OPC is Hiring an Administration and Finance Analyst

OPC is hiring a limited term Staff Services Analyst to provide critical support for grant and contract administration, accounting, and other administrative duties, as needed.  Applicants should have strong attention to detail, high-level proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite (including Word, Excel and Outlook), and experience related to bookkeeping, invoice processing, budgets, or other related work.  The ability to work in a fast-paced environment and prioritize tasks is a must.

Completion of the Staff Services Analyst State Civil Service Examination is required, and exam scores must rank in the top three tiers within the applicant pool to be further considered in the application process; information on the examination can be found here. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all OPC staff are currently working remotely.  However, once staff return to the office, the Staff Services Analyst will be required to work from the office in Sacramento one to three days a week. This position is limited term (minimum of two years) with the potential of becoming permanent.

The application deadline is September 21, 2021.  For more details and to apply, please visit: https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=267672

Prop 68 Climate Resilience Miniseries Episode 4: Bolinas Lagoon Wye Wetlands Resiliency Project

(Intro to the series here)

“Part of this is just the regular stewardship practice of taking care of the land together” – Max Korten

Today we are in the beautiful Bolinas Lagoon of Marin County, this tidal embayment is a Ramsar Site, recognized internationally for its ecological importance. Bolinas Lagoon supports many listed and endangered species including the California black rail, red-legged frog, steelhead trout, and coho salmon. This Prop 68 Project is to finalize the designs for the Bolinas Lagoon Wye Wetlands Resiliency Project. 

The primary goal of this project is to restore natural processes, reversing past land-uses (ranching, logging, mining) that left the wetlands vulnerable to sea level rise, by fragmenting and developing the area immediately surrounding the lagoon. The design includes removing a part of a road that currently separates the uplands and brackish marshes of the lagoon from neighboring freshwater wetlands and building a bridge to restore tidal flow to the area and removing a barrier to eventual marsh migration. The team has also incorporated plans to reroute a creek that is currently behind a water control structure, to its historical path allowing it to flow directly into the lagoon. They plan to allow the creek to self-form and evolve over time with minimal intervention beyond the initial channelization.

“For the community, their main connection to the rest of the world is this road, which already gets flooded during high tides and storms, one of the ancillary benefits of this project is that they have a more consistently safe and accessible access into and out of their community,” says Max Korten.

“This is a stepping stone, it’s the first step that we need to take to accommodate sea level rise and allow for wetlands to be able to migrate towards our uplands”, notes Veronica Pearson, the Lead Project Manager for this effort. Max Korten, Director of Marin County Parks is hopeful that this Prop 68 Project can help inform future adaptation efforts across the California coast, noting that sea level rise will present some difficult decisions for regions of the state that are heavily developed. “Bolinas Lagoon can serve as a model for the more challenging places in the state where there are harder trade-offs,” adds Korten.  … read more

Prop 68 Climate Resilience Miniseries Episode 3: Eelgrass Habitat Suitability Model Update for Targeted, Climate-Smart Eelgrass Restoration in San Francisco Bay

(Intro to the series here)

Today we are talking about a Prop 68 Project to develop an Eelgrass Habitat Suitability Model for San Francisco Bay–where many of California’s eelgrass enhancement and mitigation projects have been conducted. In order to successfully restore eelgrass, we need to first find the best locations to restore, which is not as easy as it may sound. 

The goal of this project is to update an Eelgrass Habitat Suitability Model (HSM) that was first developed by Merkel & Associates more than 10 years ago. Not only do we have much better data today than was available 10 years ago, we also know much more about the conditions that eelgrass needs to successfully establish and expand, post-restoration. This project takes advantage of the wealth of data now available and applies lessons learned from previous restoration projects and our improved understanding of how eelgrass may respond to climate impacts to develop an adaptive, climate-smart HSM. “We have learned a lot through our restoration efforts about what works and what doesn’t, but site selection remains a tricky problem, especially as we think about the future of eelgrass habitats as conditions shift with climate change”, states Dr. Katharyn Boyer, the lead academic on the project.  … read more

