Interview with Tara DuBois
TYG: What kind of work do you do for Cape Perpetua?
Tara: I am the Communications Coordinator for the Cape Perpetua Collaborative. The Collaborative includes federal agencies, state agencies, as well as non-profit agencies. They’re all doing research within the marine reserve, and the marine protected areas. My job is to kind of communicate that and let everybody know what’s taking place.
TYG-Graphic Design: So you’re an inter-agency coordinator?
Tara: Yes. [...] I’m housed out of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center two days a week, and I can also do work anywhere where I have computer access for the office-type stuff. But I get to do a whole variety of stuff. I get to work with the City of Yachats. They are actually funding this position from August through December [of this year]. I get to work with Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife; they’re the ones that oversee the Marine Reserves. They’ve been a huge learning tool for me. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Surfrider Foundation, Audubon, U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy—I’m sure I’m missing some.
TYG: So, a bit of a side question, but this has been bugging me for a while: I don’t know what Audubon is.
Tara: Oh, they do bird conservation. Their focus is around avian [concerns].
TYG-GD: Can we clarify what the Perpetua Marine Reserve is?
Tara: Yes! The [Cape Perpetua] Marine Reserve—and I can send you home with some things—actually goes from, at the north end of Yachats, a Marine Protected Area. A Marine Protected Area means no ocean development, and you can take some catch. Now what you can take depends on the marine protected area, so you just have to check the regulations ahead of time. So the protected area is from the north end of Yachats to Devil’s Churn, then the Marine Reserve starts at Devil’s Churn, and goes all the way to 10 Mile Creek. In that area, there’s no ocean development, and no take of any life. You can recreate still: we want people to come in and enjoy it and have fun: you can scuba dive, kayak—you just can’t take any living things. From Ten Mile [south], there’s another protected area—from Ten Mile all the way to just past the Sea Lion Caves. There’s also an important bird area there as well. Because that’s where we get a lot of nesting sea birds that there’s research done on. Then there’s the sanctuary, the Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary, which is managed by Paul Engelmeyer. He works with Audubon. It’s a fantastic area, a lot of conservation work. Basically, the reason they’ve got these marine reserves is to do research so they know how to best manage them. We have a great, diverse group of animals in our coastal waters here. And conservation. So to let them prosper and to grow big and abundant and keep it bio-diverse, then eventually that spills over into the non-marine reserve areas.
TYG-GD: So does the marine reserve include any land, or is it entirely where the water ends?
Tara: No, where the water ends. Now the tide pool area might be in the middle, but here you have where the reserve is in the water, but the state parks own the land part of it a lot, and then the Forest Service comes in on some of it. So it really depends on the pocket area that you’re talking about as far as who’s involved in that. But it’s the water, like an under-water park.
TYG-GD: I thought that this year in particular, there was a great, big dead spot right around here off the coast. How does this figure into the Marine Reserve?
TYG: And what does that mean, “a dead spot”?
Tara: I don’t know so many details about it, and I’m not sure this is fully accurate, but the ocean acidification and the temperatures of the water have an effect on these specific zones, in particular this zone here.
TYG-GD: So was the Marine Reserve itself impacted by that?
Tara: I don’t think it was impacted, because you’re going to see different pockets of that that are going to happen anyway. They’re probably researching that. I don’t know if they even know what the impacts are, long-term, yet.
TYG-GD: How far out does the Marine Reserve go?
Tara: Three nautical miles into the ocean. The reserve for Cape Perpetua is the biggest one in Oregon, fourteen square miles, and then an additional fourteen square miles of protected area on either side. So about 42 square miles total. The smallest marine reserve is Otter Rock; I think that’s under two square miles. There are five total in Oregon now.
TYG: That’s tiny! It’s amazing that you can get rights out three nautical miles, and all this land. Wow.
Tara: Yep! And there are GPS coordinates, so all the fisherman and everybody kind of knows where they can go and where they can’t.
