OSU unveils new maps of Oregon ocean
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
OSU researchers finished mapping more than half of Oregon's nearshore sea territory, providing vital information for industries including fishing and wave energy. Click to the second image to see a sample habitat map.
Oregon State University unveiled new maps of Oregon's coastal sea floor, the result of a multi-year project funded by state and federal sources to inform efforts including planning for marine reserves, fisheries management and wave energy sites.
Chris Goldfinger, director of OSU's Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Laboratory, said the effort will inform efforts including the drafting of the Territorial Sea Plan which is underway and being closely watched by the wave energy industry.
The mapping project leveraged Oregon Department of State Lands funding of about $1.3 million that was amended by stimulus funding awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"We could see that the politics of Oregon's nearshore was way out front of the data and the actual information," Goldfinger said. "It just happened that we had a plan for mapping the sea floor laid out when the stimulus package came around."
The most immediate benefit of the mapping, which provides terrain data to replace what had been extrapolated from nautical charts, will be improved tsunami modeling. It will also help tracking fisheries.
The mapping project was a collaborative effort of NOAA, OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, David Evans and Associates and Fugro.
Oregon’s Territorial Sea extends three nautical miles from the coast and comprises about 950 square nautical miles. The new maps cover 55 percent of that area.
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