Ecosystem Based Management Comes to Southern Oregon Port

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.

Additional Resources

Southern Oregon Coast Mixing Nature, Tradition and Economics for a Sustainable Future

SLDI Project Goes Carbon Negative

Ocean Frontiers – The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship

Tyson Rasor is the POORT Ecosystem Programs Manager.

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13 responses

  1. Following are descriptions of the stakeholders attending the POCSA summit:

    Ocean Mountain Ranch,
    Terry Mock

    Located in the
    Port Orford Community Stewardship Area headwaters along a 1000’ ridgetop
    overlooking old growth forest and the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, Ocean
    Mountain Ranch is a 160+ acre carbon-negative project that will provide for
    long-term yield of high-quality hardwood, softwood, and wildlife habitat
    while serving as a model organic forestry/grazing operation incorporating
    residential, agricultural, educational, recreational, and industrial
    activities to promote sustainable land development best practices on the
    southern Oregon coast.


    Reserve Enhancement Program – USDA , Barbra Grant

    The Oregon Conservation Reserve Enhancement
    Program (CREP) is a voluntary cost-share and land rental program enhancing
    Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program with Oregon-specific
    incentive payments. There are currently 20 CREP
    restoration projects using this State and Federal funding within the POORT
    Marine Stewardship Area, consisting of 35-ft to 180-ft wide riparian buffers
    along privately-owned pastures adjacent to Willow Creek, Floras Creek, Sixes
    River, and Elk River, as well as perennial, headwaters, and intermittent tributaries.


    Friends of Elk River,
    Jim Rogers

    The Northern
    Stretch of the Elk River is now protected by wilderness lands.  Friends of Elk River, Elk River Land Trust,
    Kalmiopsis Audubon Society and Trout Unlimited are currently working to
    protect the southern watershed of the Elk River by creating the Elk River
    Salmon Emphasis Area (ERSEA).


    Fishtracker, Tom Calvanese

    The Fishtracker
    Project studies movement behaviors of fish at the Redfish Rocks Marine
    Reserve. This research is contributing to our understanding of marine reserve
    effects. This project will serve as the practicum for a Collaborative
    Research Training Institute. This training program will prepare our community
    to conduct collaborative research in fisheries science and marine reserve
    effects. A workforce trained in collaborative research will support our
    Marine Science Center and create job opportunities for local fishermen.

    Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning in the Port Orford Stewardship Area, Stephanie Webb

    The community provided their input
    on future visions, goals, and objectives for spatial management through a
    series of workshops that included a variety of information gathering and
    disseminating techniques from multi-jurisdictional partners, industry experts
    and local stakeholders. Community input, geodatabases, and analysis – MARXAN®
    and informational overlaying – were used to identify areas of potential wave
    energy development and determine how they might impact existing resources and
    uses in the Port Orford Community Stewardship Area (POCSA).

    Port Orford Sustainable Seafood,
    Aaron Longton

    Port Orford
    Sustainable Seafood is testing out a Community Supported Fishery. It’s
    just like a CSA, but with seafood from the Pacific.  he cost of joining the CSF is $150 per quarter or
    $50 a month.  Members get a delivery of
    $25 worth of fish every other Wednesday. 
    This is one of the things we feel is an opportunity for our
    community to add value to the resource and build a connection between
    the fish, fishermen and consumers.


    Farm Service Agency – USDA,
    Bret Harris

    Service Agency (FSA) is an Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Unique to Federal Programs, local FSA
    staff, under the direction of the locally elected “County Committee”,
    administer a variety of Federal agricultural programs.

    with the (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Soil and
    Water Conservation Districts, FSA provides farm production, conservation and
    environmental protection programs, as well as agricultural disaster
    assistance, and farm loan programs to area farmers and ranchers.

