MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 3: California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program and Commercial & CPFV Fisheries 

In the 5th and 6th “Ask the Researcher” MPA monitoring series webinars held in July, we discussed the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) and Human Dimensions: Commercial & Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) Fishing. To learn more about this exciting summer series, and the previous webinars, check out: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems and Part 2: Ocean Observing Systems and Sandy Beach Ecosystems. 

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AllWet💦: DDT – A Never Ending Story

AllWet💦 is an article series by Mark Gold, D.Env., OPC’s Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency

All Wet: An article Series by Mark Gold

DDT – A Never Ending Story

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking Silent Spring exposed the devastating environmental harm caused by synthetic pesticides including DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). In the book, she wrote, ”How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” The book helped catalyze the environmental movement of the 1960s and led to the eventual DDT application ban in the United States in 1972. I was born a year after Silent Spring was published and nine years before the DDT ban, yet here we are a full half-century after the ban with DDT still causing ecological harm and posing public health risks to exposed populations.

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An Underwater Snapshot of Kelp Health in Monterey

By Michael Esgro

It was 2013 in Monterey when I learned to scuba dive – one year before a record-breaking marine heatwave arrived off the California coast, bringing with it a “perfect storm” of changing ocean conditions that severely impacted kelp ecosystems across the state. As the heatwave persisted through 2016, much of the kelp off the Monterey Peninsula gradually disappeared. However, the story in Monterey is more nuanced in contrast to the region-wide devastation observed off of California’s north coast where over 95% of bull kelp has been lost in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties –  Monterey’s kelp has continued to persist in some places despite harsh conditions.

The CDFW’s lead on kelp management, Dr. Kristen Elsmore, conducting kelp surveys. Photo: Ralph Pace

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2022 MPA and Climate Solicitation Updates

We are pleased to announce a new solicitation for grant proposals for projects benefitting California’s ocean and coast, made possible with funding from Proposition 68, Chapter 9. This is the first competitive call for Chapter 9 funds. The priority issue area for this round of Proposition 68 funding is the nexus between marine protected areas and climate resiliency for species, habitats, and people.

The Letters of Intent Form is due on July 29, 2022 by 5:00 p.m.

An informational webinar for prospective applicants was held on July 7, 2022. The webinar recording and webinar slides (PDF) are available. Also, an office hour/Q&A session was held on July 14, 2022. All questions asked at these sessions are now available in this Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) document.

Visit the Prop 68 webpage for complete details.

MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 2: Ocean Observing Systems and Sandy Beach Ecosystems 

June marked the second set of OPC’s “Ask the Researcher” MPA monitoring webinar series! In the 3rd and 4th webinars, we discussed Ocean Conditions Observing Systems and Sandy Beaches and Surf Zone Ecosystems. To learn more about this exciting summer series, and the first two webinars, check out: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems. 

Ocean Conditions Observing Systems 

The second webinar in the series began with a discussion on integrated ocean observing systems (PDF) with Dr. Henry Ruhl from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Dr. Ruhl started by introducing the California Integrated Ocean Observing System (CA IOOS), a regional partnership between the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS). Using satellite data and other ocean observing technologies, the teams developed data products intended to help resource managers and members of the public better understand relationships between environmental factors and MPA performance. 

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AllWet💦: A Reckoning for Plastic Pollution

AllWet💦 is an article series by Mark Gold, D.Env., OPC’s Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency

All Wet: An article Series by Mark Gold

A Reckoning for Plastic Pollution 

By now, everyone in the nation, if not globally has heard about California’s groundbreaking new circular economy and plastic pollution reduction law: SB 54. Senator Ben Allen, an OPC council member, authored the bill and received tremendous support from the Newsom administration, leadership in the legislature, the environmental community, manufacturers, and waste managers: an extraordinary and unprecedented coalition. Governor Newsom, always ready to seize the day, put California into the global environmental limelight with a stroke of a pen on the same day as the Supreme Court condemned millions of people to devastating public health threats through a court ruling that prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction action on power plants. California’s move to an extended producer responsibility and circular economy approach to plastic pollution reduction builds on the state’s marine debris leadership through plastic bag bans, the ocean litter prevention strategy (PDF) developed by OPC and NOAA, and the world’s first comprehensive microplastics strategy (PDF).

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AllWet💦: A Great Day for OA (Ocean Acidification)

AllWet💦 is an article series by Mark Gold, D.Env., OPC’s Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency

All Wet: An article Series by Mark Gold

A Great Day for OA (Ocean Acidification)

Wednesday morning at the UN Ocean Conference started with a session entitled, “Interactive Dialogue: Minimizing and Addressing Ocean Acidification, Deoxygenation and Ocean Warming”. Not exactly a title that inspires confidence that major action was on the agenda (I am skeptical when the word “addressing” is part of an action agenda!). I couldn’t have been more wrong. The chair of the session was John Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate, and as part of a rousing speech on the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the good of the oceans, his first announcement was that the United States was joining the Ocean Acidification Alliance. Kerry emphasized that the 1.5-degree Celsius target was slipping from our grasp with every incremental increase over that target costing humanity trillions of dollars. Also, he highlighted the ongoing impacts of ocean acidification (OA), hypoxia, and marine heat waves on kelp forests, coral reefs, and more: an ecologically and financially devastating way to treat the source of over half the oxygen we breathe and the moderating buffer to some of climate change’s most devastating impacts.

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Urchin Removal on the North Coast Shows Promising Results for Kelp Forest Restoration

Close up of purple urchin

Photo: Stacy Hayden/Ocean Protection Council

June 28, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Mike Esgro, (818) 917-6468, Michael.Esgro@resources.ca.gov

Urchin Removal on the North Coast Shows Promising Results for Kelp Forest Restoration

Fort Bragg, Calif. – An unprecedented partnership on California’s north coast has concluded with the removal of nearly 50,000 pounds of purple urchins and positive signs of kelp forest recovery. The exciting results from two Mendocino County restoration sites demonstrate that commercial urchin fishermen can be extremely effective at targeted urchin removals, and that removals can facilitate bull kelp recovery when oceanographic conditions are favorable. The promising outcomes from this two-year effort will inform resource managers’ efforts to protect and restore threatened kelp forests across the state.

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AllWet💦: UN Ocean Conference Kickoff

AllWet💦 is an article series by Mark Gold, D.Env., OPC’s Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency

All Wet: An article Series by Mark Gold

UN Ocean Conference Kickoff

Sunday night, the Oceano Azul Foundation hosted the 2022 United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference kickoff at the Lisbon Oceanarium. The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, delivered a powerful speech making it clear that war and refugee crises can’t be used as an excuse for inaction on climate and ocean conservation. President Rebelo de Sousa also praised the environmental nongovernmental organization (NGO) community for their tireless pursuit of ocean conservation, children for their bold and clear voices on climate and the oceans, and Portugal for their Marine Protected Area program. To have the leader of the host nation kick off the week in such a bold and candid manner should set the tone for the week.

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MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems

scuba diver

Photo: Kelp diver, Credit: Koehn

OPC’s “Ask the Researcher” MPA monitoring webinar series officially launched in May! This summer series highlights key monitoring results from the marine protected area (MPA) monitoring program, connecting audience members directly to California’s leading MPA scientists who describe their research both inside and outside of MPAs along the California coast and answer questions from webinar participants. The webinar series is responsive to feedback heard through community meetings held by California Department of Fish and Wildlife last fall, where members of the public voiced interest in learning more about MPA science and connecting directly to the researchers who monitor California’s key habitats. Results from these monitoring projects, along with information from other sources, are foundational to informing California’s MPA Decadal Management Review, which will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2023.   … read more