TILLAMOOK - An Oregon State University project to solicit local ideas about streams, fish, forests and water quality in the Tillamook area has hired a project director from Tillamook.

Susan Hills, former director of Friends of Nehalem Bay Kids Youth Center, is a new research assistant who will direct the project. The OSU project is looking at how Tillamook County residents view important environmental problems as part of an effort to help scientists conduct more meaningful investigations.

The project is a cooperative effort between researchers specializing in oceanography, biology and social sciences.

Hills will talk to local residents to solicit their views about a variety of environmental conditions, including sediment in local rivers and bays, problems from flooding, the quality of streams and stream banks, issues of water pollution, and forest management proposals. She will also look for opinions about the impacts of hatcheries, harvesting, predators and ocean conditions on salmon populations.

Residents wanting more background on the project may call Court Smith, an OSU professor of anthropology, at 541-737-3858. He researched the views of coastal residents in 1997 as part of The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. A summary of those findings is available by calling Oregon Sea Grant, headquartered at OSU, at 541-737-2716. The report (ORESU-S-97-001) is called "Oregon Coastal Salmon Restoration: Views of Coastal Residents."

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Court Smith, 541-737-3858