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Microbeads Pose Pollution Threat

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 2:05pm
Photo courtesy of The 5 Gyres Institute

DOING SOMETHING AS SIMPLE as washing your hair may raise a new threat to aquatic health. Many personal-care products have been formulated with plastic beads the size of a sand grain — known as microbeads — which add a gritty texture. Microbeads are designed to be flushed down the drain.

An analysis by a team of researchers, including Stephanie Green, a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow in the College of Science at Oregon State University, concluded that 8 billion microbeads were being washed down drains in the United States on a daily basis. “We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” says Green.

With growing awareness of this problem, a number of companies have committed to stop using microbeads in their “rinse off” personal care products. In January, Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act.

The post Microbeads Pose Pollution Threat appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Difficult Choices

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 1:51pm
Waves crawl up against the lower level of a structure in Neskowin, Oregon, during a storm in January, 2008. (Photo: Armand Thibault, Neskowin)

MANY SEASHORE DWELLERS face a tough question: How should they protect their property from rising seas and pounding waves? They can try to keep the surf at bay by building walls, or they can adjust to the slow but steady encroachment of the ocean.

Such choices are becoming particularly acute on the West Coast. For decades, winter storms have claimed roads and homes close to the water’s edge, especially those built on soft soils. As sea levels rise, accelerating erosion poses a challenge to existing as well as to new development.

In Tillamook County, homeowners and policymakers have been wrestling with this issue with assistance from faculty and students at Oregon State University. Through a program known as the Tillamook County Coastal Futures Project, they are exploring the long-term consequences of the rules that define how and where development can occur.

To prime their thinking, researchers and participants developed six scenarios — descriptions of policy options and the outcomes in the year 2100 — and showed the results with maps, charts and illustrations. Each scenario was analyzed through the lens of future population growth as well as ocean conditions that reflect potential changes in climate, El Niño and ocean waves.

The Tillamook County Coastal Futures Project posed six scenarios for responding to sea-level rise. (Illustration courtesy of Peter Ruggiero)

“We had a diverse group of people,” says Peter Ruggiero, Oregon State coastal geomorphologist. “Some people favored policies that protected infrastructure, and some favored policies that affected recreation or habitat. The scenarios emphasized the tradeoffs between them.”

One scenario called “Status Quo” assumed that beaches, homes and businesses would be maintained using existing local, county and state policies. Another known as “Laissez Faire” allowed property owners to protect their homes and businesses regardless of state law and local zoning. A third, “Realign,” assumed that development would retreat landward as seas rise. A fourth, “Neskowin,” mirrored policies adopted by that southern Tillamook County community, approved by Tillamook County Commissioners and eventually upheld by the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

Through each scenario, participants could visualize changes in things they care about such as beach access, the number and locations of structures and the extent of shorelines armored with concrete or rock walls. The estimated costs associated with each scenario were also presented.

“Our main effort was to develop an approach where the stakeholders could see the impact of each decision-making context on property and coastal resources,” says Ruggiero.

One significant finding, he adds, was a surprise. Zoning decisions made now will have dramatic effects on what coastal communities look like in 2100. In fact, the differences exceed the range of uncertainties associated with climate change.

“We found for some scenarios that the influence of different policies had more impact on the variability of these things that people care about — such as the number of houses impacted — than even the massive uncertainty associated with sea- level rise,” says Ruggiero. “It tells people that even under a 1.5-meter (5 feet) sea-level rise by the end of the century, there are still decisions that we make now that can change the coastline.”

With support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Tillamook project has entered a second phase to explore impacts on so-called ecosystem services, the benefits associated with beaches, sand dunes and other landscape features.

The post Difficult Choices appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Opens Port Orford Field Station

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:50am
Tom Calvanese, station manager for OSU’s new field station for students, divers and scientists, checks scuba tanks.

STUDENTS, DIVERS AND SCIENTISTS can explore the spectacular waters of the southern Oregon coast through a new Oregon State University field station in Port Orford. An outgrowth of efforts to support research at the nearby Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, the station provides space for experiments and classes as well as a fill station for scuba tanks.

“People have a comfortable place to stay and access to wet and dry labs and classroom and office space where they can work,” says Tom Calvanese, station manager.

The station will support the Marine Studies Initiative with facilities for education and research on marine ecology, economy and social and scientific issues, he adds. Student research projects underway or completed have focused on the impact of catch shares on the local fishing fleet, juvenile rockfish and the foraging behavior of gray whales. Since 2011, Calvanese has been studying the movement of adult rockfish in the reserve.

The station is located at 444 Jackson Street and includes a house used formerly as a bed and breakfast. Additional funding was provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Travel Oregon and the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance.

The post OSU Opens Port Orford Field Station appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

A Research Ship for the 21st Century

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:47am
Architectural design by Glosten Associates Inc.