Prop 68 Climate Resilience Miniseries Episode 2: Quantifying the Social and Economic Benefits of Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions

(Intro to the series here)

“We’re getting input from flood managers and stakeholders in the region…that’s exciting because it makes me feel that people will make decisions based off what we’re finding from this project” – Rae Taylor Burns

Today we visited University of California, Santa Cruz’s Coastal Science Campus to talk with Professor. Michael W.  Beck, Co-PI on this Prop 68 project and Rae Taylor Burns, a PhD Student helping run the models for this effort aimed at measuring the social and economic benefits of nature-based adaptation solutions to protect San Mateo County from storms and sea-level rise. The primary goal of this project is to assess flood risk in San Francisco Bay and to identify the role of nature-based solutions in reducing those risks.

The project uses complex computational models for the SF Bay to evaluate current and future flood risk. By modeling  increases in sea-levels and storms, the team can assess the consequences of increased flooding to people and property, but also assess how ‘restored’ wetland habitats adjacent to development in low-lying areas can reduce flooding risk. Similar models are used to assess how management choices and other adaptation solutions can mitigate other climate impacts, such as wildfires, drought, and extreme heat.  

This team, led by Dr. Borja Reguero at UC Santa Cruz, will determine how effective nature-based solutions such as wetland restoration are at reducing the social and economic costs of flooding. “We need to adapt to sea level rise and storms, it is not a question of if, but when it will occur, we need to act now,” notes Dr. Reguero. Wetlands in the SF Bay shoreline represent a nature-based solution to the increasing challenges posed by climate change. The project will assess where and how nature-based solutions can protect San Mateo’s coastline, the interactions with the levee system, and revised ways to finance nature-based adaptation. When discussing the outcomes of this work, Beck notes that “it’s important to know that nature-based solutions are going to be just one part of the range of solutions for reducing [flooding] risks.” … read more

Announcing OPC’s new Climate Resilience Miniseries!

Episode 0 – Who is OPC? What is Prop 68, a brief primer on the Climate Resilience Miniseries

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) was created by law in 2004 with the passing of the California Ocean Protection Act. OPC is a Cabinet-Level State Policy Body within the California Natural Resources Agency. The mission of OPC is to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. To meet its mission, OPC  is tasked with developing science-based policy recommendations to decision-makers and coordinating with other ocean-related state agencies and partners to advance state efforts to protect ocean and coastal resources informed by the funding, collection, and sharing of scientific data. What does that mean in practice? Well, at the start of this year (2021), OPC funded 15 coastal resilience projects using funds allocated to OPC through Proposition 68. These “Prop 68 Projects” – as we will call them throughout this mini-series – were chosen in large part for their alignment with OPC’s mission, and specifically our Strategic Plan. 

So, what is Proposition 68? Well if you voted in California’s midterm election in 2018, you probably saw this proposition on the ballot. Proposition 68 was first drafted by Senator De Leon as a senate bill to enact the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 – but we know it as Prop 68, a proposition that voters passed, issuing $4B in bonds to be allocated to projects around conservation, water, and parks.

Thirty-five million of that $4B was allocated to OPC to use for grants for projects that ‘conserve, protect, and restore marine wildlife and healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems with a focus on the state’s system of marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries’ and $21.2 million was allocated to OPC to fund projects that ‘assist coastal communities, including those reliant on commercial fisheries, with adaptation to climate change, address ocean acidification, sea level rise, or habitat restoration and protection, including, but not limited to, the protection of coastal habitat associated with the Pacific Flyway.’ Our miniseries will focus on this last chunk of projects, those that were funded under Chapter 10 of Prop 68 – Climate Preparedness, Habitat Resiliency, Resource Enhancement, and Innovation. … read more

Global Climate Change Report Affirms California’s Leadership

On August 9, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth report on global climate change. The report, which was written by 234 scientists from around the world, provides a sobering outlook for the planet as global temperatures continue to increase and signals an urgency for action now. Many changes observed are unprecedented, with some impacts – such as global temperature and sea-level rise – increasing at a pace not previously predicted by scientists. 

