Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Governor increases pressure to harm the coast
letter from Coos County Commissioner John Griffith June 10, 2007
Followed by Kulongoski's latest proposal outline

Dear coastal legislators. I have included members of Klamath and Lake county districts, and a few others, because of their concern for and past helpfulness to coastal citizens. I have also addressed this to persons who are involved in coastal issues.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has decided to increase pressure to evict us from our traditional marine fishing areas. He has changed the nature of a condemned 2002 Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) fishing closure proposal to relieve anti-coast activists from having to justify at all the closing of fishing areas, or of having to ever show that closing them caused any change to ocean and fisheries’ health whatsoever. Please see attachment for his latest proposal outline.


Legal framework:

Rep. Wayne Krieger made positive changes to the OPAC with HB 3534 in the 2003 Legislative Assembly, by making state agencies nonvoting members of OPAC, by designating more voting seats to jurisdictions from the coast and by adding detail to the fact that OPAC cannot make fishing rules. The governor, despite signing HB 3534 into law, has declined to abide by it. He also directed OPAC to move forward with the 2002 OPAC recommendation to start closing traditional fishing areas, even though it was mostly that misguided recommendation that led to the statutory demise of the old OPAC. And he has established an OPAC executive committee and other committees whereby he has subverted the letter and intent of HB 3534 by reinstituting what are in statute the nonvoting membership to become the controlling membership.

Quoted from the Oregon Revised Statutes at the OPAC section: ORS 196.420 “It is the policy of the State of Oregon to: (1) Conserve the long-term values, benefits and natural resources of the state and beyond by giving clear priority to the proper management and protection of renewable resources over nonrenewable resources; [more on this below, AND] (6) Ensure that the Ocean Policy Advisory Council will work closely with coastal local governments to incorporate in its activities coastal local government and resident concerns, coastal economic sustainability and expertise of coastal residents.”

Gov. Kulongoski has ensured that it won’t work with coastal local governments and residents by denying representation on OPAC to the citizens of the southern half of the Oregon coast. He has also summarily dismissed “the expertise of coastal residents” because it does not align with whatever it is he thinks of as expertise.

Oregon’s statutory framework for making fishing regulations has a long and effective history: Only the Fish and Wildlife Commission can make them. OPAC is an advisory body with no authority to implement anything. It can give advice on things including, say, the scientific underpinnings (almost none applicable) of the theory and practice of no-fishing marine reserves, but that is where its authority ends. Gov. Kulongoski has not asked for its advice on the science or any reasoning for designating marine reserves even though such advice would be useful. Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has, several times in the past, designated reserves of one kind or another in Oregon coastal waters through its ORS-mandated processes.

The 2002 OPAC marine reserves recommendation:

Despite advice from its coastal members, the old OPAC, controlled entirely by the governor’s office and DLCD, took a horrible idea on the road in spring 2002 with its marine reserve draft plan. I attended the public meetings in Brookings, Port Orford and North Bend, and watched VHS records of the meetings in Astoria and Newport. DLCD-controlled OPAC got hammered. Out of hundreds of comments, I heard only two favorable comments at the meetings I attended, both uttered by professional environmental activists at Port Orford. The northern venues fared no better for DLCD. Coastal witnesses said that the situation OPAC 2002 was describing didn’t actually exist in the ocean. They said that a scientific argument could not be made for marine reserves as a management tool. They didn’t want another agency added to the mix of agencies they already had to deal with. They said to give them ODFW regulations if changes are needed, that ODFW uses science and its processes are more open and adaptive, and that they work as well as any could be expected to address problems. Nevertheless, OPAC went ahead and forwarded its doomed recommendation to Gov. John Kitzhaber in August 2002, as if it had heard nothing on the coast.

OPAC 2002 recommended that “Oregon establish a limited system of marine reserves in order to test and evaluate their effectiveness in meeting marine resource conservation objectives.” Recommendation to the Governor Oregon and Marine Reserves, OPAC, Aug. 30, 2002. In my opinion then and now, and admitted by activists in 2002, a scientific argument cannot be made to show no-fishing marine reserves will help the ocean off Oregon. That is why the 2002 OPAC recommendation was to test marine reserves: to get some data, because no other rationale for closing ocean areas could be made to work.

In the past week, Gov. Kulongoski, despite ordering that the new OPAC go forward with the OPAC 2002 recommendation, has changed its nature, per the attachment and explained below.

Now, he’s saying to carve out fishing spots and take their use away from our citizens, visitors and our economy “for preserving our ocean heritage for future generations.” Attachment, page 1, at B, second bullet.