OUR VIEW OF THE OCEANS IS EXPANDING RAPIDLY: Underwater gliders patrol the Pacific, moored buoys monitor hot spots and satellites view swirling currents from near-Earth orbit. But, says Clare Reimers, we still need ships to put people on the water, to conduct the kind of science that requires a human touch.

Reimers, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University, is the lead scientist in a National Science Foundation-funded project to design and build the next generation of coastal research vessels. “We’re getting a much better understanding of the ocean by combining direct observations and experiments with constant monitoring through satellites and other means,” she explains.

As chair of the Fleet-Improvement Committee of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (a nonprofit organization of 62 academic and national laboratories), Reimers has helped to make long-term plans for the nation’s academic research fleet. It includes four classes of global and intermediate ocean-going ships as well as regional and coastal vessels.

In 2010, the need for a new regional ship became acute during the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Demian Bailey was coordinating research ship activities for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) when he ran into a problem. “We needed data in near real time so we could tell vessels where to sample. We also needed it for our models of the oil plume trajectory and to provide the public with answers they were demanding,” he says. But the ships did not have that capability. Oceanographers had to make their best guesses on how to proceed.

Bailey is now the project manager for the Regional Class Research Vessel initiative at Oregon State. In addition to new sensors and more efficient energy systems, the new vessel will stream data in near real time to scientists anywhere. “We’re looking at these ships kind of like satellites,” he says. “We’re creating a new form of connectivity to shore. We call it ‘data presence.’ We’re going to be providing researchers a wide variety of high-quality, processed data in real time from the atmosphere through the water column down below the seafloor.”

Designers expect the new ship to use 15 to 30 percent less fuel than today’s vessels of comparable size, such as the Oceanus at Oregon State, which was built in 1975. While at sea, it will be able to stay in a single location — a capability known as dynamic positioning — through the use of computer controlled propulsion and satellite-based navigation.

The ship will also have state-of-the-art handling systems for deploying and recovering a wide range of oceanographic instruments and sampling devices, including remotely operated underwater vehicles that can tie to the vessel’s navigation system.

“We’ll always need ships,” Bailey adds. “We’ll always need people on the water. These ships will be very efficient, versatile and stable. That means they’re safer, and scientists can work longer. They can work when it’s rougher.”

Reimers, Bailey and their team of maritime engineers are working with Glosten Associates Inc., a naval architectural firm in Seattle. Over the next year, they plan to identify shipbuilding yards that could compete for constructing up to three of the new vessels. One will be located in Newport. The aim is to award a contract in 2017.

The post A Research Ship for the 21st Century appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Acidification Likely to Intensify

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:32am
Photo: Blaine Bellerud/NOAA Fisheries West Coast

WEST COAST WATERS are likely to see continued impacts from acidification, warming temperatures and low-oxygen conditions. That’s the conclusion of a report in the journal BioScience co-authored by Francis Chan in the Oregon State College of Science.

“The changes really stem from the basic impact to physiology, no voodoo involved,” says Chan. “We need to look at ocean acidification not just as one stressor, but that it’s going to be affecting organisms in the context of other things.”

Chan is co-chair and one of five OSU scientists on the West Coast Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, which advises policymakers on increasing acidity in coastal ecosystems.

The post Acidification Likely to Intensify appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Acidic Seawater Threatens Shellfish

Terra - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:30am

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, famous for its delectable fried oysters and succulent steamed clams, is one of several coastal “hot spots” where shellfish are subject to “acidification” — seawater whose chemistry is becoming corrosive because of greenhouse gases. Along with shellfish producers in New England, the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast estuaries like Chesapeake Bay, Oregon’s shellfish industry is at risk, warn OSU researchers George Waldbusser and Burke Hales. Their research has helped Northwest oyster hatcheries rebound from larval die-offs. “Ultimately, however, without curbing carbon emissions, we will eventually run out of tools,” Waldbusser says.

The post Acidic Seawater Threatens Shellfish appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Speed Friending

Environment Events - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Leadership Academy Pillar: INCLUSIVE

Talk with people from around the world and make a new friend! Have some free pizza too!

Registration is required - space is limited.
US Students: http://bit.ly/spdfrndus
Intl Students: http://bit.ly/spdfrndintl

Members who are interested need to:

  1. Sign up at the registration page here (NOT the Academy Portal).
  2. Email Dr. Scott Paja at: scott.paja@oregonstate.edu indicating that you have attended.
  3. Upon verification of your participation following the project, you will receive access to complete a brief survey reflection via the Academy Portal as required for all Academy events
  4. You will receive a credit towards completion of the Academy visible on your account in the Academy Portal.


Not a Leadership Academy member?  Submit your application today!

