California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)

California sea lions are members of the “eared seal” family Otariidae. These pinnipeds live along the rock Pacific Ocean coastlines of western North America. They are very social animals and form groups of several hundred individuals onshore.

California sea lions are the most recognized pinniped species because they are commonly seen doing acrobatic tricks in shows at zoos and aquariums. While they are known for their intelligence and playfulness, these animals also quite athletic. In the wild, the California sea lion is faster than any other sea lion or seal topping out at speeds of 25 miles an hour. This animal is also an avid diver. When diving deep, California sea lions slow their heart rates to allow them to remain underwater for nearly ten minutes before surfacing to breathe. This ability gives them an edge in the pursuit of the fish, squid, and shellfish that make up their primary diet.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Salal is an evergreen, understory shrub found in coastal forests from British Columbia to southern California. It is identified by its shiny, dark green leaves and its purple-to-black, berry-like fruits. Lewis and Clark wrote about salal in their journals, a plant they first encountered on the Oregon Coast near Astoria in 1806. Long before these explorers discovered salal, however, Native Americans used this plant in a variety of ways, including as a medicine, food, dye and utensil. Wildlife including bears, deer, elk and beavers also enjoy salal.

Salal continues to be a good food source for humans today. The berries are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that prevent degeneration. Berries can be eaten fresh, added to smoothies, pies, jam and fruit leather. They are ripe during late summer – usually August and September. Keep an eye out for this plant next time you explore Oregon’s forests.

Agritourism Permitting Tips
Agritourism Permitting Tips

We are excited to share a new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties: Land use policy and permitting requirements.” This document provides guidance for coastal farmers considering agritourism as a way to enhance or expand their business.

The publication summarizes the agritourism land use policy and permitting requirements for farm use, farm stands, home occupation, agritourism events and wineries, and provides contact information for Oregon coastal county planning departments, as well as online resources for additional information.

You may download a free PDF of the four-page publication here.