Otter Talk – free webinar
Learn what happened to the sea otters. Can we get them back?
By Hannah Hindley
Sea otters in Sonoma? It may sound like science fiction, but archeological evidence shows that the northern coast of California was once home to thousands of sea otters who plucked prickly urchins from coastal kelp forests and roved through muddy estuaries in search of crabs and fat innkeeper worms. Over 150 years of heavy fur-hunting drove these marine mammals to the edge of extinction, and as the health of California’s kelp forests and estuaries declined alongside dwindling otter populations, ecologists came to recognize what an important role these small but voracious marine mammals play in keeping ecosystems balanced and healthy.
Now it has been more than a century since sea otters last populated the San Francisco Bay Area, but what would it look like if they returned to their historic range? Could a lost ecological balance be reset, and could sea otters provide solutions to present-day environmental concerns like climate change?
An upcoming webinar hosted by the Glen Ellen-based Marine Conservation Institute addresses these questions and more. This Sea Otter Awareness Week, join Marine Conservation Institute’s president, Dr. Lance Morgan alongside Dr. Brent Hughes from Sonoma State University and Heather Barrett from the nonprofit Sea Otter Savvy, to imagine the future of local sea otter recovery.
Register in advance for access to the free webinar, which will take place at 5 p.m. on Sept. 22, at www.tinyurl.com/otterwebinar.