For the first time this season, crab tests off Curry County indicate the crustacean has acceptable levels of domoic acid in its viscera.
“The soonest possible opening would be around Valentines Day,” said Port of Port Orford Commissioner Brett Webb. “Nothing would please our spouses more than not seeing us on Valentine’s Day this year.”
The most recent test indicated crab were dramatically lower than even tests a week ago. The highest domoic acid rate this week was 8.3 parts per million (ppm), compared to 36 ppm on Jan. 17. The lowest was 3.2 ppm.
Crab viscera must have domoic acid levels of no more than 30 ppm for two consecutive weeks before a season opens along the coast.
Crab will be tested again Tuesday, Jan. 30, weather and ocean conditions permitting and, if levels remain the same, the last section of Oregon Coast will open to commercial crabbing.
The season, which typically begins Dec. 1, has been repeatedly delayed due to elevated levels of domoic acid. One area between Gold Beach and the border with California has repeatedly tested over the 30 ppm cap. An additional area from Gold Beach to Cape Blanco has remained closed, too, to serve as a buffer.
The commercial season was also slightly delayed because meat percentages weren’t high enough. Crab meat in this area is at 27 percent this week, acceptable enough for harvesting.
The 8.0 earthquake off Alaska earlier this week inadvertently triggered a tsunami watch up and down the West Coast — and caught the attention of Curry County emergency services as well as numerous residents who were notified by other agencies.
The watch was canceled three hours later.
“Had we been placed under a tsunami warning — meaning an event is going to occur or is occurring — the alert systems and related emergency protocols would have been activated,” said Emergency Services Director Jeremy Dumire. “However, in this case it became apparent that the potential for a tsunami to impact Curry County was not likely.”
The “tsunami” was measured at 6 inches.
“Rather than cause the potential for mass alarm or panic, no county mass notification or warning sirens were sounded,” Dumire said.
But the systems were ready.
Most people received notifications from such systems as the U.S. Geologic Survey.
An additional, local source, Everbridge, is available for those wishing to receive all emergency notifications pertinent to Curry County. People can register for free at member.everbridge.net.
“The tsunami watch is a great reminder that we should always be prepared in case of a disaster,” Dumire said. “A distant tsunami might allow residents up to several hours to evacuate as needed.”
The system will not warn people of a local tsunami, as the only thing that will trigger that is an earthquake — and the shaking of the ground is the warning, Dumire said. That is the time for people to immediately get to the high ground.
For more information on personal emergency planning or how to build an emergency kit, contact Dumire at 541-247-3208 or www.ready.gov.
Milliman to chair transporation agency
Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman was re-elected to a third term as chair of the Southwest Area Commission on Transportation (SWACT).
Milliman, who has served on the 27-member commission for nine years, was the first Curry County resident to serve as SWACT chair when he was chosen in 2015. The commission is comprised of representatives from Curry, Coos and Douglas counties.
“It is an honor to be selected to serve in this capacity,” Milliman said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the SWACT membership, Oregon Department of Transportation staff, and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) in addressing the area’s transportation needs.”
SWACT members include representatives from city, county and tribal government, as well as “modal” representatives of transit, bicyclists, freight, airports and ports. SWACT adopts an area transportation improvement program, provides oversight of various ODOT-funded projects and makes recommendations for state highway project funding.
As chair, Milliman will conduct meetings and represent the commission with the OTC, other statewide transportation agencies and the legislature.
Milliman currently serves as an alternate member on the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority board of directors. He has managed transportation programs and projects ranging from dial-a-ride van operations to multi-million-dollar road and railway construction.