TYG: I guess that’s why you never see the fishing boats close to shore—I always wondered about that.
Tara: They can be in the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve on the water, even if they’ve got fish on their boat. But they can’t be catching anything. If they have a hook in the water and they bring it up if it’s in the Marine Reserve area and there’s a fish on it, they need to put the fish back.
TYG-GD: So people fishing at the mouth of the river are okay?
Tara: From what I understand, there is some take that is allowable on the edge. And you can cast a line as an angler in the northern section. Certain types are allowed—I think it’s salmon, and some crabbing.
TYG: Salmon! That’s amazing! What amazes me as well is how anyone could possible fish in some of those places. There are some places where it’s just a big, flat, sand area. But there are other places—and this is where I see most people fish—where you’re standing 20 feet above the water on igneous rocks, and there are massive waves crashing in. How are any fish going to survive, let alone bite? But somehow they still get catch!
Tara: I know! One of my most awesome sights that I saw though—I was with a group and we were doing a little hike down to the tide pools at Perpetua, and we saw four river otters playing in the tide pools! It was like you said—right at the edge, and the water’s rushing in, and you’re like “What are they doing!” and it’s just crashing over them. But they kept going in the little pools along the rocks. That was so cool. Those are some of my favorite: those surprise moments. [...]
TYG-GD: So tell us more about your job under the water! None of the Marine Reserve is on land...
Tara: So what I do is educate people about the reserves. I do roving interpretation at the Visitor’s Center, where I’ll hit spots along the coastline here, and I will just talk with folks that are coming by, whether it be at the top, or down by Spouting Horn. I just inform them about it. Also, with ODFW [Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife], we’re doing an intercept survey, we’ve just started that. ODFW are the ones doing the research in the water. In the Cape Perpetua area, they’ll do hook-and-line research, and ROV [remotely-operated vehicle] research. It’s too deep to do scuba diving. There’s another one where they kind of mount a camera.
TYG: Like little bots. [...] They’re usually cubical, roughly. Maybe a little rectangular.
Tara: With a remote control tether to it.
TYG: Sometimes they’re wired, sometimes they’re wireless. For caves, for example, wire just isn’t going to do a thing. They’re not powerful little things—they’re slow. They have one dinky propeller on each side—actually, they may have two on the back. We’re not talking about some speedboat here. Usually they’ve got cameras; usually they have one or two fish nets. The ones I’m most familiar with are the deep sea ones; they have little sample cylinders.
Tara: I’m not sure what ROV they use, or how they use it—and I don’t know that they collect any samples with it.
TYG-GD: The hook-and-line probably catches samples.
Tara: They do: they weigh them, they measure them; they take every bit of data they can possibly take on the fish, and then they put it back—it’s catch and release.
TYG-GD: Do they tag them?
Tara: I don’t know!
TYG-GD: Maybe they’re not big enough.
Tara: [...] What they’ll do is a hook-and-line within the reserve, then they’ll have a comparable spot outside the marine reserve, then they can compare that data. So they want to see how the marine reserve, over time, is flourishing (or not), and how that impacts the communities. Especially along our coastline—we have many fishing communities, so we don’t want to have negative impact.
TYG-GD: Although, there’s no port within the marine reserve.
Tara: No, the closest port would be Newport, north, and Florence, south. Redfish Rocks is the most southern marine reserve, which is in the Port Orford area, I believe.
TYG: So south of Coos Bay by a little bit.
Tara: Yes. And then Cascade Head is the most northern one, up by Cannon Beach [between Lincoln City and Neskowin].
TYG: So this is the prize reservation. [laughter] Because it’s the biggest, and it has lots of diversity. I’ve lived here for ten years, and it never ceases to amaze me.
Tara: They’re fairly new, too. In 2012 is when they designated them, and started actually doing research within the marine reserves. And in 2023 is when they’ll come together and do a review of all of that. They’ll look at the data; they’ll look at the research.
TYG: So roughly a ten-year program.
