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Viewing category: Oregon Islands NWR
January 22, 2015
Whale Cove Protected thanks to diverse partnership
Depoe Bay OR –The land around Whale Cove on the central Oregon Coast is now a protected part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge thanks to a partnership between the property owner and federal, state, and nonprofit organizations. The 13.97-acre property in Lincoln County is two miles south of Depoe Bay, and surrounds the oldest marine reserve in Oregon where all marine life is protected. The site will be managed for its natural resource values and to protect Whale Cove’s ecology. The cove provides scenic views from nearby Rocky Creek State Park and US Highway 101.

The deal closed on December 31, 2014 thanks to support from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Federal Highway Administration, (FHWA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the nonprofit North Coast Land Conservancy, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), and property owners Bryce and Beebe Buchanan. The property was valued at $2,250,000; however, the owners donated $1,150,000 by reducing the sale price for the property, accepting $1.1 million. The Buchanans originally purchased this portion of Whale Cove to conserve it; previous to their owning it there were multiple high-density development proposals for the land. The FHWA awarded a Scenic Byways Grant for $650,000 in 2008 to purchase the property. OPRD provided $450,000 in matching funds through Bandon Biota, an Oregon business. Neal Maine with The North Coast Land Conservancy played a pivotal role in applying for the federal funding and negotiating a deal with the Buchanans. ODOT coordinated the scenic byways funding, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to take ownership of the property and manage the site in perpetuity.

"Seldom do you find an Oregon citizen like Bryce, who not only intentionally buys land for the purpose of conservation, but then has the patience and fortitude to work for more than a decade with multiple government agencies to achieve the goal of preservation," says Neal Maine with the North Coast Land Conservancy.

"We are grateful to the partnerships that have resulted in this new addition to Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.” said Rebecca Chuck, Refuge Manager for the USFWS "Refuge designation will provide an undisturbed upland buffer to the marine resources of the cove in addition to added protection for the nesting seabirds and marine mammals.

As part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Whale Cove will protect habitat for nesting seabirds including black oystercatcher, pigeon guillemot, pelagic cormorant, and western gull along with bald eagle and many species of songbirds. The cove also provides resting and pupping habitat that is used by over 100 Harbor Seals year-round. People will be able to enjoy the scenery from the nearby state park viewpoint, and by paddling in from Depoe Bay. USFWS staff and volunteers will focus on removing invasive plant species, especially English ivy, to improve the forested areas for wildlife.

Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 762 acres of coastal rocks, islands and headlands along 320 miles of the Oregon coastline. The refuge provides nesting habitat for most of Oregon’s 1.2 million nesting seabirds, and a large percentage of Oregon’s seal and sea lion population use the refuge to rest and produce their young.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 12:34 PM
January 7, 2015
Update on staircase closure at Coquille Point
Bandon, OR. - The stairs leading from the Coquille Point parking lot down to Bandon Beach were closed in October after concerns were raised about their structural stability due to geologic shifting and instability of the headland. The closure was necessary to ensure visitor safety.
Since the closure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been working to secure the expertise and funding necessary to repair or replace this popular stairway which is regularly used by local residents and visitors. The Service recently awarded a contract to a structural engineering firm to inspect the stairway and provide a report by March 15, 2015. The engineering report will detail options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement. The Service will then evaluate the options from the engineering firm and will make it a top priority to move forward with repairs or replacement.
An alternate staircase to the beach is still available at Coquille Point. Visitors can walk the short path (800 ft.) to the north end of Coquille Point and access a staircase at the end of 8th St. The Coquille Point headland and the adjacent rocks and islands are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for coastal and marine wildlife.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 1:50 PM
November 4, 2014
Coquille Point Stairs Closed
Bandon, Ore. – On Monday, November 3 the south staircase at Coquille Point will be closed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) due to public safety concerns. The staircase has suffered structural damage as a result of geologic shifting on the point. A path and second set of stairs on Coquille Point, 800 feet to the north at the end of 8th street, will remain open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach.

