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ODFW Statement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled eight open houses in Oregon this month to gather comments on the potential reintroduction of sea otters to the West Coast.

The open houses are designed to provide residents and organizations an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and speak with agency staff about sea otters and next steps in recovery efforts including the potential reintroduction process – should a proposal move forward.

The southern sea otter, one of three subspecies of sea otter, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As directed by Congress, the USF&WS assessed reintroduction feasibility in 2022. The assessment concluded that reintroduction was biologically feasible and may have significant benefits for a variety of species in the marine ecosystem and expedite the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter.

The assessment also concluded that additional information about how reintroduction would affect stakeholders and local communities was needed before considering the next steps. There is no active proposal to reintroduce sea otters at this time.

“As the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considers the possibility of reintroduction, we recognize that community values and issues are critical in this process,” the agency said in announcing the open houses. “Input from the public and key stakeholders, including ocean users, will be a foundational component in establishing next steps including whether or not a potential reintroduction is proposed, as well as ensuring that proposals are crafted in a way that benefits stakeholders and local communities.”

Open houses in Oregon are:

  • Astoria: 5:30-8 p.m. June 20, Astoria Elks Lodge;
  • Garibaldi: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 21, Old Mill RV Resort;
  • Newport: 5:30-8:30 p.m. June 21, Newport Recreation Center, multipurpose room;
  • Florence: June 22, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lane Community College, Florence Center;
  • Coos Bay: 5:30- 8 p.m. June 22, Southwest Oregon Community College, Empire Hall;
  • Port Orford: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 23, Port Orford Library;
  • Gold Beach: 5-8 p.m. June 23, Curry County Library;
  • Brookings: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 24, Coastal Community Center.