The IPCC report asserts that even if the world’s population completely ceased greenhouse gas emissions immediately, what’s already been emitted will continue to affect the atmosphere for decades to come:  … read more

Advancing 30×30: Conservation of Coastal Waters Report Released

a breaking wave at Montara State Beach
Montara State Beach

The Conservation of Coastal Waters Advisory Panel has released its summary document: Advancing 30×30: Conservation of Coastal Waters. The report can be found here.

The Conservation of Coastal Waters Advisory Panel collaborated to explore strategies that California could pursue to conserve 30% of California’s coastal waters by 2030 (30×30) in a way that is meaningful, equitable, and measurable.

The Advisory Panel includes specialists from a Tribal Government, a federal agency, academic and research institutions, and non-profit organizations representing a broad range of conservation expertise in coastal habitats and communities. Panelist bios can be found here, along with the questions that the panelists were asked to address — click on the Conservation of Coastal Waters Topical Workshop header to see both. The public is also being asked to consider how they would address these questions.

A topical workshop, Advancing 30×30 and Conservation of Coastal Waters, will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 3 to 6 p.m. that will feature a presentation from the Advisory Panel, as well as an opportunity to provide input on how California Natural Resources Agency and its partners can deliver on the State’s 30×30 goal. Register for the workshop here.

Public participation is key to these workshops, and participants will have an opportunity to share their perspectives on the topic. Key takeaways related to each topic will inform the State’s Pathways to 30×30 document and CA Nature GIS.

All meetings are open to the public and will be accessible by Zoom, a phone dial-in option, and YouTube livestream. Advance registration is required and participants who wish to make a 90-second public comment will need to register to provide verbal input during the public comment session.

Visit CaliforniaNature.ca.gov for additional information about the virtual workshop and other ways to provide comments

OPC is hiring a Water Quality Program Manager

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is hiring an Environmental Scientist (Water Quality Program Manager) to help advance strategic priorities related to improving coastal and marine water quality in California. The Environmental Scientist 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 Environmental Scientist will also provide additional support and capacity for OPC’s other strategic priorities, as needed.

Applicants should have a strong scientific and policy background, working knowledge of coastal and ocean issues and stakeholders in California, experience working on projects or research and/or developing or analyzing regulations, policy, or legislation related to coastal or ocean water quality in California or elsewhere, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. Proficiency reading and speaking Spanish is preferred. The ability to work in a fast-paced environment and prioritize tasks is a must.

Minimum qualifications for an Environmental Scientist, including necessary education and experience, can be found here. Completion of the Environmental Scientist State Civil Service Examination is required, and exam scores must rank in the top three tiers within the applicant pool to be further considered in the application process; information on the examination can be found here.

California is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. As such, OPC values diverse employees working together to protect the coast and ocean for all Californians. OPC is committed to fostering an inclusive work environment where all backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences can thrive and connect others to our critical mission. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all OPC staff are currently working remotely. However, once staff return to the office, the Water Quality Program Manager will be required to work from the office in Sacramento one to three days a week.

OPC is a Cabinet-level state policy body that works to ensure healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems by advancing innovative, science-based policy and management, making strategic investments, and catalyzing action through partnerships and collaboration.

The application deadline is 8/13/21. For more details and to apply, please visit: https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=261232

Prop 68 Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Solicitation is Open!

Underwater photoThe California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and California Sea Grant (CASG) are pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for letters of intent on monitoring, research, and synthesis projects that will enhance our understanding of ocean acidification and hypoxia on biological vulnerability.

Please see the solicitation for specific project types and priorities. There is a total of $2.2 million available for this solicitation—$1,800,949 will be provided by OPC and $400,000 from CASG. Letters of intent will be accepted via eSeaGrant until 5:00pm PT on August 30, 2021 and full proposals will be due by 5:00 p.m. PT on October 7, 2021 via eSeaGrantOnly applicants who have submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal.

OPC staff and CASG will hold an informational webinar to answer any questions for interested applicants on Thursday, August 5, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:00PM. To register for the webinar, please complete the Webinar Registration Form. For more information about the solicitation please see the solicitation webpage.