Tara: And even then, it’s not long enough. But they can take a look and see what they’ve gotten. They can take that, and make better decisions on how to manage.
TYG-GD: So what is your position exactly? It seems like you do a little bit of everything...
Tara: Yes! I do outreach to the public, coordinating of events. We have a volunteer appreciation event in September of every year. We invite all the volunteers who work as part of these research projects, all up and down, working within the Cape Perpetua area, and we celebrate them and all the great work. And then we have the Land-Sea Symposium, which we just had a couple of weeks ago. So I help organize that. We have a lot of state agencies and organizations there that are presenting their work at a table. They come with table displays. We line up some speakers: this year we had Bill Pearcy, who spoke about Heceta Bank. But I do a variety of things: I coordinate events, I do a lot of communicating just by e-mail with everybody about what’s going on in the area. Now this is a slower period—the research projects are done now for the most part.
TYG-GD: For the ten year period, or just for the year?
Tara: No, no, it’s more seasonal-based. There’s more going on in the summer than during the winter, like the seabird monitoring project that looks at nesting cormorants; there’s the black oyster catcher monitoring.
TYG-GD: So when I was looking up your name last night, I saw a lot of DuBois people associated with bird counts. [laughter] So is your whole family into this?
Tara: You did? Oh my gosh, that’s funny... Yes, actually, I bring my daughters along. They’re eighteen and sixteen, and I’ve been doing that cormorant-nesting project with them since we moved to the coast. We’ve been here four and a half years now. And the same with the black oyster catcher project. That’s where you try to find the nests, and then you monitor them. I’m really into just getting out there at the local level and doing as much as I can for my work and I just have strong beliefs about just getting out and doing what you can locally. With Coast Watch and Oregon Shores, they have a variety of projects, like where you can adopt a mile of beach; we’re very active in that. Beached birds—I mean, this is just a variety of things that volunteers are doing in this area.
TYG: I presume that the Adopt-A-Beach thing is for a neighborhood, not just one person.
Tara: No, you can it as a person, you can do it as a family, you can do it as an organization... whatever you want to do.
TYG: Just the idea of taking on a mile of beach!
Tara: So, you just kind of walk it, you know, and you just kind of pick up trash, and then submit if you found anything fascinating. There are beached birds, where you look for birds that are no longer alive and you try to identify them. Sea star monitoring: they’ll go out at major low tides here at Yachats State Park. We just did one in September—the last one of the year, because of the way the tides are—and we surveyed over four hundred little sea stars.
TYG-GD: [gasps] Really!
TYG: Nice! That’s good to see that they’ve come back!
Tara: Yes! They have a specific area that they survey every time they go out there, and it was such a pleasure to be with them on that last one. There were a lot of the little ones! You can’t even see them until you’re right up on top of them. From a distance I wouldn’t have noticed them, but we were really out there—they monitor them when the tide is really low. So what they monitor is oftentimes under water. And that’s where the sea stars hang out.
TYG-GD: So how does Audubon fit into this?
Tara: Audubon finds grants for these research projects for the bird monitoring along the coast. Then there’s the bird sanctuary at Ten Mile. That’s where the Land-Sea connection comes into play. You’ve got the coastal forest here that’s adjacent to the marine reserve, and then you have animals, such as the marbled murrelet—this is a bird that lives on the ocean, but during nesting season they will nest up to 30-so miles inland, up in these really high old-growth trees. Some of the marbled murrelets have been observed nesting in the Ten Mile Sanctuary. Audubon have come in and purchased that land. They’re doing forest restoration there, restoring streams for the salmon to have more habitat for spawning spots, when they’re coming back up the stream. Audubon is really involved along the coast. They do a lot of research and monitoring around birds and habitat. The Surfrider Foundation is another non-profit, and they do a lot of water quality testing all along up and down the coast. I’m connecting with somebody in a couple of weeks [from Surfrider] to get more information on the testing they do at Ten Mile and Cape Perpetua. Audubon, Surfrider, and Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership are who host the events such as Land-Sea Symposium and the Volunteer Appreciation. They finance the events and help them happen.
