Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund Protects Coastal Resources

Oregon’s coastline stretches 360 miles with state waters extending three nautical miles from shore. Our ocean hosts abundant and diverse wildlife, plays a crucial role in regulating the climate, and is a significant economic driver supporting coastal tourism, outdoor recreation, and fishing. At the same time, our ocean is facing increased threats from climate change (sea level rise and acidification) and pollution.

Oregon is taking action to protect its coastal resources. Starting in 2012, five marine reserves went into effect along the coast. Marine reserves are areas in Oregon’s coastal waters dedicated to conservation and scientific research, where fishing and ocean development are restricted. In 2023, the state will evaluate the effectiveness of the marine reserves. As a result of the evaluation and emerging science, marine reserve numbers, shape, and sizes could change.

Oregon’s Marine ReservesOregon Marine Reserves photo credit Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon has five marine reserves: Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua, and Redfish Rocks

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) oversees the management and scientific monitoring of the state’s marine reserve system. Learn more about Oregon’s Marine Reserves at oregonmarinereserves.com.

Currently, Oregon is updating its Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, which includes management designations for all tidepools, headland cliffs, submerged reefs, and offshore rocks and islands. Marine reserves and rocky habitat protections conserve biodiversity, enhance some fisheries, build resilience to climate change, and can have significant economic benefits. These efforts present opportunities to raise awareness and engage Oregonians, especially in our rural, coastal communities.

Recognizing the importance of a healthy ocean and coast to Oregon’s culture and economy, three foundations, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Lazar Foundation, and The Harder Foundation, established an advised fund at Oregon Community Foundation to support local nonprofits cormorant and chickworking on these issues.

The Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund facilitates the engagement of coastal residents, communities, and businesses in helping to protect the health of Oregon’s ocean. Through the fund, donors can leverage their resources, learn in partnership, and benefit from shared professional support.

Since its establishment in 2017, the Oregon Ocean Conservation Fund has made more than $300,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Below is a summary of the 2019 grants:

2019 Grantees:

Lower Nehalem Community Trust for Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve ($35,000) to educate and engage north Oregon coastal community leaders, businesses, and visitors as well as to support research activities in the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.

Discover Your Northwest for the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve ($7,000) to build long-term support for the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve and Marine Reserve by working with local tourism businesses.

Discover Your Northwest for the Cape Perpetua Collaborative ($22,275) to support a group of nongovernmental organizations, businesses, tribes, and government agencies to build public support for the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. 

The Ocean Foundation for the Redfish Rocks Community Team ($23,069): To implement a volunteer interpreter program in Port Orford to help tell the story of how the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve benefits communities on Oregon’s South Coast and to support the Redfish Rocks on the Docks Event in June 2018 and 2019.

Learn MoreOregon Marine Reserves Intertidal Surveys

OCF relies on the generosity of our donors and the work of grantees to create positive impacts across communities. For more information, including how to support the fund, please contact Carlos Garcia, OCF’s environmental resource officer, at (503) 227-6846 or cgarcia@oregoncf.org.