Oysters are the tiny superheroes of coastal environments. They enhance water quality, create habitat, and protect shorelines from storms and erosion. Along the Pacific Coast, native oysters are in decline, due in part to sedimentation, inadequate protection, and unsustainable harvests. Planning for a future that includes healthy native oyster populations depends on our ability to select sites for restoration that not only account for these challenges but also the impacts of a changing climate. A 2011 Collaborative Research project led by the Elkhorn Slough and San Francisco Bay Reserves helped to meet this need by developing science-based planning tools that decision-makers along the Pacific Coast can use to select local “sweet spots” for restoration in which oysters can thrive under current and future conditions.
This report describes a Situation Assessment conducted by the project team prior to holding a workshop at the Kachemak Bay Reserve to discuss the resilience of native oyster populations on the West Coast in the face of rapidly-changing ocean conditions. The Situation Assessment clarifies issues and identifies stakeholder concerns in order to recommend ways to make collaborative dialogue successful at the workshop.