The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Coastal Summit leads with ocean acidification


November 6, 2013

Souring seas, farming the oceans, sea level rise, hatcheries, and plastic pollution are on the agenda when the public sessions of the seventh annual Coastal Summit convenes in Cathlamet this Saturday.

The event is sponsored by the Coastal Marine Resource Committees representing Wahkiakum, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties.

The change in ocean chemistry known as acidification and caused by burning fossil fuels has already hit the Northwest hard. Conference Coordinator Casey Dennehy, Washington Pacific Coast Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, said, “In 2009 oyster hatcheries in Oregon and Washington lost up to 80 percent of their larvae due to acidification. Acidification threatens every coastal community, and the Marine Resource Committees have the opportunity to reduce local impacts by using the latest science and taking local action. We hope the Coastal Summit advances our ability to deal with what may well be the greatest of all threats to our marine resources.”

Presentations Saturday begin at 9 a.m. with Eric Swenson, Global Ocean Health Program communications director, addressing “Carbon Exports and Ocean Acidification.” Michael Rust, the Aquaculture Science Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who specializes in seaweed agronomy, will then explain how seaweeds could become a commercial crop that also sequesters carbon, reducing acidification.

Brad Warren, director of the Global Ocean Health Program and a member of the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, will conclude the morning by proposing the creation of refuges from acidification in the future by factoring in sea level rise. Warren will also lead a working lunch dialogue on participating in the marine planning process.

“Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor, and Pacific County residents may find this session especially useful and timely as those counties are in the early stages of writing their Shoreline Management Plans,” Dennehy said.

Afternoon speakers are Assistant Professor Angel White of Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science on “Marine Plastic Pollution” and a look at “The Science of Hatchery and Harvest Reform” by Andy Appleby and Steve Smith of the Pacific Northwest Hatchery Reform Project.

For the full Coastal Summit schedule, visit

All Saturday sessions are at the Pioneer Church, 100 Main St, Cathlamet, and the public is invited.


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