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SeaWeb Ecosystem-based Management Resources

SeaWeb Assists EBM Communications and Outreach in Port Orford, Oregon

Port Orford, Oregon
Alex Danoff
Port Orford, a small coastal town in southern Oregon, has gained recognition and support from policymakers, management agencies and non-governmental organizations as a model for how community-based ocean management can and should work

As part of its Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) Communications Project, in May 2009 SeaWeb established a collaboration with the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) of Port Orford, Oregon. POORT is an environmental NGO guided by a formal board of five forward-looking commercial fishermen that support the design, promotion and implementation of an EBM process in their small town on the coast of southern Oregon. Their overall goal is to advance the vision of a sustainable fishery and a healthy marine ecosystem.

SeaWeb's EBM Communications team had a site visit in Port Orford in October 2009 to host two workshops and connect with the fishing community, as well as with representatives from the local government, elected officials and resource managers. One of the goals of the site visit was to also connect with the resident community and understand their perspectives and concerns on the management of their coastal and marine resources. The workshops were designed to assist POORT in its EBM outreach efforts by presenting the community and targeted stakeholders with strategic communications and interactive exercises around the principles, benefits and potential challenges of an EBM approach.

Playing Trade-Off!
Briana Goodwin, POORT
Local stakeholders in Port Orford play the marine spatial planning game Trade-Off!

For the first workshop, SeaWeb and POORT invited commercial fishermen, elected officials, agency representatives and various other local stakeholders for a discussion on marine spatial planning, ecosystem services and tradeoffs. Attendees also interacted with one another by playing Trade-Off!, a board game co-developed by SeaWeb and the University of Maryland that highlights the principles of a marine spatial planning process and allows players to take on the roles of different coastal stakeholders that negotiate uses and activities in a coastal community. The second workshop, titled "Managing the Port Orford Community Stewardship Area," invited all members of the Port Orford community to interact with a diverse range of stakeholders and share their perspectives on how to reconcile human and environmental needs in management of their local natural resources. The interactive workshop encouraged the community to consider and discuss a local issue (the management of the town's brackish lake, a secondary drinking water source) under an EBM lens, to reinforce the concepts underlying the EBM process in a hands-on way.

As part of the ongoing collaboration, SeaWeb and POORT, in consultation with survey experts Sowmya Anand (University of Illinois at Chicago), Amanda Scott (The Strategy Team) and Neil Malhotra (Stanford University), developed a survey to gauge Port Orford's citizen's thoughts and concerns on the health and management of their local coast, ocean and natural resources. The survey was widely distributed to the community via the local newspapers, and during the site visit, SeaWeb and POORT staff engaged community members by listening to their perspectives, answering questions and further distributing the survey.

In the future, SeaWeb and POORT will use the survey results to better address the needs of the community and guide some of POORT's outreach efforts on the management of Port Orford's coast, ocean and natural resources in an EBM framework.

Read the SeaWeb in Action piece on SeaWeb's trip to Port Orford >>

"The Port Orford Community Stewardship Area: Rethinking Ocean Management." Green Fire Productions