty are a good way to make these connections! Josie always has new projects in the works at her studio, Loving Blind Productions, located underneath her house, on a steep hill in San Francisco. Her work is on view at www.josieiselin.com.

Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Support Sea Otters for GivingTuesday

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#GivingTuesday is a great movement that was started in 2012 by smart and socially conscious people with the purpose of encouraging others to give back their time and donation dollars to worthy charities — all in the midst of the busy holiday shopping season.

The Elakha Alliance is launching a #GivingTuesday ‘Double your Donation‘ fundraiser for the next 6 days. If we collectively raise $3,000 in merchandise sales and/or direct donations from Nov 30th-Dec 5th, a private donor will match it for a grand total $6,000! With every purchase, the Elakha Alliance will be able to further our research and community outreach towards relocating sea otters back to the Oregon coast.

Will you help us reach our goal of selling 300 shirts?
We have a variety of color & sizing options!

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Nature Night: Restoring Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast: An Ecological and Cultural Imperative (11/9/21)

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Join the Elakha Alliance
with the Portland Audubon Society

The Elakha Alliance is pleased to be the guest presenter for the Portland Audubon’s Nature Night series. Join Bob Bailey, Board President, and Peter Hatch, Board Member, as they discuss the cultural and ecological importance of sea otter reintroduction in Oregon.

Florian Graner

Sea otters were once common along the Oregon coast, a protector of the rich biological productivity of ocean waters and a meaningful element in the culture of coastal Indian people.  Their dense, lush fur made them the target of commercial hunting and by the late 1800s, they were mostly gone from their former range from the Aleutian Islands to Baja California, including Oregon.

A few remnant colonies survived the fur trade hunting, providing the basis for today’s sea otter population in much of their former range.  However, sea otters remain absent in Oregon, an absence that has had unforeseen consequences for Oregon’s nearshore kelp forests.  The Elakha Alliance, an Oregon non-profit organization, seeks to return these essential keystone predators to their former homes and thereby restore the ecological productivity of the nearshore marine ecosystem and restore the ancient cultural connection between coastal Indian people and sea otters.  For an in-depth review of the historical, ecological, and cultural context for the Elakha Alliance and its work see this article in Open Spaces magazine.

This webinar will take place on Tuesday November 9th, at 7:00pm PDT. Register below

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Birds & Kelp (10/21/21)

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Learn About The Interconnectedness
of Birds & the Oregon Coast

Kelp beds are biologically rich marine habitats supporting a diversity of invertebrates and fish.  Less well known is the use of these habitats by some species of birds.  Benefits to birds continue even after kelp becomes dislodged and washes ashore.  Local photographer Roy Lowe will discuss some of the species you might see using kelp beds in Oregon.

This webinar will take place for free on Thursday October 21st, at 6:30pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

A pelagic cormorant in breeding plumage taken by Roy Lowe.

About The Guest Presenter: Roy Lowe

A resident of Waldport, Oregon, Roy Lowe is a photographer and former board member of the Elakha Alliance.  He was employed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 37 years and was the Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex upon his retirement in 2015.

Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Watch The 2021 Sea Otter Science Symposium

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Thank you to the 100’s of individuals who joined us from around the globe for our 2nd virtual Sea Otter Science Symposium. This year’s focus was on the results from our Feasibility Study draft, discussing the key components when considering a sea otter reintroduction in Oregon.

We invite you to watch all of the individual presentations below from phenomenal scientists including: Dr. Tim Tinker, James Bodkin, Dr. Mike Murray, Dr. Lynn Lee, Dr. Salvador Jogensen, Sara Hamilton, Dr. Alan Shanks, Dr. Shawn Larson, Dr. Jan Hodder, and more! If you’d like to watch more educational videos from our previous events, visit our Youtube Channel.

Day 1: Sea Otter Science Symposium

Introduction + Tim Tinker: Oregon Feasibility Study Takeaways
James Bodkin: Lessons From Other Translocations; Prospects for Oregon
Michele Zwartjes: Regulatory & Legal Framework for Restoration
Mike Murray: Health & Animal Welfare Considerations in Translocations

Keynote Presentation:

Keynote: The Magic & Majesty of Kelp Forests w/ Kyle Cavanaugh, Patrick Webster & Emma Akmakdjian

Day 2: Sea Otter Science Symposium

Lynn Lee: Ecosystem Effects of Renewed Sea Otter Presence
Salvador Jorgensen: Great White Sharks & Sea Otter Restoration
Sara Hamilton: Oregon’s Kelp Forests – Status & Trends
Alan Shanks: Dungeness Crab Life History & Sea Otter Return

Day 3: Sea Otter Science Symposium

Shawn Larson: Genetic Aspects & Benefits of Sea Otter Translocations
Jan Hodder: Habitat Suitability on the Oregon Coast for Sea Otters
Tim Tinker: Oregon Sea Otter Population Model & Recovery Scenarios
Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

2021 Sea Otter Science Symposium (Oct 5-7)

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Join us for all things sea otters, science & fun!