TYG-GD: Is that where your funding comes from? You mentioned the City of Yachats...
Tara: Right now I’m [funded] through a grant from
the City of Yachats. After December, they’ve just found out they got a grant through the Oregon Community Foundation, and that will continue [the position] into next year.
Tara: Yes! My position, as well as Paul Engelmeyer’s—the manager of the bird sanctuary I was telling you about. He also does a lot of work with watersheds. Fantastic wealth of information.
TYG: Watershed stuff is really interesting.
Tara: Yes, it is! Oh my gosh, every time I get together and chatting with him, I just... wow! [laughs]
TYG: The physics of it are really interesting as well—the physics of the water routing.
Tara: Yes! And you really don’t think about the small things, like the tree that’s fallen over and is laying in the stream. That is just where it’s supposed to be! Because it creates habitat for something. Or like when you’re restoring the forest, you shave down a tree and you’re left with the trunk. It’s called a stand, and what that does is that it opens up to bring light in to the forest, so the growth happens at the bottom.
TYG: Which is what would happen in nature anyway.
Tara: Yes, exactly. So they’re working on doing those things within that bird sanctuary. [...] The main thing that I consider myself to do is really just educate people about the marine reserve, and just share with them about it. A lot of people don’t even know they’re here!
TYG-GD: In terms of visitors who don’t know?
Tara: Visitors and locals! Really just kind of letting everybody know what’s going on in the marine reserves.
TYG-GD: So the whales, when they go back and forth, do they go through the reserves, or are they further out?
Tara: You’ll see them further out when they’re migrating north and south, but they will come in closer during July through October. There are 200 to 250 whales that stick along the Oregon Coast, and they feed during the summertime. There are times when there are one or two that will come in closer, like near Spouting Horn. Or if you’re up at the top of the Cape lookout, and you look down; from that vantage-point you can really see the outline of the body—that’s really cool. It just depends—it’s not a regular spot.
TYG-GD: How come this particular area around Cape Perpetua was chosen for a marine reserve?
Tara: All of the marine reserves were chosen by community groups that came together. They were looking for diverse areas with a lot of bio-diversity, and significant. They were named after the nearest geological feature.
TYG-GD: I wonder if the lack of ports had anything to do with it.
TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!
Tara: You’re welcome! I really appreciate connecting with you!
Interview with Laren Leland
Laren Leland, who goes by Leland, is a native bee conservationist and a former OSU master gardener. This is the continuation of her interview started in Issue 74. Her first radio show is scheduled on KYAQ 91.7 FM on December 15th at 12:30 PM.
TYG: How did you learn your real estate skills?
Leland: Anybody who wants to become a broker can go to school to learn. I did an online program. It’s not even very long, but you learn so much about the law. You know, I have a background in fine art—I did a Master’s degree in inter-media art, and I was a graphic designer for years in San Francisco. So my background was completely not like [real estate] at all. But [...] I thought I needed to get myself an education, so that’s why I went into real estate. Even though the real estate market goes up and down a lot, actually, people are always going to need a place to live, and land is always going to be valuable.
TYG-Graphic Design: So, you spoke of fine art and other things—how do you incorporate that into your bee-keeping?
