Report | May, 2011
Protecting the Oregon Coast: Identifying and Protecting Important Ecological Areas
Home to gray whales, salmon, puffins, and life giving swarms of krill, the Pacific Ocean off Oregon is one of the richest temperate marine ecosystems in the world. Yet like much of the world’s oceans, Oregon’s coastal and ocean ecosystems are facing increasing threats, including ocean warming, acidification, overfishing, pollution and development. Increasing human uses of our oceans and coasts have lead to steep declines in fish and wildlife populations and habitat loss that threatens the long-term sustainability of biological resources.
Identifying Important Ecological Areas is a critical first step in coastal marine spatial planning, helping to improve the health of ocean ecosystems and plan for long-term sustainable uses. This report presents the scientific basis and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis used to identify IEAs off the Oregon coast, the design of an ecologically significant network of marine reserves and protected areas, and the state policy framework shaping ongoing conservation planning.