Your Oregon Coast
Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on the Oregon Coast? Maybe it was a crystal clear day with blue skies and short sleeves. Or, just as easily, you braved sturdy winds, crashing waves and the unreliable weather that has shaped this place for centuries. Either way, it captured you.
As is often the case, there is more to the story than what you find at the surface. While our coast is captivating, it's also rich in conservation value.
The Nature Conservancy is hard at work for the Oregon Coast and our efforts are only expanding. We've helped create Oregon's first five marine protected areas and reserves. These special places operate much like underwater nature preserves, providing critical protection for the many species that live off shore, including rockfish, salmon, tiny microorganisms in tidepools and grey whales.
Protecting these amazing places isn’t enough. That's why we're also in the midst of restoration projects—like our Kilchis River Preserve near Tillamook—where we're returning tidal wetlands and estuaries to their natural state. Soon, these areas will be teeming with life and diversity.
Up and down the Pacific coast, we're working with our colleagues in Washington and California to bring science-based strategies that are transforming fisheries. We're developing new technologies and tactics that help fishermen catch more of the fish they want and fewer of those they don't. This is good for business and good for our beloved ocean.
Just like you, we've been captured by the Oregon Coast. We've fallen hard—freakishly hard—for her. We love our coast for what she is and for what she provides, and we want to ensure she remains loved for many generations to come. Join us and share your love for the coast.
Amount of tidal wetlands we are restoring these next few years
Number of commercial marine species in Oregon, including salmon and Dungeness crab, that depend on healthy estuaries
Number of gray whales that migrate twice a year along the Oregon Coast.
Amount of Oregon’s sandy beaches that everyone can access and enjoy.
The People's Coast
In 1967, Governor Tom McCall signed the Beach Bill, which said the State of Oregon owns the wet sands of Oregon’s beaches from the sea to 16 feet above the low tide mark. This provided public access and easements to all of Oregon’s dry sand beaches to the line of vegetation. Withstanding challenges in state and federal courts, this bill is why our beaches are something everyone can access and enjoy today.
An estuary is where freshwater and saltwater mix. Many marine species depends on estuaries for critical habitat, but estuaries face threats from pollution, habitat loss and climate change. In the last year, Nature Conservancy scientists have worked with partners to identify and classify estuaries consistent with federal standards, hoping to inform future estuary protection and restoration.
A Lending Hand
Volunteers are a critical part of our conservation efforts on the Oregon coast. Volunteers helped The Nature Conservancy protect its Cascade Head Preserve 50 years ago and their continued efforts to remove invasive species, plant native violets and monitor the Oregon silverspot butterfly ensure this preserve remains a rare coastal gem.
Guided by Science
The Nature Conservancy’s work has and always will be guided by science. Our work on the Oregon coast is no different. Our Associate Coast and Marine Conservation Director Dick Vander Schaaf has been with the chapter for 30 years and uses his wealth of knowledge to guide sound conservation and research efforts for our coastal preserves.
The Oregon coast is home to many species, including the beloved sea star. Beyond their distinctive shape, sea stars are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs, and in some cases, entire bodies.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its brilliant oceans and strong fishing communities. The Nature Conservancy embraces opportunities for collaboration with fishermen, community leaders and scientists to find innovative solutions to challenges facing fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. This work is critical to ensuring the fishing industry remains vibrant, sustainable seafood gets to market and ocean habitats are protected.
Marine Reserves and Protected Areas
Protecting open water is just as important as protecting coastal lands. That is why Oregon is home to five marine reserves and protected areas. These sites create underwater havens for fish and wildlife that will contribute to a healthy ocean for future generations.