Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ocean acidification, sea level rise topics of workshop in Aberdeen April 8

By Sandy Howard, Environmental Assessment Program

Ocean acidification and sea level rise are the centerpieces of a free public workshop in Aberdeen on April 8.

The day-long workshop will be held at the Rotary Log Cabin Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd. It’s being presented by Global Ocean Health in collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation.

The 9 a.m. to noon session will focus on emerging research assessing potential to remediate carbon pollution and acidification with marine and coastal vegetation, while restoring estuaries and other coastal areas.

Salt marsh plants, sea grasses, kelp, and other natural and cultured vegetation will be discussed and sea level rise considered.

Various scientists presenting

Presenters Jennifer Ruesink, a University of Washington biologist, and Stephanie Smith from the Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, will speak about current research on seagrasses.

Stephen Crooks, climate change program director for Environmental Services Associates, will report on the carbon-burying potential of estuary restoration.

The morning will conclude with aquaculture consultant John Forster looking at the proven benefits and potential earnings from farming the sea while sequestering carbon.

Macroalgae culture

Macroalgae culture can yield food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other commercial products.

The 1-4 p.m. session will explore options to prepare for ocean acidification and sea level rise through local planning and policy processes such as Shoreline Management Plans and other forums.

Who should attend

Elected officials, board and commission members, agency officials, and others involved in ocean planning and policy are urged to attend. Members of the Marine Resources Advisory Council, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, and coastal Marine Resource Committees will participate.

Estuaries will expand with rising seas

“Rising seas will drive a huge expansion of estuaries,” said Brad Warren, director of Global Ocean Health, an initiative of two nonprofit groups that helps seafood producers and coastal communities adapt to changing ocean chemistry.

“If we learn to plan for it well, sea level rise might be more than just a problem—which it certainly will be—but an opportunity. Higher water will make more room for estuarine ecosystems that can sometimes chemically shelter vulnerable larvae from corrosive waters. It won’t be a smooth transition, but sea level rise may open up new areas for farming shellfish and marketable marine macroalgae. It will increase coastal habitats that support hunting and fishing, and expand the nursery grounds that support most of the world’s seafood supply. Some of these habitats also bury more carbon than a tropical rainforest.”

No registration is required for the workshop.

If you have questions, contact Eric Swenson at 206- 334-7333 or Casey Dennehy at, 360-556-6509.

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