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Department of State Lands: Agency Subdivisions

The State Lands Building in Salem houses the central offices of the Department of State Lands. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

The State Lands Building in Salem houses the central offices of the Department of State Lands. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

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South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Address: PO Box 5417, Charleston 97420
Phone: 541-888-5558
Fax: 541-888-5559
Web: http://www.oregon.gov/DSL/SSNERR/Pages/index.aspx
Contact: Gary Cooper, Manager
Statutory Authority: ORS 273.554


Duties and Responsibilities: The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is a 5,000-acre protected area located on the South Slough inlet of the Coos Estuary in Charleston, near Coos Bay. Established in 1974 by the Oregon Legislature, it is a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and DSL. The mission of the South Slough Reserve is to improve the understanding and management of estuaries and coastal watersheds in the Pacific Northwest. The South Slough was the first of 28 reserves nationwide and is the only program of its kind in Oregon.


The reserve has two core areas of service delivery: education and science. Education staff provide classes and training for a wide variety of clients, including schoolchildren, science teachers, local decision-makers, and professionals involved in managing estuaries and coastal watersheds. The reserve’s interpretive center offers informative displays and a system of hiking trails for tourists and area residents. Scientists provide research data for national and regional organizations.


The reserve is guided by an eight-member, governor-appointed Management Commission, chaired by the director of DSL. Staff are located at both the reserve’s Interpretive Center and at the University of Oregon’s Institute of Marine Bio­logy in Charleston. The reserve employs 16 full-time staff, is supported by a large cadre of volunteers, and hosts numerous student researchers and interns on an annual basis. The Friends of South Slough, a membership, all-volunteer nonprofit group, assists the reserve with its educational and research activities, and obtains grants and other funding to promote and support the reserve’s programs.