By Tyson Rasor
A summit on Ecosystem-Based Management for the 1,320 square mile Port Orford Community Stewardship Area (POCSA) was held at the local American Legion Hall on July 11th. Hosted by the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT), attendees representing various stakeholder interests met to improve collaboration and communication between the individuals, agencies, and NGOs working in the POSCA.
The stated goals of the summit were to increase participant knowledge, decrease duplicate efforts, and encourage partnerships within the area in order to share resources. These goals are important to the Port Orford community because of the well-established belief that our common good and well-being is directly connected to our natural resources.
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is an integrated approach that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans and elements, integral to ecosystem functioning. Informed by both natural and social science, EBM is intended to restore our natural and cultural heritage by sustaining diverse, productive, resilient ecosystems and the services they provide, thereby promoting the long-term health, security, and well-being of our community. Among other things, EBM specifically recognizes that humans are part of ecosystems and that healthy ecosystems are essential to human welfare.
Leesa Cobb, Executive Director of POORT, led off the summit with a brief recap of local recent history. In 2006, POORT began the steps to move our community in a direction that takes EBM into account. It started by identifying the ecosystem that our community is a part of and depends upon. First, POORT mapped and identified our historic fishing grounds and then included the terrestrial watershed of these fishing grounds. The result was a comprehensive and holistic depiction of the entire ecosystem surrounding Port Orford that sustains our unique community. The map above is of the POCSA which is now included in the City of Port Orford Comprehensive Plan and is being called a model for other rural communities around the world.
This year’s key-note summit presenter was Ms. Sue Lurie who spoke on the subject of payments for ecosystem services and the new natural resource economy for rural sustainability. Sue is a natural resource planning and public policy expert from Oregon State University who works with local, state and federal agencies as well as non-governmental organizations on land use planning, natural resource policy and management, and collaborative decision-making. Following Sue’s informative presentation, more than 20 additional presentations were made by attendees on a wide variety of POCSA stakeholder initiatives, followed by a summation of the day’s events, and a very enthusiastic closing to another successful annual summit.
Tyson Rasor is the POORT Ecosystem Programs Manager.