OPC Releases its Draft Equity Plan for Public Comment!

OPC is pleased to release its comprehensive draft Equity Plan for a 45-day public review and comment. The OPC Equity Plan represents OPC’s commitment to advancing equity across ocean and coastal policies and actions in California and strengthening internal efforts to create a more inclusive workplace and workforce for California’s coasts and ocean. The OPC Equity Plan was collaboratively developed with OPC staff and leadership, funding grantee, Better World Group (BWG), and members of OPC’s Equity Plan Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisory Group.

The Equity Plan highlights the equity efforts within coastal and ocean policymaking and research that are primed for statewide action. Specifically, the Plan outlines priorities, milestones, and outcomes to increase communication and outreach; provide targeted funding and technical assistance; improve staff training and capacity; strengthen environmental justice policies, and further integrate community science and tribal expertise into decision-making.

We welcome your feedback on this draft! Access the OPC Draft Equity Plan, or visit the Equity webpage for more: www.opc.ca.gov/equity.

Public comment should be submitted to OPCEquityPlan@resources.ca.gov by June 23, 2022.

Call for Proposals to Build Coastal Resilience – $9.5 Million Available

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for projects that build resilience on the coast to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of sea-level rise. Specific project types include research-based projects that focus on coastal habitat mapping, contaminated sites, and socio-economic impacts, and implementation projects that work to provide resilience to climate change through restoration and/or habitat enhancement. … read more

MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher

Bring your questions! Join us as we unpack the results of the latest state-funded MPA long-term monitoring projects through an 8-part virtual summer webinar series. Researchers from 24 universities, agencies and institutions across California worked closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) to monitor key habitats both inside and outside of MPAs, including kelp forests, rocky reefs, rocky shores, estuaries, and sandy beaches. Additionally, one project provided a socioeconomic evaluation for commercial and Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) fisheries. These monitoring projects were aligned with MPA Management Program goals and the monitoring framework established in the MPA Monitoring Action Plan. Results from these monitoring projects, along with information from other sources, will inform California’s MPA Decadal Management Review (DMR) report to the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2023.  For those looking to dig deeper into MPA monitoring data, including both baseline and long-term monitoring data, please visit the State’s new California MPA data portal. Snapshot reports outlining key findings from each project are available now in both English and Spanish (linked below). … read more

OPC is Hiring a Coastal Habitats Program Manager – Apply by May 23, 2022

OPC is hiring an Environmental Scientist to help lead its efforts to conserve coastal watersheds and habitats, including wetlands, eelgrass, beaches, dunes, and rocky intertidal.  The Environmental Scientist will advance these strategic priorities in coordination with OPC staff, state and federal agencies, Tribes, local governments, scientists, non-profits, community members and others. The Environmental Scientist will also be responsible for grant and contract management including developing scopes of work and budgets, tracking deliverables, and coordinating with grantees. The Environmental Scientist will also provide additional support and capacity for OPC’s other strategic priorities, as needed. … read more

California Releases Visionary Roadmap to Conserve 30 Percent of Lands and Coastal Waters by 2030

Today, in celebration of Earth Day, California released a groundbreaking document detailing the state’s approach to conserving 30 percent of our lands and coastal waters by 2030. In the face of a rapidly changing climate and unprecedented threats – year after year of extreme wildfire, the longest and most severe drought in our state’s history, the decimation of kelp forests along our northern coastline – Pathways to 30×30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature provides strategies and opportunities for protecting biodiversity, fighting climate change, and enhancing access to nature for all Californians. It also makes California the first place in the world to set forth an actionable roadmap for achieving the ambitious “30×30” global target.

OPC has been honored to coordinate closely with California Natural Resources Agency leadership on the coastal and ocean components of Pathways to 30×30. Currently, the state estimates that 16% of coastal waters are conserved. Moving forward, OPC will be working with California Native American tribes, the research community, other state and federal agencies, and coastal stakeholders – including environmental organizations and fishing communities – to conserve an additional half a million acres of coastal waters by implementing science-based protections that address the most serious threats to coastal and ocean biodiversity.

Pathways to 30×30 is more than a policy document. For OPC, it is a call to action that inspires us in the face of daunting challenges. Meeting the 30×30 target will help us realize our vision for the future: a California where our iconic marine habitats and species are safeguarded in perpetuity, where our coastal communities and local fisheries are thriving, and where people of all backgrounds can enjoy a healthy coast and ocean. We look forward to the work ahead.

Photo credit: Michael Langhans

California’s efforts to protect and restore kelp featured in new restoration guidebook and global review

A unique kelp restoration pilot project on California’s north coast has been featured in The Nature Conservancy’s new Kelp Restoration Guidebook. This guidebook was authored by an expert panel with support from managers, scientists, and restoration practitioners. It highlights kelp loss as a global, climate-driven phenomenon and offers lessons learned from kelp restoration efforts around the world – including California, which is emerging as a leader in this space thanks to effective and unprecedented partnerships between state agencies, nonprofits, and local communities.

… read more

OPC Releases State Agency Sea-Level Rise Action Plan for California, A Roadmap for Planning and Implementation Coastal Resilience 

At its February 23 Council meeting, OPC presented the State Agency Sea-Level Rise Action Plan for California (Action Plan), a first-of-its-kind, highly coordinated effort to outline a roadmap toward coastal resiliency for the state of California. Developed through intense collaboration from the 17 state agencies that make up the State Sea-Level Rise Leadership Team, the Plan is a living document that fosters accountability and collaboration for planning and implementing sea-level rise (SLR) action over the next five years. It builds on Senator Atkins’ landmark legislation, Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2021 and drives California’s efforts to achieve coastal resilience in the face of rising seas.

Sea-Level Rise (SLR) Leadership Team 

The SLR Leadership Team is made up of 17 California state agencies who work collectively to achieve coastal resilience for the entire coast of California. These agencies hold jurisdiction over the coastal region through authorities that regulate, develop, and implement local, regional, and state policies. Following the development of the SLR Principles in 2020, the SLR Leadership Team was tasked with the creation of an actionable plan to implement SLR resiliency.

These principles are listed here:  … read more

OPC is Hiring a Communications Manager

OPC is hiring a Communications Manager (Staff Services Manager I, Specialist) to lead OPC’s communications and community engagement efforts. The Communications Manager will develop a strategic communications plan to elevate the work of the Council and increase equitable engagement on efforts to protect California’s coast and ocean. The Communications Manager will also be responsible for grant and contract management including developing scopes of work and budgets, tracking deliverables, processing invoices, and coordinating with grantees. The Communications Manager will also provide additional support and capacity for other OPC’s efforts, as needed. … read more

United Nations Adopts Historic Resolution to End Plastic Pollution

Today, after a week of debate, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi unanimously approved a resolution to end plastic pollution, setting the stage to create a legally binding treaty by 2024 to prevent and reduce global plastic pollution.

Microplastics image courtesy NOAA

Plastic production has risen exponentially in the last decades with 11 million metric tons estimated to end up in the world’s ocean each year.

The landmark agreement commits to addressing the full lifecycle of plastics and calls for enhanced international collaboration to advance solutions and circular economy approaches – to reduce the impact of plastic pollution from its source to the sea.

The resolution aligns with the Statewide Microplastic Strategy adopted by the Ocean Protection Council on February 23, 2022, recognizing: … read more

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The OPC works jointly with government agencies responsible for ocean and coastal resource management, and is supported by several partner organizations.