Fishermen and scientists have noticed dead zones regularly appearing off the Oregon coast since 2002. The zones are areas where the water contains low or no oxygen and it causes everything in the underwater zone to die. FIELD GUIDE takes to the sea to find out how some new tools allow scientists to study the phenomenon, and how crab fisherman are pitching in to help. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, March 18 at 8:30pm as OREGON FIELD GUIDE investigates this phenomenon.

Dead Zones - There are places where the ocean is changing dramatically. Crab fishermen were noticing a drop in their catch in certain areas. And in 2002 scientists started detecting low oxygen zones were appearing year after year off the Oregon coast near Newport. A camera dropped to the ocean floor revealed a seabed covered with dead crustaceans. Equipped with some revolutionary new tools, scientists were able to explore the depths for weeks at a time and gather information on oxygen levels as never before. Is this a new phenomenon and what is the cause? 

Whychus Creek - Next, we’re off to the Sister’s area to see a creek, once badly abused, now being restored. For the last 40 years salmon and steelhead have been missing from a place called Whychus Creek. But they’re about to come back, and ecologists are getting busy with bulldozers as they prepare for their return.  

Coast Aquarium/Sea Turtles – When two injured sea turtles washed up on the Oregon coast this winter, the Oregon Coast Aquarium was called on to help. The turtles were far from their normal habitat just north of San Diego, and the cold water was slowly shutting down their metabolism. The veterinarians and the staff did everything possible to bring them around and the prognosis, so far, is good. It’s just one example of an ocean of emergencies that they see each year. FIELD GUIDE takes a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium to see just what it takes to care for thousands of animals.
Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at or watch entire programs at

In its 21st season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sunday at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

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