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TEP receives $625,000 in funding secured by Senators Merkley and Wyden!

merkly and wyden photo 2005

Climate change monitoring for a sustainable future.

TEP is thrilled to share with you the news that the $625,000 in funding secured by Senators Merkley and Wyden for TEP has been received! The senators included the request for TEP to purchase climate change monitoring instruments and equipment in Congressional Directed Spending, which was voted into law through an appropriations bill in 2022. Through our monitoring and our work, TEP hopes to build resilient estuaries and create a sustainable future for the Natural Resources of Tillamook County. Below is a brief description of how we will be using the funds.

Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) serves rural communities on the northwest Oregon Coast through environmental stewardship, scientific inquiry, and education. Climate change is a present and escalating threat to the economic and ecological health of the region through increased river and coastal flooding, continuing ocean acidification, higher water temperatures, and increasing risks of bacterial contamination in freshwater systems. These chronic hazards threaten local industries, from dairy to shellfish hatcheries, and continue to put pressure on species of significance, like the ESA-listed Oregon Coast coho salmon. Habitat restoration projects in wetlands have the capability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the degree to which emissions reduction is occurring in restored areas is unknown.

These threats need to be monitored and understood in order to effectively combat them. TEP has a watershed-scale climate change monitoring program that addresses several key areas:

Flooding – Currently monitored with a few water level loggers and one time-lapse camera placed to visualize spillways and wetland water absorption; however, geographic coverage and regional elevation surveying capability for logger deployments are limited.

Water Quality – Multiparameter water quality measurements have been completed in lower Tillamook Bay, but data are lacking for nearby estuaries and rivers. More temperature loggers are needed to adequately capture increased temperature and valuable cold-water refugia areas. Bacteria monitoring needs to be expanded to ensure safe recreation and water supply.

Greenhouse Gas Flux – Restored tidal wetlands are sinks for CO2 but methane emissions are less constrained. An eddy covariance gas flux tower will lead to a better understanding of the benefits of tidal wetland restoration.

TEP requests $625,000 for additional water level loggers, multiparameter water quality data sondes, temperature instruments, and bacteria sampling supplies; a drone with an infrared camera for watershed temperature, flooding, and vegetation monitoring; an eddy covariance tower; and a truck to enable deployment of instrumentation in remote areas and waterways.