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Protect Oregon's Marine Reserves

03 • 06 • 2024

Protect Oregon's Marine Reserves

Victory! On March 6, 2024 the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 4132, increasing the state’s investment in its system of marine reserves and protected areas.

The Senate vote of 26-3 follows a unanimous vote (55-0) by the House earlier in the week. The strong support in the legislature is a testament to the years of work by our Surfrider chapters and coalition members in Oregon - read more.

Senate Bill 1510 was passed during the 2012 Legislative Session designating new marine reserves and protected areas at Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head, and Cape Falcon, which complimented the already designated sites at Otter Rock and Redfish Rocks to create a limited system within Oregon's Territorial Sea. For the first decade of these newly protected ocean places, Surfrider's work was focused on supporting implementation of the marine reserve sites, supporting the establishment of the program and integrating work to build strong community engagement. This included supporting the agency rule-making processes, as well as the development of site management plans which include education and outreach, research and monitoring, socioeconomic studies, and compliance and enforcement components. At the community level, our focus was to establish an engaged constituency of ocean users supporting implementation efforts through direct participation in community outreach & education efforts, as well as citizen science. This work includes integration of our existing programs like water quality monitoring through our Blue Water Task Force program and NOAA Shoreline Monitoring for marine debris at locations shoreside of the reserve to keep an eye on additional stressors that can affect ecosystem health. In addition, we partnered with community based organizations, agencies, and other NGO's through the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership to promote broad understanding of the research and monitoring efforts taking place and the results generated.

Now in celebrating the program's 10th year, Surfrider Foundation focus is support the formal legislative evaluation and continued investments in the program.

Update 01/17/2024: The 2024 Legislative session will begin next month and we are back, filing an updated Marine Reserve bill as HB 4132, and asking legislators to reinstate funding for ODFW's Marine Reserve Program in order to increase community engagement, ecosystem monitoring, and resilience in the face of climate change. HB 4132 has been selected as an Oregon Conservation Network priority, and along with the Surfrider Foundation, is being supported by Oceana, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Portland Audubon, Environment Oregon, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and the Coast Range Association, among many others. 

Update 06/26/2023: Oregon fails to renew community investments in Marine Reserves and Protected Areas as 2023 Legislative session comes to a close. Bill (HB 2903) recommending program investments dies and marine reserve program budget loses community. A blow to the conservation community that worked for over a decade to build a strong, engaged ocean coastal constituency, Surfrider will be working with the Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership to define renewed advocacy strategies for this legacy conservation program in Oregon. 

Update 06/08/2023: Conservation groups call for Oregon's leadership to invest in marine reserves this World Ocean Day, following budget cuts to the program.

Update 04/13/2023: Take action to support Oregon's marine reserves! Surfrider launches grassroots actions for legislative support of program - read more

Update 03/13/2023: Oregon's Governor proposes budget cuts to marine reserve program, a backward action on our efforts to advance Oreogn's Marine Reserve Program! More info.

Update 01/04/2023: Surfrider Foundation officially launched our legislative marine reserve campaign with coastal legislators and coalition partners through the introduction of HB 2903 in the 2023 legislature. Read more and track it on Oregon's Surfrider's statewide policy page.

UPDATE 12/05/2022: Surfrider Foundation is working with key legislators in Oregon to support increased investments in Oregon's Marine Reserve Program following the decadal program review. Learn more about the climate and community recommendations we are seeking to act upon for the 2023 legislature - More info.