Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary to mark 20th anniversary at Wednesday’s Concert on the Pier in Port Angeles

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES —The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary will celebrate its 20th anniversary Wednesday by sponsoring a free party on City Pier, and everyone is invited.

The sanctuary’s mascot, Sanctuary Sam the sea lion, will greet visitors from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the Concert on the Pier, the music series organized by the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Luck of the Draw bluegrass band will perform at the pier’s stage, while sanctuary volunteers and staff present educational marine science booths and exhibits.

The exhibits will include student-built remotely-operated vehicles designed for underwater operations under and around the pier.

A 20-foot, life-size inflatable orca will be on display so that visitors can get an idea of just how big the marine mammals can be.

“A full grown orca can get bigger than that, but 20 feet is about average,” said Robert Rountree, visitor service specialist at the sanctuary’s Olympic Coast Discovery Center at The Landing mall, 115 E. Railroad Ave.

Art created from marine debris will be on display.

The marine sanctuary spans 3,310 square miles of water stretching from Cape Flattery in the north to the mouth of the Copalis River in the south and extends 25-50 miles into ocean waters from the Olympic Peninsula coastline.

The sanctuary protects thousands of marine species, including orcas, the tufted puffin, bald eagle, the northern sea otter, California gray whales, humpback whales, six species of salmon and bull kelp.

Rare cold water corals and otherworldly deepwater species have been found during explorations of the deep underwater canyons of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is located in a highly productive upwelling zone, which brings deep ocean currents carrying rich nutrients to the surface.

These begin a rich food chain that leads up to diverse marine mammal, seabird, invertebrate and fish communities.

It includes more than 150 documented historical shipwrecks, and the sanctuary staff work in conjunction with the Makah, Quinault, Hoh, and Quileute tribal nations located along its shores to preserve the cultural history of the land and sea at the coastline.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 14. 2014 6:52PM
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