Updates from the January 24, 2023 Council Meeting

The January 24 Ocean Protection Council (OPC) meeting finalized significant efforts from 2022 and set the framework for continued progress toward protecting California’s coast and ocean in 2023.

OPC staff presented the Annual Coast and Ocean Report highlighting both preliminary indicators for ocean health and a retrospective of OPC accomplishments towards achieving 2020-2025 Strategic Plan goals in 2022. Action items on the agenda supporting OPC’s 2023 efforts towards meeting Strategic Plan goals were all passed unanimously by the Council, including:

  • Adoption of OPC’s first-ever Tribal Engagement Strategy and approval of up to $1 million to establish a Tribal Small Grants Program
  • Approval of close to $9 million for 10 projects that advance coastal resilience to sea level rise and improve understanding of the role of marine protected areas (MPAs) in mitigating climate impacts.
  • Approval of over $2.3 million for projects that will address plastic and microplastic pollution, including research, monitoring, and implementation of Los Angeles County’s local plastic ban ordinance.
  • Approval of $750,000 to monitor California’s estuary MPAs.
  • Approval of $45,000 to support fishermen participation in planning efforts for offshore wind development.

The Council bid farewell to public members Jordan Diamond and Michael Brown, whose leadership and dedication were critical to advancing OPC’s priorities over the years. We are grateful for their ongoing commitment to our work and will miss them. OPC staff had some important personnel updates, with one of the most notable points of the meeting being the announcement of Jenn Eckerle as OPC’s new Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy for California Natural Resources Agency – garnering high praise from both Council members and attendees. OPC is also excited to announce Megan Williams as the new Coastal Adaptation Program Manager after her completion of a year-long California Sea Grant Fellowship with OPC. Sadly, OPC will be saying goodbye in the coming months to Sea Grant Fellow Elyse Goin, as she transitions into what we know will be a highly successful ocean protection career. We welcome our 2023 Sea Grant fellows Ben Dorfman and Katie Cieri to the team this month and in March respectively, with the anticipated selection of the 2023 Summer Interns coming soon. OPC is currently hiring for a Biodiversity Program Manager; applications are due on February 21, 2023.

View the full January agenda and the agenda items on the meeting webpage. The recording is also available:

The next OPC Quarterly Public Meeting is Monday, April 24, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. We hope you will also consider attending these other upcoming events:

February 14: California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Speakers Series – A Decade of Ocean Conservation, An Update on California’s Marine Protected Areas – Virtual
Join experts and community leaders to learn more about how California’s MPA Network is working to safeguard natural and cultural resources, as well as lessons learned and next steps for adaptive management.

March 15: MPA Management Review Forum – Monterey 
The MPA Day: Management Review Forum is an opportunity for OPC and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as state agency, NGO, and tribal partners, to share and discuss findings from the recently released Decadal Management Review of California’s MPA network. Through presentations, panel discussions, and a poster session, MPA partners will highlight work that has contributed to the last ten years of MPA management in California. Members of the public are invited to attend and contribute their thoughts, questions, and perspectives.

March 16: Fish and Game Commission, Marine Resources Committee Meeting – Monterey 
This Marine Resources Committee meeting will provide a venue for detailed discussion of the findings and recommendations presented in the MPA Decadal Management Review, in preparation for a full Fish and Game Commission meeting in April where MPA adaptive management recommendations will be discussed.

April 11: California Ocean Day – Sacramento 
California Ocean Day gives coast and ocean advocates an opportunity to meet with their state legislators on top priorities for 2023, hear from experts on current issues concerning the ocean, and celebrate California’s marine life.

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Categories: Funding Opportunities and Updates, Grant Projects, OPC meetings, Strategic Goal 1: Climate Change, Strategic Goal 2: Equity, Strategic Goal 3: Biodiversity, Strategic Goal 4: Sustainable Blue Economy