30×30: Conserving 30% of California’s Coastal Waters by 2030

What is 30×30?

In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20, which committed to conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 as part of a broader effort to fight climate change, protect biodiversity, and expand access to nature for all Californians. In 2022, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) released Pathways to 30×30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature, which details strategies and opportunities for achieving the 30×30 target.

How is conservation defined? How much of our coastal waters are already conserved?

Pathways provides the following definition of conservation for the purposes of 30×30: “land and coastal water areas that are durably protected and managed to sustain functional ecosystems, both intact and restored, and the diversity of life that they support.” For coastal waters, California’s statewide network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs) – 16% of state waters – is already considered conserved per this definition. We’re more than halfway there! But we’ll all need to work together to conserve an additional half a million acres of coastal waters by 2030.

For both lands and coastal waters, California is tracking progress toward the 30×30 goal via the CA Nature tool, a suite of interactive mapping and visualization tools compiling statewide biodiversity, access, climate, and conservation information.

What are the state’s strategies for achieving the 30×30 target in coastal waters?

OPC is spearheading the effort to conserve 30% of coastal waters by 2030, which, as detailed in Pathways, will require action across four fronts:

Adaptively Managing Our State’s Marine Protected Area Network. 

Adaptively managing our state’s MPAs to ensure they continue to provide strong protections for coastal and marine biodiversity, especially in the face of climate change.

Strengthening Biodiversity Protections in California’s National Marine Sanctuaries.

Working with federal partners to strengthen biodiversity protections in California’s National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS).

Exploring Spatial Management Measures Beyond MPAs and NMS.

Exploring the role of other spatial management measures beyond the MPA network and NMS – geographically defined areas that are not formal MPAs, but still provide effective conservation benefits – in protecting coastal and ocean biodiversity. Potential examples include water quality protection areas, fisheries management measures, etc.

Supporting Tribally Led

Partnering with California Native American tribes to explore mechanisms that support Indigenous Marine Stewardship Areas, focused on supporting and enhancing tribal stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Draft Decision-Making Framework for 30×30 in Coastal Waters

Share your feedback on the draft Decision-Making Framework for 30×30 in Coastal Waters!  

OPC worked in close partnership with the California Ocean Science Trust and the 30×30 Technical Advisory Panel, to develop a draft decision-making framework for evaluating and designating 30×30 Conservation Areas in California’s coastal waters. This framework translates policy objectives for 30×30 Conservation Areas – protecting biodiversity, expanding access to nature, and building climate resilience – into objective, transparent, science-based criteria. 

A 120-day public comment period on the draft framework is now open! Written comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, 2024.  

OPC is hosting two virtual webinars and three in-person workshops throughout the summer and fall to review the draft decision-making framework and receive public input. To improve accessibility, please note each webinar and workshop location/date will have two duplicate sessions.

For full details about submitting a written comment and attending the webinars and workshops, visit the draft framework announcement webpage.

Tribal Consultation

Additionally, OPC is requesting consultation with California Native American tribes on the draft framework. Tribal consultation is separate from public comment but will run concurrently. Letters requesting consultation will be shared with tribal leadership in early June. If you and your tribe are interested in consulting with OPC, please email Michael.Esgro@resources.ca.gov to schedule a consultation. 

Follow OPC’s 30×30 Progress and Updates

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30×30 Reports and Factsheets

Read about California’s international leadership on 30×30:

Watch previous 30×30 webinars and meetings:

OPC Videos

CNRA Videos

Staff Contacts

OPC’s 30×30 Email Address: 30x30coastalwaters@resources.ca.gov

Michael Esgro
Senior Biodiversity Program
Manager & Tribal Liason

Abby Mohan
30×30 Program Manager

Anh Diep
30×30 Program Manager