Robert Bailey, the president of the Elakha Alliance, gives an overview of sea otters and efforts to reintroduce them to the Oregon coast. In his talk, he describes the following:

  • How sea otters need to eat large amounts of shellfish to stay warm.
  • How sea otters tend not to migrate.
  • Their importance to coastal Native Americans.
  • How the sea otters' appetite for sea urchins keeps kelp forests from being mowed down by the spiny shellfish.
  • How fur traders decimated populations of sea otters along the northern Pacific Rim.
  • Efforts to reintroduce sea otters to British Columbia, the Olympic Peninsula and southeast Alaska.
  • A feasibility study that would examine the risks and benefits of bringing sea otters back to Oregon.
  • The Elakha Alliance's search for funding for a study to assess how reintroduced sea otters might economically affect the shellfish industry, communities, ecotourism and carbon sequestration by kelp.

Lisa Blank, the former director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, moderates the webinar, which took place on May 15, 2020. It was part of a capstone event offered by the Oregon Marine Scientist and Educator Alliance. Funders of the event were Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University and the National Science Foundation through the Regional Class Research Vessel project.

Bailey, Robert
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