Please compare the two quotes just above: OPAC 2002 would require at a minimum a baseline inventory, some periodic monitoring and an analysis of any change(s) in marine reserves, “in order to test and evaluate their effectiveness.” The new reason for our eviction is free of science and its expenses, with no preliminary inventory, monitoring or analysis ever needed. Gov. Kulongoski is making it a case of just do it, without consideration of the existing regulatory framework, the condition of the resource or a discussion of whether marine reserves would make any difference to the resource. The governor’s latest proposal has some passages meant to assuage a concerned coastal citizenry, but we bear in mind the words spoken at the April 19 OPAC meeting in Reedsport by Louise Solliday regarding our concerns with and reluctance to go passively to our economic and way-of-living demise:

       “I think it’s important to remember that the ocean resources that we’re talking about don’t belong to the coastal community. They belong to all Oregonians. And while the coastal communities certainly feel the greatest benefit and the greatest impact of policy choices that are made, these ocean resources belong to all of us.

            “And I guess the other thing I’d like to say is that while I want as much coastal support as we can get for this effort, I think we need to recognize that almost every major change that’s been made in our history was made without the support of the majority when it was made, and, uh, pick one, whether it’s designation of wilderness, whether it’s the right of women to vote, or turning black people from three-fifths of a person into an entire person. I mean, just pick any of them.

            “I would say that people didn’t wait for the majority to support. They did it because it was the right thing to do, and because it was going to benefit society as a whole.”  Louise Solliday, transcribed from OPAC DVD, meeting April 19, Reedsport.

Besides her comparing us to misogynists and bigots, we noted that her statements are historically incorrect. They also say that disposing of democracy is required because she and the company she keeps say so.

Oregon’s three-mile wide Territorial Sea is already a “Marine Protected Area. OPAC 2002 Marine Reserve recommendation, page 2, at “Terminology.”

You might hear marine reserve advocates refer to statements of “two blue-ribbon commissions,” the Pew Ocean Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The Pew commission wasn’t a commission at all, but simply a collection of like-minded folks as a tool of environmental grant-maker Pew Trust. The U.S. commission was indeed a commission, nearly half of which members were academics, and had no fishermen on it, that made general statements of ocean health. Remember, please, that oceans cover 7/10ths of Earth’s surface. Although there are ocean areas in poor condition, saying it’s all bad is like comparing the human environment of Lagos, Nigeria, to Salem, Oregon. As a diver, surfer and fisherman, I can say that the overall health of Oregon’s ocean almost without exception is in good shape. Our fisheries are in many cases better than they were even six years ago, and in almost all cases are good.

In the legal framework section higher above, I noted that I’d give detail below.

Marine Reserves advocates say Goal 19 orders that we need to evict fishermen. That is not true. All the statewide land use goals, including the three coastal goals, are what we decision-makers use when considering new or conflicting land use proposals. ORS 196.420 (1) backs up my opinion. We have ORS 196.420 and Goal 19 prioritizing renewable resources use over non-renewable uses. All the goals address land uses. Fishing is not a land use, even though DLCD tries to say it is.

If you read this far, I thank you. If you have questions, please call. I’m at 541.396.3121 X 248 or, on the road, 541.290.997

We need protection from what I believe is simply a mean-spirited, unfounded assault on our well-being that has no plausible connection to any potential benefit.

Thank you

John Griffith

Coos County Commissioner


Marine Reserves Process Coordination Meeting
June 1, 2007
Key Points, Decisions, and Immediate Actions (Taken and Needed)
Governor’s Natural Resources Policy Director: Mike Carrier
OPAC Executive Committee: Scott McMullen (Chair), Jim Good (Co-Chair), Jay Rasmussen (Sea Grant), Greg McMurray (DLCD), Jessica Hamilton (Governor’s Office)
OPAC Marine Reserves Working Group Chair: Frank Warrens
OPAC Science and Technical Advisory Committee members: Jay Rasmussen, Selina Heppell
Marine Cabinet (OPAC agencies):
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Virgil Moore, Ed Bowles, Patty Burke
Department of State Lands: Louise Solliday
Department of Agriculture: Dalton Hobbs
Department of Environmental Quality: Dick Pedersen
Department of Land Conservation and Development: Bob Bailey
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: Jim Myron, Laurel Hillmann
Department of Geology and Mineral Industries: Vicki McConnell
Oregon State Police: Jeff Samuels