    Redfish Rocks Community Team,
    Kelly Sparks

    The Redfish Rocks
    Community Team (RRCT) is composed of 15 persons representing a variety of

    stakeholders. The
    purpose of the RRCT is to collaborate and develop recommendations for Redfish

    Rocks Marine
    Reserve, considering biological and socioeconomic information, and to serve
    as liaisons

    to the community.
    Recently, we took on a NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring Survey as part of our

    initiative and look forward to caring for the shore side of the reserve, and
    securing the land-sea



    City of Port Orford – City Administrator,
    Mike Murphy

    The city of Port
    Orford water system is in need of replacement.  It consists of approximately
    15 miles of pipe, 12 miles of which is AC (also known as Transite or Asbestos
    Cement) pipe.  We lose anywhere from 30-50 percent of the water we
    produce to leaks.   The water enters the system from an impoundment
    on the North Fork of Hubbard Creek, and is routed to the water treatment
    plant where it is made potable and delivered to town.

    City of Port Orford, Mayor Jim Auborn

    Two projects underway or envisioned include our Visitor and Marine
    Educational Center (VMEC) and a Port Orford Integrated Trail System
    (POINTS).  These projects will provide recreational and educational
    opportunities for both people who live and visit our area.  We recently
    completed a Strategic Plan for the VMEC and need to formalize the POINTS
    plan.  Progress on both of these efforts will be discussed and input
    welcomed from summit participants.

    Port Orford Main Street Revitalization
    Association, Karen Auborn

    The Port Orford
    Main Street Revitalization Association focuses on Design, Organization,
    Promotion, and Economics.  Projects to date include: 1. street
    clean-ups, 2. spiffy awards, 3. artistic bicycle racks, 4. promotion of area
    assets, and 5. net-working with the state Main Street Organizations. We
    continue projects aimed at making our downtown bicycle and pedestrian
    friendly and more attractive,  thereby encouraging economic
    improvements.  Our efforts recognize the importance of urban/rural
    interactions and historic preservation.

    Coast Watersheds Foodshed Program, Cathy Boden

    We have lost the connection of where our food comes from,
    how it is grown, raised, processed, and the affects that has on our
    watersheds.  South Coast Watershed’s Foodshed Program offers a 10 class curriculum to all 5th grade classes in Curry County.  Field
    trips to local farms and grocery stores helps kids understand more about the
    food they eat and why local food is better for their health and the health of
    their community.


    Cedar Grove Farm,
    Rick Hazard

    I own and operate
    Cedar Grove Farm, a small homestead farm about a mile east of Port Orford.  I’m not really a commercial farm but instead strive to be more of a self sufficient homestead providing
    what I need with minimal off farm inputs.  I’m building the soils of about 7 acres of pasture utilizing goats and chickens and then thinning and gaining access to the regenerating forestland with the help of the goats.

    Dept. of Land Conservation and Development – Ocean/Coastal Services Division,

    Dave Perry

    Improving Curry
    County’s Shorelands Boundary Maps. 
    Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 17 requires that, “Land use plans,
    implementing actions and permit reviews shall include consideration of the
    critical relationships between coastal shorelands and resources of coastal
    waters, and of the geologic and hydrologic hazards associated with coastal
    shorelands.” One of the key regulatory tools to meet these objectives is a
    boundary that encompasses coastal shoreland features and resources.  Although the Curry County shoreland maps
    were prepared with the best information and tools available to the County in
    the early 1980’s, they are drawn to a scale that is not conducive to site
    planning or project review. The purpose of this project is to improve the
    quality and reliability of maps depicting the Curry County Coastal Shorelands
    Boundary (CSB) in the County’s comprehensive plan.


    Port Orford Ocean Resource Team – Community
    Fishing Association, Kean Fleming

    A Community
    Fishing Association (CFA) is a community-based organization that is allowed
    to buy, hold,

    lease and sell
    commercial fishing permits and quota on behalf of a defined fishing
    community. CFAs are

    a tool that
    fishing-dependent communities can use to offset the negative economic and
    social impacts

    of “catch share”,
    a new program in fisheries management. Catch share management consolidates

    fishing effort into large Port towns such as Newport and Astoria, and leaves
    out small fishing

    communities such
    as Port Orford. A CFA can provide
    short-term quota/permit leases at below market rates to help qualified local fishermen obtain
    the capital they need to buy into an increasingly expensive commercial
    fishing industry. A CFA
    can also connect fishermen with important services such as business planning, quickbooks, and
    pooled health/boat insurance.

