CORVALLIS - A new web site called the North Coast Explorer is now available to area citizens, restoration groups, resource managers, policy makers and many others to make more informed decisions about natural resource use and management in one of Oregon's most beautiful regions.
The site, at http://www.northcoastexplorer.info, is a prototype that its creators hope can serve as a model for a statewide natural resource information system. It integrates access to natural resource data, tools, and expertise, and focuses its support efforts on the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.
The information available at this web site can help people learn about everything from the history of the North Coast to the way its fisheries are managed or the local climate, said Gail Achterman, director of the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University.
"Users can join a discussion group, read detailed stories about certain issues, or find data they might need to address a local problem," Achterman said. "We hope that this site, and many others like it, will help empower citizens with new and relevant information, and set the stage for more informed and effective decision making about natural resource issues in Oregon."
Collaborators on the web site included the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU, OSU Libraries, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the InfoGraphics Lab at the University of Oregon, the Natural Resources Information Management Program of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board provided financial support to create the web site.
The site contains diverse information and decision support tools. One "featured story" on the web site explores the Oregon Coastal Coho Assessment, a project to address the conservation and recovery of coastal coho salmon in Oregon. A different section examines the history of culvert development on coastal streams, relics of development that later became a major issue in fish passage. A click on a map can identify the location of restoration projects and urban growth boundaries. And interested users can learn about invasive species, such as the bullfrog, that threaten native ecosystems.
People with more information to contribute are encouraged to submit these resources to the North Coast Explorer on-line library. Suggestions are also welcomed about needed improvements or additions.
The Willamette Basin Explorer, a companion web site that offers natural resources information for the Willamette Basin, is available online at http://www.willametteexplorer.info