A. Governor’s Commitment to Marine Reserves (Budget/Legislative Session)

• The Governor is eager to establish marine protected areas such as marine reserves. He sees ocean protection as a part of his environmental legacy.
• Governor will seek funding for marine reserves in the 2009-11 budget and will investigate opportunities to seek funding for the Feb. 2008 session as well.
• Governor looks forward to receiving budget and policy recommendations (for the 2009 legislative session) from the Marine Cabinet.
B. Goal of Marine Reserves
• The Governor likes the direction OPAC’s Marine Reserves Working Group (MRWG) and OPAC’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) have been heading regarding identifying the overarching goal of marine reserves.
• Based on OPAC discussions, he believes the goal of marine reserves (no-take areas) should be for preserving our ocean heritage for future generations.
• This goal means two things: One, establishing reserves to permanently protect the habitat and biodiversity of specific places in Oregon’s Territorial Sea; and two, establishing more than one reserve for each of the major types of bottom habitat in our Territorial Sea.
• It was noted that the idea of establishing marine heritage reserves is similar to designation of wilderness areas on land.
ACTION NEEDED: Governor’s office will clearly define the heritage goal.
C. State Land Board
• State Land Board is interested in receiving OPAC’s recommendations of special places to be protected as marine reserves. There is no plan or map of sites at this time upon which the Land Board will act; they look to OPAC to move forward with that process.
D. Initial Process Discussion for Nominating Heritage Reserves
• Scientists and policymakers need to define sideboards (criteria) for how a site could qualify as a marine heritage reserve. Examples of criteria: habitat types, size of reserve, distance apart, proximity to ports, enforcement requirements. Key Actors: STAC and other scientists, OPAC MRWG, Marine Cabinet.
• Initial decisions such as determining a “total percent” of Territorial Sea to be designated as reserves could help frame the process.
• Once ecological and socioeconomic criteria are established, begin a public 6-month nomination process. Public will be asked to use the criteria during nomination process.
• With STAC assistance, OPAC’s MRWG would review nomination applications to determine whether the criteria were met.
• OPAC would review and comment on the combined nominations, and forward to the Governor’s office.
• Governor’s office would work with Marine Cabinet to confirm nominations meet the conservation goals and criteria.
• Governor’s office would forward proposals to the appropriate agency commissions for action (ex: Fish and Wildlife Commission, State Land Board). Sometime in 2008, commissions will conduct rulemaking, which involves public comment, economic and social analyses, etc. [All commission processes will preferably take place at the same time, in order to schedule joint public hearings, etc. Process will be coordinated by the Marine Cabinet.]
• Criteria: a) must establish clear criteria so that later evaluation will be possible and objective, b) goals and criteria may need to be defined in a scale dependent manner, c) role of STAC in setting or evaluating criteria needs to be decided, d) should we ask full OPAC for criteria ideas before MRWG meets June 29 (ACTION NEEDED: discuss this during small group process meeting), e) July 17 meeting: does OPAC approve criteria or simply review and comment? ACTION DECIDED: Review and comment only; no consensus vote required.
• Siting: a) nomination form should include a section for requesting areas to be excluded from consideration, b) OPAC product: a comprehensive map showing compiled sites that meet overall goals.
• Research reserve: a) do we still set the reserves up to ‘test and evaluate’ their abilities to serve as a conservation tool (2002 recommendation)? b) the design considerations would be different, c) we haven’t identified the funding source for the research piece, d) Governor’s office intent isn’t to abandon this piece. ACTION NEEDED: Governor’s office needs to define how the research reserve concept fits with the heritage goal.
• Facilitation: a) Can we hire a facilitator to assist with the process? b) this is not the same type of extensive public meeting tour that OPAC drafted for the Sanctuary process.
• Submission of package of proposed nominations: The MRWG will do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to evaluating nominations. Should the package go to OPAC for review and comment or head straight to Governor’s office (with Marine Cabinet review)? ACTION NEEDED: Governor’s office consider appropriate path here.
ACTION TAKEN: Set up ‘small group’ (mix of Marine Cabinet, STAC, OPAC) to clearly define process and timeline. Meet prior to Marine Reserve Working Group (June 29). State Police invited to these meetings. Note: This small group may need to seek further direction from Governor’s office before finalizing process. Participants Identified: Jessica Hamilton,
Frank Warrens, Jim Good, STAC rep (Selina Heppell), Patty Burke, Louise Solliday, Jeff Samuels, Greg McMurray. Added: Scott McMullen.
E. Parks and Recreation Commission
• OPRD will begin a “marine parks” plan, whereby a Task Force will be established to recommend places for designation. Marine parks would be established adjacent to select existing land-based state parks.
• The primary goal of marine parks is to promote recreation and education, however some additional protection may be warranted to protect the areas (working with ODFW, DSL, etc.).
• Marine parks could include rocky shores and existing marine protected areas (ex: marine gardens).
• Make sure the marine parks process is connected (and possibly integrated) with the marine reserves process.
• Review OPAC’s 2002 recommendations and role of OPRD to protect rocky shores.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN: OPAC to receive briefing on the Rocky Shores Strategy.
F. General Discussion Highlights
• Marine protected areas could be nested within one another, as often takes place on land (ex: wild and scenic area inside a wilderness area).
• OPAC is an advisory body. Actual siting and designation decisions are made by the agency commissions/boards, with input from the Governor’s office.
• Direction from Governor’s office to OPAC during the process is desirable in order to maintain clarity of roles.
• ACTION TO BE TAKEN: Once participants have reviewed meeting notes and the small group has met, the Governor’s office will share the results of the meeting with the full OPAC for further discussion.

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2007, All Rights Reserved