    Department of State Lands – Senior Policy Analyst, Christopher Castelli

    The mission of
    the Department of State Lands is to ensure a legacy for Oregonians and their
    public schools through sound stewardship of lands, wetlands, waterways,
    unclaimed property, estates and the Common School Fund.  I will give an
    overview of the Department’s primary functions, focusing on the Land
    Management, and Wetlands and Waterways Conservation Divisions.

    City of Port Orford, Planning Commission Chair,
    Gary Robertson

    The Port Orford
    Planning Commission just underwent the long process of updating the city’s
    Comprehensive Plan.  Thanks to the
    process the Port Orford Comprehensive Plan now recognizes the Port Orford
    Community Stewardship Area (POCSA) as an area of ecological importance to our
    community, while acknowledging that much of the POCSA does not fall within
    the cities jurisdiction.  The City of
    Port Orford can now actively support projects being implemented within the


    Oregon Department of Transportation,

    Hwy 101, just south of Port Orford and North of Humbug
    Mountain, is undergoing some major repairs. 
    This is the case in many places along the Highway that stretches the
    length of our state.  Currently, ODOT
    is correcting the damage that took place during the winter/spring
    storms.  Chris will be speaking with us
    about what steps they are taking to repair the damage and help maintain the
    road for the foreseeable future.


    Rivers Coast Alliance,
    Jim Seeley and Marie Simonds

    We are a growing alliance of farmers,
    ranchers, fisherman, outdoor recreationalists, and environmentalists who have
    joined together around a shared commitment to unite conservation, economic
    interest and promote tourism on Oregon’s South Coast. Our objectives are
    achieved by funding important projects in our communities that make our land
    and waters healthy and that promote tourism and support new job opportunities
    for local residents. The Wild Rivers Coast Alliance strategy is to secure
    stable, local funding that will pave the way for economically sustainable,
    promising community-based projects

    River-Siskiyou National Forest – USFS, Kim Hunter and Karla Cottom

    The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is developing the
    Elk River 5th Field Watershed

    Restoration Action Plan (WRAP). The Plan identifies and
    prioritizes aquatic and riparian related

    restoration projects within the watershed for the
    improvement and recovery of water quality, fish

    habitat, and riparian forest conditions with an
    interdisciplinary and partnership approach.


    Coast Tours,
    Dave Lacey

    Let South Coast Tours take you on an adventure paddle in the
    Wild Rivers Coast estuaries and out into the Southern Oregon near shore
    ocean. South Coast Tours offers fully equipped 2.5 hour and 4.5 hour 4 person
    trips in both freshwater and in the Pacific ocean.  Come paddle out to Oregon’s first marine
    reserve and protected area at Redfish Rocks Marine Research Reserve and
    Protected Area.  Redfish Rocks is also
    a designated IBA (Important Bird Area) that is best viewed by Kayaks as they
    are less disturbing than larger powered vessels.  Paddling the kelp
    forests of the southern Oregon coast is a surreal experience not to be

    Pete Stauffer

    The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots
    environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of
    oceans, waves, and beaches. Within the Port Orford Stewardship Area,
    Surfrider implements a range of volunteer programs and outreach events in
    collaboration with the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) and other
    partners. Our most prominent local program is the Blue Water Task Force,
    Surfrider’s volunteer water quality testing program. In addition, Surfrider
    and POORT have co-sponsored the annual Port Orford Water Festival, and
    Surfrider participates in the Redfish Rocks Community Team process.


  2. August 23, 2012
    Habitat restoration brought Oregon $977M in economic activity
    By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon editor

    “Restoration can drive economic development and job creation, particularly in rural communities that have suffered from persistently high unemployment rates,” said Spencer B. Beebe, president and founder of Ecotrust, in a press release. “And, unlike in many other sectors of our economy, restoration jobs can’t be outsourced to far-off places.”

    August 24, 2012
    Freshwater Trust, Willamette Partnership get $1.5M grant
    By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon editor

    The grant will fund a Joint Regional Water Quality Trading Agreement between Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The two organizations received a $1 million grant last year to set up water quality trading in Oregon. The Freshwater Trust this year landed an $8 million contract with the city of Medford to meet regulatory compliance requirements by improving river habitat.

