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Sea otter raft in Elkhorn Slough
Sea otter raft in Elkhorn Slough

Your donations directly support our grant award recipients (see below).  The Sea Otter Foundation & Trust began in late 2013 after learning that a dedicated fund was needed to support the sea otter industry. One of our most important milestones is that we evaluated and issued our first grants within a year after receiving our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in the spring of 2014. Since then, we have contributed over $175k to more than 45 grant award recipients dedicated to helping sea otters.

Please consider donating today. Be part of our efforts to ensure sea otters survive and thrive.


Donate the old-fashioned way:
Sea Otter Foundation & Trust
P.O. Box 351946
Westminster, CO 80035


Our funding grants are issued annually to advance sea otter research, conservation and education.

2022-2024 Grant award recipients (read more about the 2024 projects and the 2023 projects):

  • Seattle Aquarium (2024) – the aquarium has embarked on a multi-year study investigating the resilience of Washington’s nearshore marine ecosystems and whether sea otters help stabilize those ecosystems. You may recall that our funding supported this study from its inception and we purchased a ROV (now known to Seattle Aquarium staff as Nereo) to kickstart the investigations. For 2024, funding has been awarded for the purchase of a drone to enhance aerial surveys and research especially in difficult-to-access areas along the Washington coast.
  • Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (2024) – With our funding support, Dr. Risa Pesapane has been studying the effects of nasal pulmonary mites on sea otters for many years and has characterized the specific species infesting sea otters; determined that a history of captive care and proximity to harbor seals increase infestation; and has demonstrated that the infecting mites can survive for long periods and withstand disinfection practices. 2024 funding will allow Pesapane and graduate students to understand the impact nasal pulmonary mites have on individual sea otter immunity.
  • Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium (2024) – Funding in 2024 allows the zoo and aquarium to further enhance the sea otter surroundings by purchasing large-scale enrichment toys and supplies, necessary medical and veterinary training supplies and materials to build various storage units and cabinets.
  • Elkhorn Slough Foundation – Reserve Otter Monitoring Program (ROMP) (2022): Grant funded the purchase of iPads to streamline data collection for sea otter monitoring in Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Kansas City Zoo (2023): Kansas City Zoo opened a new state-of-the-art aquarium that features sea otters. Grant funded transportation crates and the necessary equipment to care for the new sea otters coming to the facility.
  • Oregon State University (2022): Funding supported the work of Master’s student Laura Geissinger’s investigations of sea otter foraging behavior along Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.  Geissinger examined whether razor clams are part of the sea otter diet in that locale.
  • Seattle Aquarium (2022): Research award supported the study by Dr. Zachary Randell to understand the role sea otter presence has on the resilience of Washington’s coastal ecosystems.  Funding purchased a BlueROV2 (2021) and the 2022 funding supported the continuation of research. Randell’s team has conducted a myriad of dives with the ROV and has obtained substantial imagery of the benthos.
  • University of California Santa Cruz (2023): Funding supported a multi-year study regarding sea otter habitat use, stressors, and social structures in an estuarine population (specifically Elkhorn Slough). One of the main objectives of the first year of this study is to obtain information that will inform sea otter reintroduction planning.
  • University of Alaska: Fairbanks (2023): Funding supported two research projects:
        • Ph.D. candidate Carter Johnson investigated the interactions between sea otters and Dungeness crab in southeast Alaska.
        • Brenda Konar and Master’s student Emily Reynolds examined sea otter use of oyster farms in Kachemak Bay Alaska

Past grant awardees:

Alaska SeaLife Center, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA’s Team OCEAN, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon Wild, Oregon Zoo Foundation, SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation & Research, Seattle Aquarium, Graduate students from Sonoma State University, Stanford University, University of California Davis & University of California Santa Cruz.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible as allowed by law. EIN: 46-4183357.