From Tuesday October 5-7, 2021, the Elakha Alliance will host our second ever Virtual Sea Otter Science Symposium.

This year, our focus will strongly revolve around the key findings of our scientific Feasibility Study Draft on sea otter relocations to Oregon. We have an exceptional group of speakers this year, and we hope you tune in from where ever you are in the world, to learn from these intriguing presentations.

Review the agenda for the Symposium below, listed in Pacific Time:

Tuesday October 5

Wednesday October 6

Thursday October 7

  • 1:30pm: Dr. Shawn Larson: Genetic considerations for translocation; conservation benefits
  • 2:00pm: Dr. Jan Hodder: Habitat suitability on Oregon coast
  • 2:30pm: Dr. Tim Tinker: ORSO – Oregon Sea Otter population model and recovery scenarios
  • 3:30pm: Q & A:   All presenters
  • 4:00pm: Adjourn

We are asking participants to provide a $10 registration fee, but scholarships are available for students and others for whom $10 would be a barrier by emailing Chanel Hason, chanel@elakhaalliance.org.

Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Renee Davis & Katie Russell Join the Elakha Alliance Board

In September, the Elakha Alliance was pleased to welcome two new Board Members. Both Renee Davis and Katie Russell have a wealth of individual knowledge and experience in the marine conservation field. Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!

Renee Davis.

Renee Davis has worked on conservation issues in Oregon for nearly 25 years. Her career experience includes marine conservation science and policy issues, change impacts on natural systems, and ecosystem services. Until recently, Renee served as deputy director with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. She recently transitioned her focus to post-wildfire recovery and Klamath Basin issues. During her free time, Renee enjoys hiking, birding, paddling, and being immersed in Oregon’s wild places.

Katie Russell.

Katie Russell is a graduate student pursing her Masters of Environmental Studies, with a focus on education and nonprofit management, at the University of Oregon. After graduating with her Bachelor’s in Natural Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2012, she has been working in the field of animal care and training in Hawaii. She is passionate about conservation and climate change education and currently serves as the board secretary for The National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpreters.

(Header Photo: Morgan Rector)

Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Jacobsen Salt Co. Honors Sea Otters for 10 Yr Anniversary

To honor the Oregon waters that Jacobsen Salt Co. has hand-harvested sea salt for a decade, they partnered with the Elakha Alliance to help raise awareness and funds for our mission to restore Oregon’s population of sea otters and strengthen our local marine ecosystem.

For every specialty Sea Otter Slide Tin sold, Jacobsen will be donating all profits to support the Elakha Alliance. We are extremely honored and thrilled to be a part of their 10 year anniversary celebration, and we encourage you to order these limited edition Sea Otter Slide Tins (they make great gifts)!

Founded in 2011, Jacobsen Salt Co. is the first company to harvest salt in the Pacific Northwest since the 1800s. Since then it has transformed from a local, small business to a nationally recognized brand as America’s leading salt maker. Harvested from the cold, pristine waters of Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast, their flake and kosher sea salts have garnered worldwide favor for their beautiful presentation and pure taste by professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Art + Science + Kelp Forests (7/20/21)

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Using Creative Storytelling To Showcase Kelp Forests

Three researchers from interdisciplinary fields of geography, photography, and design advocate for the prosperity of Pacific kelp forests in a webinar hosted by the Elakha Alliance. Kyle Cavanaugh, Patrick Webster, and Emma Akmakdjian discuss the role of perspective in creating stories that spotlight the kelp forests’ return to ecosystem balance, especially with the reintroduction of sea otters.

Kyle Cavanaugh is an Assistant Professor of Geography at UCLA who helped lead the project Floating Forests that uses NASA satellite imagery and UAV technology to map the density and dispersal of kelp forests worldwide. He studies the drivers and consequences of changes in coastal foundation species such as giant kelp forests and mangroves. He is especially interested in what controls large-scale changes in the distribution and abundance of these species. Much of his research utilizes remote sensing (e.g. satellite, aerial, and UAV imagery) to document ecological change over large space and time scales. Visit Kelpwatch to learn more about his most recent kelp research with The Nature Conservancy, UCLA, and UCSB.

Patrick Webster is an underwater photographer based in Monterey, California, capturing imagery of the central coast kelp forests and their inhabitants. He is the social media content creator for the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Emma Akmakdjian is a graduate student and artist at the Design Media Arts Department at UCLA, working to communicate the importance of kelp forests in human and non-human cultures.

