PERS is a non-profit organization with a wide ranging membership from academic and research institutions, federal and state agencies, and commercial and nonprofit organizations. The purpose of the society is to bring together persons actively engaged in estuarine and coastal research and management on the Pacific Coast of North America for informal discussion and exchange of ideas for educational purposes. PERS holds an annual meeting in the spring, which usually commence with a special session or symposium to focus upon issues of a topical or regional nature. PERS also publishes a newsletter 2-4 times per year. PERS recognizes that today’s students are tomorrow’s estuarine scientists and managers and so supports undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of ways..
A Brief History of PERS
PERS was formed in 1978 as an Affiliate Society of the Estuarine Research Federation (ERF) by a group of Pacific coast estuarine scientists including Bob Holton, Terry Durkin, Jay Watson, Bob McConnell, Ted Blahm, Colin Levings, Sandy Lipovsky, Si Simenstad, and Paul Rudy. Previously, Bob Holton had organized occasional meetings of estuarine scientists at OSU, out of which sprouted PERS. Bob became the first President, and Terry Durkin the first President-Elect. The first PERS meeting was held in Astoria, OR. The society met twice per year until 1983, when the frequency changed to annual meetings which has been sustained to date. .
The geographic distribution of PERS members extended from Mexico to Alaska, westward to Hawaii and Japan, and eastward to a sprinkling of Atlantic and Gulf coast states and European countries. PERS annual meetings have been held up and down the Pacific coast, from as far north as Vancouver, BC, and as far south as Monterey, CA; however most meetings have been held in Oregon and Washington. Discussions were held periodically about creating a separate estuarine society for California because members there had difficulties traveling to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Those discussions culminated in the formation of CAERS in 2002, and in PERS redefining its focus as the forum for discussion of coastal and estuarine issues for the Pacific northwest and British Columbia.
Relationship to CERF
PERS is an Affiliate Society of CERF. As its name implies, CERF is a federation of Affiliate Societies and non-affiliated individual members who meet at biennial conferences to exchange ideas and information about coastal and estuarine research and management. The President of PERS serves on the Governing Board of CERF, as do the presidents of all of the Affiliate Societies. CERF publishes the scientific journal, Coast and Estuaries, a digest of management-relevant articles from Estuaries called Coastal & Estuarine Science News, and a newsletter three times per year.