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Coastal Management FAQ's
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Go back to the Main Rocky Shores Page to see a list of related publications, websites and a list of Oregon rocky shores contacts. For more general information visit our new tidepool site!

What is the role of OPRD in Rocky Shores Management?
LANDOWNER
  • Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) administers over 80 parks, waysides and other facilities along the coast.
 
OCEAN SHORE RECREATION AREA 
  • OPRD has statutory authority for managing Oregon’s ocean shore, which includes public beaches and other intertidal areas along the entire coast.
  •  The “ocean shore” is defined as the land lying between extreme low tide of the Pacific Ocean and the statutory vegetation line or the line of established upland shore vegetation, whichever is farther inland (ORS 390.605).Ocean Shore Rules are available online, including general recreational rules (Division 21).
  • The ocean shore does not include estuaries.
 
 
 

What is the "Territorial Sea?"
Depending on how close you are to the coast, different levels of government have jurisdiction over ocean and coastal management. In general:
  • From 0-3 nautical miles (nm) seaward of mean lower low water, the state is in charge.Off of the state of Oregon, this is the area known as Oregon’s Territorial Sea.
  • From 3-12 nautical miles, the federal government is in charge, this is the federal territorial sea.  Federal interest is established only through specific laws that govern issues like fisheries, environmental/water quality and mineral development.
  • The “contiguous zone” of the U.S. extends to 24 nm; this zone was established so that the U.S. can “exercise the control necessary to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration, or sanitary laws and regulations…and to punish infringement of the above laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea.”
  • From 12-200 nautical miles, the United States has proclaimed the resources in the waters to be within an “Exclusive Economic Zone” or EEZ.  The U.S. has rights and responsibilities in this area only with respect to specific resources through applicable laws.  
  • Beyond 200 nautical miles, and not within another countries waters, is an area known as the “high seas” or “international waters” where international laws are applicable.  If all coastal countries claimed a 200 nm EEZ, only 2/3 of the oceans would be part of the “high seas.”

What is a Marine Protected Area?
  • Based on Executive Order 13158, the U.S. Government defines a Marine Protected Area (MPA) as “any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by Federal, State, territorial, tribal or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein.”
  • Within Oregon's Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) is a section on rocky shores, the Rocky Shores Management Strategy.  39 sites were originally designated in the TSP.  Today, 15 are currently actively managed as protected areas that fall into 4 categories: Marine Gardens, Habitat Refuges, and Research Reserves.
  • More information about Oregon marine reserves and marine protected areas.

What is a Marine Garden?
Oregon Marine Garden Signage
Oregon Marine Garden Signage
  • In Oregon, a marine garden is a specially protected area in which it is illegal to collect any marine invertebrate (except single mussels for bait).  Marine Gardens are areas that are targeted for educational programs that allow visitors to enjoy and learn about intertidal resources.
  • Haystack Rock, Cape Kiwanda, Otter Rock, Yaquina Head, Yachats State Park, Cape Perpetua and Harris Beach State Park intertidal areas are Marine Gardens. 
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages Marine Gardens and information about special management designations for marine areas can be found in the current version of the Oregon Fishing Regulations (see that "Marine Zone" section). 
  • Collecting seaweed and other marine plants is not allowed in marine gardens (OAR 736 Div 21).

What is a Habitat Refuge?
  • In Oregon, a habitat refuge is a specially protected area that is closed to the take of marine fish, shellfish and all marine invertebrates.  They are areas that are needed to maintain the health of the rocky shore ecosystem.
  • Whale Cove, in Lincoln County is the only currently designated marine habitat refuge.  The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the habitat refuge and information about special management designations for marine areas can be found in the current version of the Oregon Fishing Regulations (see that "Marine Zone" section).
  • Three Arch Rocks (near Oceanside), while not a state designated habitat refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge and is closed to public entry year-round with a seasonal (May 1st-Sept 15th) boating closure for waters within 500 feet of the refuge. 
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service manages Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge.

What is a Research Reserve?
Oregon Research Reserve Signage
Oregon Research Reserve Signage
  • In Oregon, there are two kinds of research reserves, subtidal and intertidal.  They have been designated to allow for scientists to reliably obtain rocky shore information over time on natural variations and changes in the marine environment.  These areas are used for scientific study or research including baseline studies, monitoring, or applied research.
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages Research Reserves and information about special management designations for marine areas can be found in the current version of the Oregon Fishing Regulations (see that "Marine Zone" section).
  • There are 2 subtidal research reserves: Pirate Cove (Depoe Bay) and Gregory Point (Cape Arago).
  • These areas are closed to the take of shellfish and marine invertebrates, except that scientific take permits may be issued for scientific and educational reasons (via ODFW).
  • There are 5 intertidal research reserves: Boiler Bay, Neptune State Park, Cape Arago (Area B), Brookings and Cape Arago (Area A&C)
  • The first four sites are closed to the take of shellfish and marine invertebrates, except abalone, clams, Dungeness crab, red rock crab, mussels, piddocks, scallops and shrimp. Scientific take permits may be issued (via ODFW).
  • The last site (Cape Arago, Areas A&C) is closed to the take of all shellfish and marine invertebrates. Scientific take permits may be issued (via ODFW). 
  • Collecting seaweed and other marine plants is not allowed in intertidal research reserves (OAR 736 Div 21).