Leland: Well, I haven’t really made what I would call, quote, unquote, fine art for years. I haven’t been as interested. I went to San Francisco when I was 25, right after graduate school, and I thought that I was going to jump into the art world, and I actually did. My first job there was managing the studio of a pretty famous artist, whose name I won’t mention. But it wasn’t a great experience. It made me decide that I didn’t want to be part of that world as much as I thought I did. I did then become a self-taught graphic designer, and I got a full-time job working in the adult entertainment industry as a graphic designer, which was a very interesting experience. [laughs] I won’t go into detail on it, but I thought I’d mention it, just because it was a big part of my life, and it was really interesting. And then when I came to Portland, I thought I was going to start my own graphic design business, but then I became a real estate broker instead. How does fine art fit into that? I actually end up doing a lot of artwork for volunteer stuff. So for the Portland Urban Beekeepers I designed their Tour de Hives poster for three years in a row, which was fun. And I’ve done a line of greeting cards, and just little projects. I build my own website for my real estate stuff, and I design all of my own marketing for real estate and for this farm. So it pops up in those kinds of ways. I’m actually kind of interested in making fine art again, now, and I’ve kind of been starting to dabble again.
TYG: Interesting! Going back to the farm, what kind of stuff do you grow here?
Leland: We have ten acres of pasture, but we’re vegetarian. Well, we eat fish, but we’re not into big animals, so we’re probably never going to have big animals here. So my dream for the ten acres, actually, is to turn it into a bio-diverse meadow for pollinators. But that’s quite an undertaking, and we’ll probably need to write a grant to do that.
TYG: What do you mean by that?
Leland: To ask ...
TYG: Oh, to ask for help, okay.
Leland: Yes! It’s a really good environmental project, for the world, and I think we could get help with funding for that.
TYG-GD: Why would you need an actual grant?
Leland: In order to turn something as large as ten acres into meadow, it’s a process of years of trying to get rid of the tall fescue, which is very aggressive. Tall fescue is a grass that cattle eat, and it grows really tall, three or four feet tall. So in order to get that replaced with the type of plants which we want, which are native meadow species, maybe some European meadow species as well—they can’t compete while there’s that much grass. So the process is cutting it down, laying down seed, in succession over years. And that amount of seed is really expensive. And this is because we wouldn’t want to do it with herbicide. If you just sprayed the whole thing, you could probably do it in one season.
TYG-GD: Or if you bulldozed it?
Leland: We might use some controls like that, like with our tractor, pulling some of the grass out.
TYG: It’s pretty disruptive to what’s already there.
Leland: Yes, and we want to maintain the soil fertility. Actually, we want to decrease the fertility and stop putting lime on it. It’s a whole process, and I need to learn more about it.
TYG: And then what would the elk do?
Leland: Our neighbors tease us that we’re raising elk. [laughter] If we are successful in growing native plants, it will be improved habitat for the elk! [...] We do have our two little chickens out there, and we’ll be adding more to our flock next spring.
TYG: For the eggs, I’m presuming?
Leland: Yes. And because we just love them.
TYG: So do you have any fruit trees on the farm?
Leland: We do, actually. There were some really old apple trees over there, but the first thing we did when we got the land was to add two plum trees, a crab-apple, quince... there was a list of things we added, because of course the trees take the longest to grow and get established.
TYG-GD: Why quince?
Leland: It’s just a beautiful flower, and also the fruit is really nice in applesauce.
TYG-GD: In applesauce?
Leland: It adds a different dimension.
TYG-GD: [laughs] Huh. We had a quince tree when I was growing up, and I remember biting into those suckers, and Oh, my goodness!
Leland: There are only one or two varieties really that you can eat raw.
TYG-GD: At the place where I grew up longest, in Switzerland, there were about 50 varieties of trees, with tons of fruit trees planted in the front. It was really amazing. Plus, they had two redwoods and an incredible variety of different trees. But, as it so happens, I’m allergic to raw fruits and vegetables for the most part, which was really distressing being a vegetarian. [laughs] But especially hard-stoned fruit. So all the peaches, and cherries, and apples, and all those.
Leland: But you can eat them cooked?
TYG-GD: I can eat them cooked.
Leland: Nothing wrong with pie... [laughter]
TYG-GD: But anyway, I remember harvest time coming around, and oh my gosh, that was a lot of fruit.
Leland: The trees we planted don’t really have much fruit yet, but we’re already kind of overwhelmed with this black walnut situation. [laughter]
Leland: There’s a black walnut tree out here—it’s a huge tree. It was probably planted at the same time that the house was built.
