Oregon Legislature Makes Big Investment in Ocean Science

Oregon Ocean Science Trust
Image via Oregon Ocean Science Trust.

The nearly $1 million that Oregon legislators approved so ocean researchers can help Oregon better understand and monitor ocean changes is starting to make its way to researchers.

Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3114, which allocated the funds to the Oregon Ocean Science Trust to address ocean acidification and hypoxia and the risks these issues pose to the state’s economy and ecosystems. Now, through competitive grants, these funds are being distributed to marine researchers.

Laura Anderson, chair of the Oregon Ocean Science Trust, said her entity is thankful to Oregon lawmakers for realizing the value of investing in increasing ocean knowledge.

“Coastal economies and Oregon fisheries are directly dependent on healthy marine ecosystems,” Anderson said. “And helping policy makers proactively manage ocean resources is ultimately a benefit for all Oregonians.”

The funds address priority actions in Oregon’s Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Plan and support OAH monitoring in Oregon’s coastal waters and in Yaquina Bay.

The Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, created via passage of Oregon Senate Bill 1039 in 2017, provides recommendations and guidance to the state on how to respond to acidification and hypoxia issues.

Oregon was one of the first places in the world to observe the direct impact of ocean acidification when its oyster hatchery production collapsed in 2007. Acidification continues to be a challenge in oyster aquaculture productivity and has prompted some producers to move operations elsewhere.

The situation was caused by carbon dioxide from the atmosphere entering the ocean and reacting chemically with water. The sea became acidified, and hypoxia occurred. Hypoxia, low or depleted oxygen in ocean water, is exacerbated by acidification.