(All OSU engineering students in good academic standing are eligible to apply)

Weed Watcher Trainings

Forestry Events - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Worried about invasive plants and other weeds? Our FREE Weed Watcher workshops will train you to identify the species of most concern now and report them. Meet these plants up close and personal in our Speed Dating round, and take home a free weed id guide. All workshops run from 6-8pm and include a light snack. Please RSVP at www.swcd.net/workshops-education/weed-watchers/ or via Facebook.

A Cross-Disciplinary Discussion of Clean Water Access in the World Today

Health & Wellness Events - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Talk for Water is a Cross-Disciplinary Discussion of Clean Water Access in the World Today.  In conjunction with the Corvallis Sister Cities Association's "Walk for Water", Oregon State University professors and CSCA members are organizing a “Talk for Water,” which will assemble some of OSU’s water experts to discuss their research, highlighting how clean water access poses problems in both low-income countries and here in the U.S.


Molly Kile, Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, will discuss her collaborative research on the determinants and outcomes of consuming arsenic-contaminated water in Bangladesh and the U.S.

John Selker, Professor of Biological and Ecological Engineering, will explain how the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (www.TAHMO.org) he co-directs is collecting and sharing needed climate observation data in 12 countries across the African continent.

Todd Jarvis, Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher in Geography, and Associate Director of OSU’s Institute for Water and Watersheds, will address how Oregon’s experience with developing volcanic rock aquifers to the point of potential depletion might provide a cautionary tale for those interested in developing groundwater in Ethiopia.

Kenny Maes, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, will discuss how developing measures of household water insecurity can be useful in both low-income countries like Ethiopia and the U.S.
Moderated by Larry Becker, Professor of Geography and Director of OSU’s Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Program.


OSU Humanitarian Engineering Program
OSU Anthropology Program
OSU School of Language, Culture and Society
OSU Environmental Sciences Program
OSU Africa Initiative
OSU Geography Program
OSU Center for Global Health
Corvallis Sister Cities Association

This event is free and open to the public.

The Corvallis Sister Cities Association (CSCA) will hold its annual “Walk for Water” on Saturday, May 21, to support access to clean water in Corvallis’ sister city of Gondar, Ethiopia.

For more information visit Sister City Annual Walk for Water

Pasture & Grazing Management Class

Small Farms Events - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This class is for the small acreage landowner who is managing pasture for grazing animals.  Pastures under controlled grazing have less wasted forage, especially in the spring, and plants have an opportunity to rest and recover between pasture rotations, leading to increased forage production.  In this class we will cover topics such as how grass plants grow, rotational grazing systems and pasture fertility. 

Register at:  https://secure.oregonstate.edu/smallfarms-events/register/131

Please contact Chrissy Lucas at 541-766-3556 or Chrissy.Lucas@oregonstate.edu with questions.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Forestland classification process

Forestry Events - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 2:39pm
Monday, May 16, 2016 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

A formal classification project is underway to review and determine which lands in Yamhill County are considered forestland and thus are provided wildland fire protection through the Oregon Department of Forestry. To facilitate this process, the Yamhill County Commissioners authorized and appointed a Forestland Classification Committee comprised of members of the public, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon State Extension Office.                                       

The committee will examine all lands within Yamhill County, classifying lands as "forestland" or "not forestland” according to fire risk potential, vegetation type (fire fuel), community structure, and proximity to other forestland. The committee's efforts will help resolve issues pertaining to ODF’s fire suppression role on forestlands and adjacent lands, and will become the basis for assessing the lands for the costs of wildland fire protection.

Yamhill County landowners and the public are invited to come to the classification meetings to learn more about the history, process and current status of the project. The next meeting is scheduled for May 16, 2016 at 10:00 A.M. at the OSU Extension Office (2050 NE Lafayette Ave) in McMinnville.  The meeting after that is scheduled for June 6th, location is still to be determined.

Upon completion of its work, the committee will present the results of the forestland classification project, identifying forestland in the county to be assessed for fire protection by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

For more information about the project, interested persons may go online to fgdfire.com

Ettihad Cultural Festival

Environment Events - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 2:38pm
Sunday, May 15, 2016 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
The Ettihad Cultural Center is hosting the fourth annual Ettihad Culture Festival on May 15th 2016 from 5pm-8pm at the Memorial Union Quad. This is one of the biggest annual events on campus with 2500+ attendees. It’s a great opportunity for the both OSU and Corvallis community to experience the dynamic and diverse cultures of the region of Southwestern and Central Asia, as well as Northern Africa. There will be educational and interactive booths dedicated to each country within the region, as well as music, live performances, catered dinner, henna body art, and much more. For more information please contact us at ettihadcc@oregonstate.edu

Ties to the Land - Your family forest heritage

Forestry Events - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 2:33pm
Saturday, May 14, 2016 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
This interactive, DVD-based, workshop provides the tools families
with small woodlands need to decide the future of their land and landbased businesses.
Topics Included:
  • Developing a shared vision and passion for the land
  • Keeping the land in the family - maintaining generational ties
  • Pass on the land with reduced estate taxes
  • Identifying and addressing challenges facing family business

Spring 2016 Plant Identification Walks

Forestry Events - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 2:33pm
Saturday, May 14, 2016 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Knowing common native plants, as well as some key invasive species, is a critical skill for woodland owners and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Recognizing native plants and understanding some of their characteristics can provide valuable information about the site where you find them; you can also use this knowledge to choose plants that enhance wildlife on your property. Recognizing invasive plants can help you in early detection of new arrivals and avoid spreading them around.

