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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

Celebrating Two Years of Sea Otter Savvy

gena cal poly team 400Sea Otter Savvy Program Coordinator Gena Bentall works with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students to collect data on human-caused disturbance to sea otters

On August 10, 2017, Sea Otter Savvy celebrates our 2nd birthday! In August of 2015, we embarked on a mission not only to prevent human-caused disturbance and harassment of sea otters, but foster community awareness about their impact on wildlife and enlist community help in achieving our goals. This collaborative program has truly found its strength in the combined skills, experience, innovation, and savviness of many.

Some of our highlights from the last 2 years:

Collaborators: Seabird Protection Network, California State Parks, NOAA-Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Monterey Bay Aquarium, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Sea Otter

  • We delivered kayak-adherent “Be Sea Otter Savvy” decals to most kayak rental businesses in Moss Landing, Monterey, and Morro Bay. Over 1500 decals have been distributed and applied to kayaks.
  • We worked with California State Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Monterey Bay Aquarium, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and seaotters.com to close an important sea otter haul out beach in Moss Landing Harbor to human traffic. This measure has reduced disturbance to hauled-out sea otters to virtually nil.
  • Sea Otter Savvy participated in the effort to install traffic calming measures at two locations where sea otters cross busy roads in Moss Landing. Monterey County Public Works, Local citizen scientist Ron Eby, and Moss Landing residents Jamie and Andrew Jarrad have been, and continue to be, important collaborators on this ongoing project to safeguard sea otter travel corridors.
  • ask me 3001We are so proud of our citizen science data collection team, who has recorded more than 800 hours of data on sea otter activity relative to human activities ranging from kayaks and ecotour boats to drones and kids throwing rocks at locations in Moss Landing, Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Morro Bay.  As a result of their hard work and dedication (and the powerhouse statistical modelling coming from the UC Santa Cruz laboratory of Dr. Tim Tinker) we can share that we have recorded a decreasing level of disturbance to sea otters by human activities over the last 2 years. We can’t definitively take credit for this trend but we are happy to see it and hope it continues!


di trend chart 400x279Figure showing average disturbance across all Central California study sites for program quarters: winter of 2015 (2015-1)-winter 2017 (2017-1). Red bars indicate data collected prior to launch of outreach program. The disturbance index is based on Sea Otter Savvy sampling data. Black dotted line indicates linear trend in the disturbance index across quarters.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with all of our activities, programs and events. Explore this website to learn more about sea otters and how and why we should protect them. Thanks to all our supporters and collaborators who helped make this program not only savvier, but more effective. I am looking forward to our next 2 years! Read more about the team behind Sea Otter Savvy and our collaborators and supporters on our Our Team page.

                         — Gena Bentall, Sea Otter Savvy Program Coordinator