Posts Tagged ‘oregon coastline’

In July (“South Coast Natives?”) we reported on a proposed land swap plus money deal proposed to the Oregon Recreation and Parks Department (ORPD) by Bandon golf course developer Mike Keiser (dba Bandon Biota). This  revises their 2010 proposal which was rejected because it did not meet the ORPD criterion of “overwhelming public benefit”.

From ORPD’s The Bandon State Natural Area Exchange Proposal:

“The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and representatives with Bandon Biota have created a framework for an agreement to exchange a 280 acre portion of 878-acre Bandon State Natural Area in trade for:

  • 111 acres of property next to the Natural Area.
  • 97 acres on Coquille Spit north of Bandon.
  • As much as $2.95 million in cash, part of which helps match a grant to acquire 10 acres of Whale Cove in Lincoln County, and part of it would purchase 6,100 acres of the Grouse Mountain property in Grant County for use as a future state park.
  • $300,000 work of gorse control in Coos and Curry counties.”
Bandon Property Boundaries  courtesy of the Oregon Coastal Alliance

Bandon Property Boundaries
courtesy of the Oregon Coastal Alliance

Public meetings were held in Bandon and Mt. Vernon in mid-August, and 35 written comments have been posted online. Of those written comments, 12 were in favor of the deal (mostly from Bandon), 22 against and one suggested a different approach entirely.

Yeses cited mostly economic advantages (jobs and tourist dollars) and Mr’s Keiser’s conservation record at his other Bandon golf courses. (Also it was pointed out that few Bandon residents aren’t receptive to gorse removal help wherever it comes from.)

Gorse Removal in BSNA courtesy of oregonlive

Gorse Removal in BSNA
courtesy of oregonlive

The 22 Nos were a surprising coalition. There were parkland preservationists (mostly from the south coast), who lamented the loss of unique public coastal habitat, and questioned both the swap’s legality based on Department of Interior stipulations on the land which was given to the state in the late 60s, and the precedent this swap would set for the whole Oregon park system. They were joined by a vocal group of Grant County (site of Grouse Mountain) ranchers, farmers and elected officials who don’t want any more public land in their county, period. Nor were they pleased to have no opportunity for a public meeting or discussion in their neck of the woods.

The earliest State Parks Commissioners could decide is November. For more info and to read all the comments see: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/pages/commission-bandon.aspx.

Updates to continue.


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I love children’s books. They are my “go-to” source for straightforward explanations of difficult scientific concepts as well as a reassuring fount of seemingly simple but actually quite astute and often great wisdom.

Bottles and Waves from Dorling Kindersley "Ocean" p. 13

Consider this: A few weeks ago we were down at the beach watching waves. Digging deep into my graduate school education (what was I thinking? A marine biologist who’s afraid of water?) I remembered the physical oceanography course that spent weeks,  and countless words and diagrams trying to explain waves. At the library I was reminded of the very complicated (and incomprehensible to me) nature of waves by an entire 267 page book devoted to the subject called Waves and Beaches by Willard Bascom (1964). In the textbook An Introduction to the World’s Oceans (fifth edition, 1997) all of Chapter Nine deals with the topic, “The Waves.” I looked, I pondered, I scratched my head. As they used to say, It’s all Greek to me.

Waves © SR Euston

But a quick tour of the children’s room landed me Ocean, a Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Book. This is truly a remarkable YA series—now covering over 120 subjects from Epidemics to Baseball, Shipwrecks to Climate Change. And DK did it again. In two sentences they told me just what I needed to know: “Waves are formed by wind causing friction on the surface of the water….Waves that are driven by winds toward a beach, break when the water becomes too shallow.” Oh. I get it now.

Quiet Water © S.R. Euston

As for great pearls of wisdom, whenever the world gets just too crazy (think Republican “debates” or bombing Iran) I can always turn to Wind in the Willows. In the very first chapter, “The River Bank”, Mole is drawn up from his underground spring cleaning into a warm grassy swale. And then he finds the river! By its side “he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last by the insatiable sea.”

And back at the beach, the waves. We, who live next to the ocean, are gifted to listen to their “insatiable stories”. Who cares if  we “understand” what waves are or not.

At the Beach © SR Euston

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As a discouraged environmentalist (I mean really—when states pass legislation that REQUIRE teaching the “denier” side of climate change, what’s left?), I picked up Plastic Ocean by Charles Moore with a sense of dull fascination.

Plastic Ocean, Charles Moore. Penguin USA, New York. 2011. 358 pg.

But two events suggested a mindful look. First, a few months ago I was involved in a casual conversation in the post office lobby where the opinion was voiced that the “Pacific garbage patch” was a hoax. A friend’s response, “So, you’ve been there and looked?” Hummm…

Then there’s the article that appeared in our local papers this week noting that debris from last March’s tsunami in Japan has begun to arrive on shores in British Columbia. Specifically, Tofino, a beach community and Canadian National Park of spectacular remoteness and beauty. The local article reminds us debris will be coming soon to our own remote and beautiful (although “plastic sanded” at times) Oregon Coastline. (To view NOAA’s tsunami debris trajectory visit: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/japanfaqs.html)

Deep Pacific Ocean Debris courtesy of plasticoceanthebook.com

Plastic Ocean, by Capt. Charles Moore, released October, 2011, includes a discussion of the potential of tsunami debris in the larger context of the Pacific gyre’s concentration of plastics which Moore, who’s been following and sampling since August, 1997, describes, not as a vast contiguous floating patch, but rather as a “plastic soup.” His findings are just plain scary, perhaps especially to those who like me trained as a marine biologists. When he talks of “nurdles”, tiny floating particles of busted-up plastic, I can only envision filter feeders, concentrating toxic chemicals associated with the plastics even as they starve, filled with plastic rather than the smaller organisms which are their food. There is much much more in the book which by turns curls my hair (the findings) and warms my heart (Moore’s continued commitment to making the change from a consumer disposable to a durable conserver society because it is The Right Thing to Do). The book is dedicated, “To the generation, not yet born, that creates a world where plastic pollution is unthinkable.”

More Debris courtesy of plasticoceanthebook.com

He ends on the note that is all most US environmentalists these days can muster: “we have the smarts, the know-how, and the imperative. The ocean planet will thank you if you help end its plastic plague….I am a patient man, and I have learned the art of seeing….I know how a few well-placed nudges can alter a course, the way a slight tug on a ship’s wheel will point you toward an entirely different destination.”

If you can take it, please read Plastic Ocean by Charles Moore. ( www.plasticoceanthebook.com). Then go out and start nudging.

Ghost Net, North Pacific photo courtesy of plasticoceanthebook.com

A postscript: Check out this article from yesterday’s (1/27) LA Times about a plastic trashed resort beach in Mexico: www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-beach-pollution-20120128,0,2261593.story

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