The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will host 16 public open houses with communities in Northern California and Oregon this June (The Open house in Bodega Bay happens on June 27th at the Community Center from 11am-1pm) to gather input on the potential reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range. The open houses will provide communities and stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and speak with Service staff about sea otters and next steps in recovery efforts including the potential reintroduction process – should a proposal be developed. The sessions are for listening and understanding concerns — we want to hear from everybody to take the information and consider it, along with the scientific data and information, before determining next steps, if any.
The southern sea otter, one of three subspecies of sea otter, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As directed by Congress, the Service assessed reintroduction feasibility in 2022. The assessment concluded that reintroduction was biologically feasible and may have significant benefits for a variety of species in the marine ecosystem and expedite the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter. The assessment also concluded that additional information about how reintroduction would affect stakeholders and local communities was needed before considering the next steps. There is no active proposal to reintroduce sea otters at this time.
The open houses will help the Service gather further information to inform next steps. As the Service considers the possibility of reintroduction, we recognize that community values and issues are critical in this process. Input from the public and key stakeholders, including ocean users, will be a foundational component in establishing next steps including whether or not a potential reintroduction is proposed, as well as ensuring that proposals, if any are developed, are crafted in a way that benefits stakeholders and local communities.
The Service aims to be inclusive, thoughtful, and scientifically sound as we consider actions to support sea otters, local communities and ecosystem recovery, now and in the future.
An open house will be held in Bodega Bay on Tuesday, June 27th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Community Center, 2255 Highway 1, BB
The Service encourages interested stakeholders and the public to drop in any time during the open houses.
Full details and open house information are also available online at www.fws.gov/project/exploring-potential-sea-otter-reintroduction.