In early August the Service contracted with a structural engineering firm. At their direction, movement indicators were created across all joints on the stairs. These indicators were monitored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff for movement on a weekly basis. Also under the firm’s recommendation the Service hired a survey company to install survey points from the beach to the parking lot on both sides of the stairs to monitor movement of the slope. It was determined that the staircase could remain open until the end of October, unless movement of any joints in excess of 1/4" was detected, or a significant rain event was forecasted. Now that the rainy season has begun, the stairs will be closed as planned for an indefinite period of time to ensure public safety, while a more detailed structural and geotechnical investigation is conducted and a repair or replacement plan is developed.

“The Service realizes this creates an inconvenience for visitors to Coquille Point and we are sorry to have to close the popular staircase. However, the safety of our refuge visitors is a top priority, making this closure necessary.” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point. “We have begun evaluating options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement.”

These stairs have provided visitors with access to Bandon Beach and rocky intertidal areas at the base of Elephant Rock since their construction in 1998. Coquille Point is managed as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spectacular place to observe seabirds and harbor seals. The point overlooks a series of coastal rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull and Brandt's Cormorant as well as Harbor seal and rocky intertidal invertebrates. A paved trail winds over the headland and features new interpretive panels that share stories about the area's wildlife.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:20 PM
August 8, 2014
Coquille Point South Stair to Temporarily Re-open August 8
Coquille Point South Stairway to Re-open Temporarily Following Structural Engineering Report

Bandon, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re-opened the south staircase at Coquille Point today following the advice of a structural engineering firm. The stairway was closed July 23 after an inspection revealed that the stairs had suffered further structural problems as a result of geologic shifting on the point. During the two week closure, the path and second set of stairs on the north end of Coquille Point at the end of 8th street remained open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach. A thorough inspection on July 31 by a structural engineering firm hired by the USFWS has determined that the staircase can be re-opened for the remainder of the summer unless significant movement is detected.

Visible, weatherproof movement indicators will be installed across all joints on the stairs and monitored for movement on a weekly basis and after any measurable rain event. Movement of any joints more than 1/4" will require permanent closure of the stairs. The stairs must also be closed prior to any "significant" forecasted rain event. On November 1st, the stairs will be closed indefinitely until a more detailed structural and geotechnical investigation is conducted and a long term maintenance or replacement plan is developed.

“The safety of refuge visitors and employees continues to be our top priority,” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience this closure has created for visitors to Coquille Point. I can assure visitors that we will seek expertise and funding to either repair or replace the stairs so we can continue to give visitors easy access to the beach.”

Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 11:28 AM
July 23, 2014
Coquille Point stairway requires immediate closure
Bandon, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the south staircase at Coquille Point due to public safety concerns, effective immediately. After inspection and consultation with engineers, the Service has concluded the stairs have suffered structural problems as a result of geologic shifting on the point. A path and second set of stairs on the north end of Coquille Point at the end of 8th street will remain open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach.

“The safety of refuge visitors and employees is our top priority. Consequently, a determination from engineers that the stairs have additional structural concerns requires us to close them to ensure the continued safety of everyone visiting Coquille Point” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point.

The USFWS is obtaining the services of a structural engineering firm to inspect the staircase within the next week and provide the USFWS with an evaluation on whether a temporary fix is possible in order to retain safe use of the stairs through the end of October. The USFWS will also begin evaluating options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will create for visitors to Coquille Point,” said Roy Lowe. “I can assure visitors that we will seek expertise and funding to either repair or replace the stairs and once again give visitors an easy way to access the beach.”

These stairs have provided visitors with access to Bandon Beach and rocky intertidal areas at the base of Elephant Rock since their construction in 1998. Coquille Point is managed as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spectacular place to observe seabirds and harbor seals. The point overlooks a series of coastal rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull and Brandt's Cormorant as well as Harbor seal and rocky intertidal invertebrates. A paved trail winds over the headland and features new interpretive panels that share stories about the area's wildlife.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 5:38 PM
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