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.

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture in California

OPC is proud to announce the public release of the “Guiding Principles for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture in California”. These Guiding Principles establish a framework for marine aquaculture development in California and were collaboratively developed by members of California’s Aquaculture Leadership Team and associated staff. The Principles will enhance existing collaborative interagency efforts and providing near-term guidance to promote a robust, sustainable industry in a way that also protects the environment, effectively manages public trust resources, and enhances food safety and supply. The Principles will also serve to improve and strengthen awareness, information sharing, and collaboration with aquaculture producers, federal and state agencies, public and private organizations, the seafood industry, California Native American Tribes, universities, and other relevant parties.

Draft Revised 2021 Proposition 1 Guidelines Now Available for Public Comment

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is pleased to announce the release of Draft Revised Prop 1 Grant Guidelines for public review and comment. Major revisions to the Prop 1 Guidelines include changes to OPC’s priority projects and to the scoring criteria. OPC’s priorities focus on projects benefiting communities entitled to environmental justice.  OPC will host a webinar on January 25, 2021 to present the guidelines and receive comments, and the deadline for written public comment is Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Comments may be submitted via email  to OPC_Prop1grants@resources.ca.gov. Please see the Proposition 1 webpage for more information.


Bid Submittal Extension: Communications Strategy for California’s Coast and Ocean

Due to Covid-19 and office closures, we will be announcing a bid submittal deadline extension and providing further directions on how to submit your bids electronically. An addendum will be posted early the week of December 14, 2020 with more information. At this time, we ask that you do not print any of your bid or mail anything to the Ocean Protection Council. The OPC Communications Solicitation and addendums can be found here: https://caleprocure.ca.gov/event/0540/0000017900

What if we get it right? Reflections on WSN 2020

Michael Esgro, OPC Marine Ecosystems Program Manager & Tribal Liaison

This past weekend, nearly 900 marine scientists convened online for the 101st Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) annual meeting. Against the backdrop of the U.S. presidential election, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a growing nationwide movement for racial justice, WSN 2020 felt different. The very fact that the meeting was held over Zoom, rather than in the packed auditoriums and meeting rooms that characterized WSN conferences of my grad school yearswas a reminder that science cannot be separated from human well-being. In addition, this year’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion (including WSN’s first-ever diversity plenary!) came as a long-overdue recognition of the link between social equity and environmental resilience, although it’s clear that we all have work to do when it comes to operationalizing some of the recommendations that were presented. 

Over the course of three days at WSNI eagerly devoured session after session of 15-minute talks, filling my notebook with new developments in monitoring technology, marine protected area science, fisheries ecology, restoration practice, and sustainable aquaculture. These findings will directly inform my work – in the coming weeks, for example, I’ll be following up with speakers who presented in two special sessions on kelp forest ecosystem resilience, to ensure that the most cutting-edge science is represented in OPC’s upcoming Action Plan for kelp research and restoration in California.  

A few moments that stood out for me: our partners at the California Ocean Science Trust highlighted key findings from a state-supported scientific working group that is exploring the role of California’s MPA network in providing climate resilience. At Saturday’s ocean-climate symposium, Dr. Kerry Nickols explained how kelp forests may help to mitigate ocean acidification at the local scale. I was excited to be part of a team that presented a new inventory of “de facto” marine protected areas on California’s central coast and their potential contributions to conserving critical deepwater habitat. And in yet another sign of the times, there was an entire session dedicated to innovative and creative ways of keeping field research moving during the COVID era. 

More than anything, however, I was struck by a comment made by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, an ocean hero whose areas of expertise include both marine ecology and community engagement. Her question to WSN’s attendees: “what if we get it right?” In other words, what does all this science mean for people? If we move beyond the Keeling Curves, grim IPCC reports, and news of environmental collapse, what is our positive vision for the future? What kind of world do we want to live in, and how do we build it together? 

I’m proud to live and work in Californiawhere we have a strong vision of what it means to get it right – our state’s leaders are striving to build a more equitable and resilient society, a “California for All.” I left WSN 2020 feeling fired up to continue that fight for California’s coast and ocean, and grateful for the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of scientists in this most unusual and pivotal of years. 

Invitation to Bid: Communications Strategy for California’s Coast and Ocean

The Ocean Protection Council is seeking bids for contract to develop and implement a Communications Strategy for California’s Coast and Ocean that will provide centralized access to California’s extensive coastal and ocean information, ensure unified messaging of the State’s coastal management and scientific efforts, and help to engage ocean stakeholders, key legislators, decision-makers, and the general public in the process.

Through updated media platforms, targeted outreach, annual State of the Ocean reports, development of an Ocean Health Dashboard and report card, and many more actions, the Communications Strategy will help OPC become a communications hub for the state, serving to share California’s progress towards meeting our ambitious Strategic Plan goals, objectives, and targets.

Please submit bids by 12pm on December 15th, 2020.

For more information follow this link: https://caleprocure.ca.gov/event/0540/0000017900

Upcoming Webinar Series: Microplastics Effects on Human and Ecological Health

The Ocean Protection Council, the State Water Resources Control Board staff, and numerous international experts will be participating in a webinar series starting on October 19 to characterize microplastics and human and ecological health effects. This webinar series is hosted by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and the University of Toronto and is open to the public; more information on the webinar series and registration information is available here: https://www.sccwrp.org/about/research-areas/additional-research-areas/trash-pollution/microplastics-health-effects-webinar-series/

Microplastics on a petri dish

Photo Credit: Xia Zhu