RedFish Rocks rocks

The RedFish Rocks Community Team, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting and educating the public about the marine reserve off Port Orford, recently finished its ranger season.

In that time, 10 volunteers greeted 1,807 visitors at the Battle Rock Wayfinding Point at the south end of town between July and September.

According to a press release, 76 percent of the visitors were from outside of Oregon and 10 percent were from outside of the United States — from Arizona to Tanzania. More than two-thirds had no prior knowledge of marine reserves in Oregon.

The 2019 rangers season begins in April; interested volunteers can contact Maya Holiman at maya@redfishrocks.org, or 541-332-9999.

Helping Coast Guard

Elks Lodge members are accepting gift cards to help out U.S. Coast Guard Chetco Station guardsmen who have been adversely affected by the partial federal government shutdown, now going into its fifth week.

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the branches of the U.S. military but is funded through Homeland Security, which is affected by the shutdown. The guardsmen have missed two paychecks, yet are required to work.

Elks members are asked to purchase Fred Meyer gift cards and drop them off at the lodge office or lounge for delivery to families in need.

Hot crab

A third precautionary test on crab off the South Curry County coast has revealed domoic acid rates are again overly high— but state agencies said Friday afternoon the season will open Feb. 1, with requirements to eviscerate the guts of all crab landed.

Crab must have less than 30 parts per million of the toxin domoic acid; tests conducted Jan. 14 had one site that tested 73 ppm.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture requires there to be two concurrent “clean” tests, seven days apart, before a zone can be opened for the season. The last two tests came back clean, but the agency decided to be precautious and conduct one more Monday.

Two clean tests in a row could end the evisceration order by Feb. 4.

The tests mean the zone from Gold Beach to the Oregon-California border — Zone L — remains closed, likely until early February. The zone immediately north, between Gold Beach and Cape Blanco, will remain closed as a buffer zone, but crab there have tested clean in the past month, with domoic acid levels ranging from 4.3 to 13 ppm.

However, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife also reported that domoic acid in razor clams in Gold Beach remains high.

“If sampling indicates that domoic acid persists above threshold levels in Zone L, ODFW will consult with industry regarding continuing to delay the season versus opening in early February under mandatory evisceration orders,” the agency’s report reads.

TLT talk delayed

Curry County commissioners delayed until Jan. 23 a discussion about transient lodging taxes so they can coordinate with former commissioner Sue Brown to present an informational powerpoint about the proposed tax.

Brown was on the board the last time such a tax was proposed for lodging units in unincorporated Curry County. The measure failed at the polls, and the current board believes it is critical to get “the best information” to the public before they put it on the ballot in May.

The proposed tax would charge 6 percent to people — primarily visitors — who stay in hotels, inns and other lodging facilities in unincorporated Curry County. Most of the revenue garnered from such a tax will be used for tourism promotion, as required by state law.

Most cities in Oregon, including all those in Curry County, have lodging taxes in place.

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