This webinar will take place for free on Tuesday July 20th, at 6:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Crabinar: Will Sea Otters Take a Bite Out of Dungeness? (7/8/21)

Blue Banner

Let’s Talk Crab

Photo: Oregon Coast Aquarium

Dungeness crab are an iconic marine shellfish of great economic and cultural importance to Oregon’s coastal communities and way of life.  The Elakha Alliance is keenly interested in avoiding or minimizing potential conflicts with Dungeness crab harvest when sea otters are returned to their former homes on the Oregon coast.  This “Crabinar” will explore what we know about the effect of sea otters on commercial Dungeness crab harvest elsewhere, the potential for conflicts in Oregon and possible actions that can help to reduce  or avoid conflicts.  The Crabinar will feature a state-of-the art population model used to predict the location and numbers of sea otters in Oregon in the years following restoration. 

This webinar will take place for free on Thursday July 8th, at 7:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

Guest Speakers

  • Dr. Alan Shanks, University of Oregon Institute for Marine Biology: life-history and population dynamics of Dungeness crab in Oregon.
  • Tracy Grimes, M.S., San Diego State University: effect of sea otters in California on Dungeness crab catches and effect on young crab in estuaries.
  • Dr. Ginny Eckert, Director, Alaska Sea Grant Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks: effects of an expanding population of sea otters in SE Alaska on Dungeness crab and other shellfisheries.
  • Dr. Tim Tinker, University of California Santa Cruz and lead author of a feasibility study of restoring sea otters to Oregon: considerations of Dungeness crab in the Oregon Feasibility Study, Oregon Sea Otter Population Model and four “what-if” scenarios for possible sea otter populations in 30 years.
  • Shannon Davis, Principal with The Resources Group Economist: potential impacts of sea otters on Oregon Dungeness crab harvest as forecast by four “what-if” scenarios for future sea otter populations.
Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Aquarium Grant Opens Doors for Marine Rehabilitation Center

Congratulations are in order to the Oregon Coast Aquarium who was the recipient of a $5 million dollar grant from the Roundhouse Foundation.

The Roundhouse Foundation is located in Sisters, Oregon, and supports solutions to the challenges associated with rural culture and landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Their primary areas of focus include arts and culture, environmental stewardship, and social services and education. The Roundhouse Foundation values opportunities that work at the intersections of these areas.

Courtesy of the Oregon Coast Aquarium

The majority of this significant grant (~$4 million) will be dedicated to the creation of a brand new Marine Rehabilitation Center. We spoke to Jim Burke, the Director of Animal Husbandry for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, regarding this exciting new development. Burke also sits on the Elakha Alliance’s Science and Technological Committee.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only location in the state of Oregon, authorized to provide critical care to endangered marine wildlife like sea turtles, northern fur seals, and snowy plovers. Although the aquarium has helped rehabilitate sea birds (200-300/year) and stranded marine mammals in the past, this new facility would play a crucial role in assisting a significantly larger variety and overall number of animals. Burke stated that this new facility would include a warm water section for sea turtles, a bird rehab area, and the largest competent will be dedicated to the rehabilitation of marine mammals.

If/when sea otter reintroduction does occur in Oregon, the Oregon Coast Aquarium would play a crucial role, specifically as the only local state facility to admit an injured or sick sea otter for rehabilitation/release. The last time the Oregon Coast Aquarium received a wild beached sea otter was 12 years ago, and unfortunately due to health complications, it did not survive. Although the estimated completion of the new rehabilitation center won’t be for another 2 years, Burke and his team at the aquarium are looking forward to helping the Elakha Alliance’s reintroduction efforts in a variety of other ways. This includes research, relocation scouting, permitting, and lending boats/divers for various tasks.

Overall, we at the Elakha Alliance look forward to further collaboration with the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Stay tuned for further developments!

Categories
Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Preserving Kelp Oases: Elakha Partnering on a North Coast Project

Even with a successful translocation of sea otters in Oregon, sea otter population growth and dispersal takes time. If an initial reintroduction occurs on the south coast where most of the best habitat occurs, it may take many decades for a viable sub-population of sea otters to become established further north. There is a chance that trends in kelp declines and spreading urchin barrens will not continue, but what if they do?

In 2020, the Oregon Kelp Alliance (ORKA) launched a pilot project using scientific divers to experimentally remove purple sea urchins to protect specific “kelp oases”. To incentivize long-term removals, ORKA is working with partners to develop a new market for purple sea urchin “uni”. The Elakha Alliance is partnering with ORKA and with David and Talya Semrad from the Oregon Freediving Company to help coordinate a possible second location here on the north coast!  We are submitting a permit application for sea urchin harvest to ODFW soon, and hoping to be in the water this season! We think this effort will not only provide valuable insights into urchin management, but help engage the more divers and freedivers in kelp conservation. More to come soon.

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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.

Categories
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:

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

Dr. Jan Hodder, contributing author; Emeritus Professor, University of Oregon, Institute of Marine Biology