This walk will be led by local botanist Ginny Maffitt. We will identify common trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in a riparian setting (i.e. in wet areas near rivers and streams), and you will receive a list of native plants on the refuge with some background about their uses.  Check out this article for information about the TRNWR mini-wetland that we will visit during the tour. The paths are gravel, level and ADA-friendly for wheelchairs and walkers.

Information for plant walks

Dress for the weather and bring:

·         Plenty of water;

·         A camera or your phone to take pictures of plants;

·         And your favorite plant identification guide.

We will have both Trees to Know and Shrubs to Know available for sale at the walks. If you’d like to purchase a copy, let us know when you register. Space is limited for both of these events. Please register by following this link. If you have any questions, please contact Brandy Saffell (email and phone number below).  

Community Forestry Days

Forestry Events - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 2:33pm
Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Mow what grows. May is usually the best time to capture the spring growth and stop it in its tracks before it over takes our tracks and trails.

Tour to Oak Basin Tree Farm

Forestry Events - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 2:33pm
Saturday, May 14, 2016 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Save the date!


Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 3:11pm

Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.

– Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Even after 30+ years of evaluation, I make mistakes . It may be a mistake that occurs in the planning and modeling; it may be a mistake that occurs in the implementation, monitoring, and delivery; or a mistake in data management (qualitative or quantitative); or more than likely, a mistake in the use of the findings.

Probably the biggest mistake I have ever made was making an assumption at the planning stage.

Assumptions are a form of bias that is pervasive in humon; we cannot escape the bias with which we grow up, the bias that come from the various systems we experience daily, the bias we read, see, and hear from the media. Some of those biases are so subtle that we do not know that we are being exposed to them, they just become a part of us as we go about our work, our lives. This is important to recognize. We assume that what worked will always work. We do not take into consideration the changes that have occurred–changes to systems, changes to locale, changes in you. We tend to think that what we see is all of what there is, like the ice berg when we know that the majority of the ice berg is below the water. I’ve been studying bias since the early 1980s. (I did my dissertation on personal and situational bias.) I work hard to NOT make assumptions. I fail miserably. I make assumptions without even knowing it. I wonder how much is a function of my privilege and how much is learned and did I learn it because of my privilege? I do not know. Are my assumptions always a reflection of that learning (and privilege)? Probably.

What was that mistake I made that has stuck with me? One that was based on assumptions I did not clarify? In the planning stage? I assumed that the docs who had agreed to “play” were in charge. They were not. This assumption put me (and the grant from NIDA) way behind. I learned (then at least) to clarify my assumptions. I still work on clarifying my assumptions.

my  .


The post Mistakes appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

CPHHS Research Seminar

Health & Wellness Events - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 2:37pm
Friday, May 13, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

"Epidemiology in Public Health Practice: How to Ask Interesting Questions and Get Answers through Research" Amy D. Sullivan, PhD, MPH, Communicable Disease Services Manager, Multnomah County Health Department. Amy Sullivan's career started as an HIV/AIDS outreach worker in Peace Corps Sierra Leone in the late 1980's. Since then she has worked in multiple countries, and at the federal, state, and local levels in the United States.

She has experience in research and front-line public health. Her current job within Oregon's largest Health Department provides leadership across areas that include disease investigation and response; a fully-developed TB prevention program; specialty clinical services; and immunizations school law.

She has built a flexible and responsive service group: with long term goals and response capabilities. The service group routinely applies quality assurance and improvement practices because they want to find the best ways to serve the community.

At the Departmental level, she supports public health policy work, most recently focusing on Oregon's Public Health Modernization activities

Amy Sullivan's LinkedIn Profile

Don't fail at your first job!

Environment Events - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

This is your opportunity to participate in a mentoring event about first job fails. This virtual event allows you to get and give advice through private chat-based conversations.


Weed Watcher Trainings

Forestry Events - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Worried about invasive plants and other weeds? Our FREE Weed Watcher workshops will train you to identify the species of most concern now and report them. Meet these plants up close and personal in our Speed Dating round, and take home a free weed id guide. All workshops run from 6-8pm and include a light snack. Please RSVP at www.swcd.net/workshops-education/weed-watchers/ or via Facebook.