    Both events help shape the idea of water quality trading in the Pacific Northwest, which quantifies the benefits of river and wastershed restoration work and translates into regulatory compliance credits that are vetted by state agencies. Businesses can use those credits — tied to tree planting and other habitat improvement efforts — to meet

  3. The Atlantic
    The Death – and Life – of Small Downtown America
    Kaid Benfield – Sep 07, 2012

    “Focusing on community assets is the first key to attracting investment attention. Is there a river to which the town can be better connected, or are there other natural resources nearby to be enjoyed – mountains, lakes, hiking and nature photography, fishing and hunting – which can help “sell” the town, and to which transit, biking, or walking connections can be better made?”

  4. New York Times
    A Grand Experiment to Rein In Climate Change
    Published: October 13, 2012

    “When you need an economic return, one way is to maximize timber harvest,” said Tom Tuchmann, the group’s acting executive director. “The other way is to look at nontraditional value streams.”

    But making strategic decisions about how many trees to harvest and how many to use to lock up carbon is an uncertain business. Other carbon markets have generally not done well by investors, and some brokerages have closed their carbon desks.

    “There are so many people who are disappointed,” said Thaddeus Huetteman, the president of Power and Energy Analytic Resources of Atlanta. “What they are really looking for is for California to show we can create a new market of significance in the world’s ninth-largest economy.”

  5. The World Bank – October 2012 Report

    Natural capital, ecological scarcity and rural poverty

    Much of the rural poor —
    who are growing in number — are concentrated in ecologically fragile
    and remote areas. The key ecological scarcity problem facing such poor
    households is a vicious cycle of declining livelihoods, increased
    ecological degradation and loss of resource commons, and declining
    ecosystem services on which the poor depend. In addition, developing
    economies with high concentrations of their populations on fragile lands
    and in remote areas not only display high rates of rural poverty, but
    also are some of the poorest countries in the world today. Policies to
    eradicate poverty therefore need to be targeted at the poor where they
    live, especially the rural poor clustered in fragile environments and
    remote areas. The specific elements of such a strategy include involving
    the poor in payment for ecosystem services schemes and other measures
    that enhance the environments on which the poor depend; targeting
    investments directly to improving the livelihoods of the rural poor,
    thus reducing their dependence on exploiting environmental resources;
    tackling the lack of access of the rural poor in less favored areas to
    well-functioning and affordable markets for credit, insurance, and land;
    and reducing the high transportation and transaction costs that
    prohibit the poorest households in remote areas from engaging in
    off-farm employment and limit smallholder participation in national and
    global markets…

  6. Sustainable Wealth
    October 29, 2012
    Film on New Economic Models – “Fixing The Future”

    In our political debates, races, etc. there is always room for more conversation about the sustainable, thriving economies we can create in our own home towns. Here’s a very inspiring film which I encourage you to watch if you are wondering what can be done to fix our economy, and our future!…

  7. The Oregonian
    Fishermen in Port Orford plan to create channel through sand
    By The Associated Press on November 13, 2012

    PORT ORFORD — Federal officials have told a small Oregon port that it won’t be dredged anytime soon, so fishermen are planning to make their own channel through sand that’s now deep enough to keep them from coming in or going out except at high tide.

    The plan is to tie up their boats in a line and run their propellers as the tide recedes, in
    hopes that it will clear a channel for crab season later in the year…

  8. Northwest National Climate Assessment Report (2013)
    Published by Island Press
    Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities
    assesses the state of knowledge about key climate impacts and
    consequences to various sectors and communities in the Pacific
    Northwest. It draws on a wealth of peer-reviewed literature, earlier
    state-level assessment reports conducted for Washington (2009) and Oregon (2010),
    as well as a risk framing workshop. As an assessment, it summarizes the
    key climate change topics as reflected in the growing body of Northwest
    climate change science, impacts, and adaptation literature currently

  9. Interview: Scott Nichols; Director, Verlasso Salmon
    Marissa Rosen | May 29th, 2014 –

    TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, spoke with Scott Nichols, Director of Verlasso: Sustainable Premium Farmed Salmon. Verlasso is the first and only ocean-raised farmed Atlantic salmon to receive the “Good Alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Verlasso offers premium salmon raised in harmony with the natural environment, and is leading the way to a new environmental stewardship.

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