TYG-GD: [looking at the overflowing pails littering the kitchen] So you bring them inside?
Leland: We do, and then you take off the husk, and the walnut itself is what you dehydrate, and then you can crack those open. This kind of walnut is native to the United States.
TYG-GD: So are you going to use the hulls for dyeing?
Leland: We might! I have used black walnut ink in the past, and that’s pretty cool.
TYG: You know what would be beautiful: black walnut stained ash wood. Or rather, alder wood.
Leland: It’s very strong. I was using latex gloves, but I didn’t realize it had a hole in it. These two fingers were almost entirely black. It’s probably going to be on my nail until it grows out. But we had pumpkins this year; I just made my first pie out of a pumpkin that I grew myself. And tons of squash. We did Hugelkultur beds, which is a permaculture technique. You bury wood, like alder is very good, or almost any deciduous tree—conifers aren’t as good. Then you cover the wood with soil, and plant into that. The idea is that the wood retains water, so the roots go down and can find that water and you don’t have to irrigate as much. And then we have another permaculture project happening on the other side, which is going to be a large, perennial bed for pollinators, but we’re just starting it. So we did a long row of lavender, and around that we did cardboard, and then compost on top of the cardboard, so that over the winter the grass underneath will die. Then we can plant into it more in the spring.
TYG: I feel like cardboard is pretty good and eco-friendly, honestly.
Leland: It has glue in it, so I wouldn’t want to use it around vegetables, necessarily. But it’s better than some other options.
TYG: But it can be a good, basic soil fertilizer.
Leland: Yes. And it will kill the grass naturally, so again, we’re not going to be using herbicides.
TYG-GD: So why use cardboard instead of newspaper?
Leland: Because that’s what we had. [laughs]
TYG: Did you have anything you wanted to add?
Leland: Can we talk about the pollinator corridor a little bit?
TYG: Of course! I’ve never heard of the pollinator corridor! What is that?
Leland: So, when I first got here I met a woman named Maxine Centala, through Cedar, and she’s been working for ten years with Concerned Citizens for Clean Air to keep herbicide off of 25 miles of the Highway 101 corridor, from Yachats to Newport. But ODOT was kind of getting tired of it; they were calling it a pilot program and they kind of wanted to shut it down. So Concerned Citizens for Clean Air had the idea to turn it into a pollinator corridor instead, because they thought maybe ODOT would be interested in that, and it worked. So she recruited me to help, and Concerned Citizens for Clean Air is kind of turning over into a new group called the Pollinator Restoration Project of the Central Oregon Coast. We’re going to be looking for people to help. Basically anyone with any skills that they want to contribute, and it could be anything from grant writing to marketing to pulling weeds on the side of the road. We do have crews that do the power tools, and a lot of the maintenance, but we will need some help with invasive weeds. Eventually we’ll be planting native plants, and it could be a really fun project.
TYG: You should contact the Trails Sub-committee!
Leland: We will, yes.
TYG: Because they’re great. I’ve done some work for them in the past, and they’re amazing.
TYG-GD: So, are they going to be focusing on replanting, or encouraging what’s there, or both?
Leland: Definitely encouraging what’s there—even if it’s not native, as long as it’s good for pollinators and non-invasive. Also, getting rid of things that are invasive, and planting things that are native.
TYG-GD: Such as?
Leland: Oh, there are so many great pollinator plants... Nootka rose, camas, ocean spray, goldenrod, pearly everlasting, early blue violet, bleeding heart, and the list goes on...
TYG-GD: Is there a deadline for any of this?
Leland: There’s a lot of bureaucracy because Lincoln County is also kind of overseeing the project. It’s going to be a relatively large project. But they’re hoping to plant in the fall of 2018. And we’re hoping to have them mow earlier in the year, and later in the year, so that the plants don’t get destroyed along the highway.
TYG: Great idea! Thank you so much!