Long-time estuary manager to retire

Long-time estuary manager to retire

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- An estuary is where fresh water transitions into salt water and vice versa. Now, the manager of the South Slough Estuary is going through a transition of his own.

Mike Graybill studies and protects the estuary, and with much of our local economy depending on the estuary, he's had an important job.

But after nearly 30 years, Graybill is retiring. "If there's one thing that kept me up at night, (it) was the responsibility the public has entrusted in you to look after a piece of Oregon on their behalf," he said.

Graybill says his most recognizable contribution is the interpretive center, where visitors can learn about the estuary.

But, Graybill says it's the less recognizable things that are the most important to him, like the reserve's research of bacteria, water quality and salmon. "I hope that my work will be the first step in this long lasting legacy that will be the care and the stewardship of this place," said Graybill.

With a background in marine science, he spent most of his time on the water before managing the reserve.

Just like the very thing he protects and studies, he's transitioning back to the ocean, to become a commercial fisherman.