Science-Based Decision-Making

Improving the use of scientific information in ocean and coastal resource decision-making is one of the OPC’s key missions as highlighted in COPA and other state legislation. It is fundamental to achieving all the goals and actions in OPC’s five-year Strategic Plan.  As additional ocean and coastal uses emerge, scientific knowledge and technology will augment the state’s ability to balance interests and uses fairly in siting decisions, minimize impacts over time through adaptive management, and improve the health of ocean ecosystems.

The OPC is committed to basing its decisions and actions on the best available science, and topromoting the use of science among all entities involved in the management of ocean resources. In its first five years, the OPC created a framework for integrating science into state decision-making through partnering with the California Ocean Science Trust (OST) and creation of the OPC Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT), and made substantial investments in data collection. The OPC is in an ideal position to improve the incorporation of science into coastal and ocean management decisions and to promote this practice throughout state agencies.

Improving the Use and Sharing of Scientific and Geospatial Information

Photo credit: USGS

Over the past five years, the state has made significant investments in the collection of scientific and geospatial information about the ocean, such as seafloor and shoreline mapping and sea-surface current data. California now has a strong foundation of information to support decisions by managers in the years ahead. To fully realize the value of these investments requires the development of tools and frameworks that are useful and accessible by California’s policy makers and resource managers. OPC will continue to provide leadership to ensure the availability, use and sharing of authoritative geospatial and scientific information for the state’s coastal and ocean related agencies and the public.

Initiatives and Funded Projects

Identifying High Priority Management Information Needs

Photo credit: NOAA

OPC plays a significant role in aligning research with the information needs of management agencies. OPC-led partnerships between academic institutions and agencies, such as the ones created to map the state’s entire seafloor and provide for a network of sensors that capture sea-surface currents, directly address coastal and ocean management needs of multiple agencies. Further, the OPC partners with OST to identify crosscutting and emerging priority information needs in collaboration with the OPC-SAT and relevant agencies. These priorities will inform the development of targeted, synthetic research products that identify and bundle current scientific understanding, as well as advance agencies goals by providing decision-support.

Initiatives and Funded Projects

Developing Strategies-and Building Institutional Capacity-to Incorporate Scientific Information into Management Decisions

The OPC is directed to work with Ocean Science Trust and others to improve and manage constructive interactions between scientists and decision-makers. The OPC’s designation of the OST Executive Director as the OPC Science Advisor demonstrates the OPC’s commitment to incorporating independent science into decision-making in an open and transparent manner. In addition, a key role for OST is management of the OPC-Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT). The main mission of the OPC-SAT is to help ensure that sound science is applied to OPC policy recommendations and state agency decisions. The OPC will continue to work closely with OST and support the leadership role of the OPC-SAT to mobilize the scientific community to inform management decisions.



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