Marine reserves gaining ground will set aside areas that would be off limits to fishing:
House Bill 3013 calls for the establishment of two pilot projects, areas that would be declared off-limits to fishing and other impacts, at Otter Rock near Newport and at Redfish Rocks near Port Orford. The bill would shift about $1 million in funding left over from the state’s removal of the wrecked New Carissa toward the study and implementation of the projects.
Still has to go to the senate.
Another item concerns the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Operations Center, a federal agency, and its plans to move their operations from Seattle to Newport.Newport vies as site for NOAA operations There are other ports they're considering, but Newport sounds likely:
“The government is looking for the best value,” Bullock said. “Not necessarily the lowest bid.”
Port Manager Don Mann and others are optimistic they can make that case for Newport.
The port owns 5 acres of land in South Beach on which NOAA could construct new facilities to meet its needs.
“They can be out on the ocean in minutes here. At the Puget Sound location, it takes nearly all day to get out,” Mann said. “What that does is save them fuel; it’s an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.”
This is big news, for the impact it will have on Newport, and not just economically. Something that jumped out at me was this:
George Boehlert directs the Hatfield Marine Science Center, which also sits on Yaquina Bay. He said the marine operations center could tie in nicely with the federal government’s multimillion-dollar investment in an ocean observance system, which will involve laying cables and setting up stations in several sites around the country.
“Newport is already a pretty strong port in terms of the ability to work on research,” Boehlert said. “NOAA owns three of the buildings on our campus. It has a pretty big presence here already.”