Hey, y’all! Photo of Alaskan sea otter by Assistant Regional Director-External Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — AK/RO/00175, Public Domain. Via Wikimedia.

Press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will host 16 public open houses with communities in Northern California and Oregon this June to gather input on the potential reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range. The open houses will provide communities and stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and speak with Service staff about sea otters and next steps in recovery efforts including the potential reintroduction process – should a proposal be developed. The sessions are for listening and understanding concerns — we want to hear from everybody to take the information and consider it, along with the scientific data and information, before determining next steps, if any.

The southern sea otter, one of three subspecies of sea otter, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As directed by Congress, the Service assessed reintroduction feasibility in 2022. The assessment concluded that reintroduction was biologically feasible and may have significant benefits for a variety of species in the marine ecosystem and expedite the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter.  The assessment also concluded that additional information about how reintroduction would affect stakeholders and local communities was needed before considering the next steps. There is no active proposal to reintroduce sea otters at this time.

The open houses will help the Service gather further information to inform next steps. As the Service considers the possibility of reintroduction, we recognize that community values and issues are critical in this process. Input from the public and key stakeholders, including ocean users, will be a foundational component in establishing next steps including whether or not a potential reintroduction is proposed, as well as ensuring that proposals, if any are developed, are crafted in a way that benefits stakeholders and local communities.

The Service aims to be inclusive, thoughtful, and scientifically sound as we consider actions to support sea otters, local communities and ecosystem recovery, now and in the future.

Open houses will be held in the following communities in Northern California. A list of locations for both southern OR and northern CA locations is also available in this community flyer.

  • Crescent City - June 24, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM, Del Norte Recreation Department, Gymnasium 1005 H St., Crescent City, CA 95531
  • Arcata - June 25, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Cal Poly Humboldt, College Creek Complex, Great Hall Community Center Building, Room 260, 1 Rossow St., Arcata, CA 95521
  • Fort Bragg - June 26, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Noyo Center for Marine Science, Discovery Center 338 N Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437
  • Bodega Bay - June 27, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM, Bodega Bay Community Center 2255 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA, 94923
  • Point Reyes Station - June 27, 5:00 PM– 7:30 PM, Point Reyes National Seashore, Bear Valley Visitor Center, Red Barn Classroom 75 Bear Valley Rd., Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
  • Sausalito - June 28, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Bay Model Visitor Center, Gallery 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
  • San Francisco - June 28, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, San Francisco County Fair Building, Auditorium 1199 9th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94122
  • Emeryville - June 29, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Emeryville Senior Center, Main Hall 4321 Salem St., Emeryville, CA 94608

The Service encourages interested stakeholders and publics to drop in any time during the open houses.

Full details and open house information are also available online at this link..