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Nature Night: Restoring Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast: An Ecological and Cultural Imperative

Sea otters were once common along the Oregon coast, a protector of the rich biological productivity of ocean waters and a meaningful element in the culture of coastal Indian people.  Their dense, lush fur made them the target of commercial hunting and by the late 1800s, they were mostly gone from their former range from the Aleutian Islands to Baja California, including Oregon.

Sea otter on its back in the water with its paws on its face
Photo courtesy of Jerry Burke.

A few remnant colonies survived the fur trade hunting, providing the basis for today’s sea otter population in much of their former range.  However, sea otters remain absent in Oregon, an absence that has had unforeseen consequences for Oregon’s nearshore kelp forests.  The Elakha Alliance, an Oregon non-profit organization, seeks to return these essential keystone predators to their former homes and thereby restore the ecological productivity of the nearshore marine ecosystem and restore the ancient cultural connection between coastal Indian people and sea otters.  For an in-depth review of the historical, ecological, and cultural context for the Elakha Alliance and its work see this article in Open Spaces magazine.

About the Elakha Alliance:

The Elakha Alliance was formed in 2018 by tribal, nonprofit, and conservation leaders with a shared belief in a powerful vision:  an Oregon coast 50 years from now where our children and grandchildren co-exist along with a thriving sea otter population and a robust and resilient marine ecosystem. We will be joined by Robert Bailey, Board President, and Peter Hatch, Board Secretary, from the Elakha Alliance.

Details

Date:
November 9
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Categories:
, ,

Venue

Virtual

Venue

Virtual

Organizer

Matthew Hushbeck
Phone:
(503) 349-5907
Email:
mhushbeck@audubonportland.org