University of Southern California Sea Grant

Nationally, the Sea Grant College Network consists of 30 university-based programs funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), dedicated to the understanding, conservation, and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.  There are two Sea Grant programs in California based through The University of California, and the University of Southern California (USC).

The USC Sea Grant Program focuses primarily on the state’s southern coastal metropolitan region, with particular emphasis on topics related to the urban ocean.  Their priorities include protecting water quality, improving port and marine transportation operations, ensuring shoreline stability and preventing coastal hazards, and promoting the sustainable development of coastal areas. The OPC partners with the USC Sea Grant programs to review scientific proposals and projects as well as to administer grant awards for oceanographic research specific to California.

OPC and USC Sea Grant Research Projects

Each year, the OPC and USC Sea Grant Program develop a call for research focused on water quality.  By examining a single priority issue through multiuple research projects, it is envisioned that more robust and applied outcomes will be achieved.

Summary of Funding Projects (8MB):A summary of all the scientific research projects funded by the OPC through the USC Sea Grant Research Program.

Council Documents

A listing of the staff recommendations by each award year and concurrence documents with descriptions of the projects funded follows below:

 

CEMAR – Southern Steelhead Resources Project

Background:
Phase three of the Southern Steelhead Resources Project (SSRP) is now complete.  This study developed a quantitative analysis to establish the highest priority watersheds for steelhead restoration along the California coast south of the Golden Gate Bridge, and identifies the key stream reaches and restoration projects in each of these watersheds. The results are published in a report to guide decision making by agencies, local jurisdictions, watershed groups, funders, and others toward a set of short-term restoration activities intended to conserve the greatest amount of existing steelhead habitat in the most efficient manner south of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Southern Steelhead trout are a significant part of California’s natural heritage; however, the current populations of Southern Steelhead are listed as threatened and endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) belong to the family Salmonidae which includes all salmon, trout, and chars. Steelhead are similar to Pacific salmon in their life cycle and ecological requirements. They are born in fresh water streams, where they spend their first 1-3 years of life. They then migrate to the ocean where a majority of their growth occurs. After spending between one to four growing seasons in the ocean, steelhead return to their native fresh water stream to spawn. Unlike Pacific salmon, steelhead do not necessarily die after spawning and are able to spawn more than once.

Funding
The OPC approved a grant to the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration for $166,021 for phase three of the Southern Steelhead Resources Project.

Project Grantee
The Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration (CEMAR)

Partners
The State Coastal Conservancy
CEMAR
The California Department of Fish and Game

Outcomes
In Phase 3 of the SSRP, CEMAR established a “road map” of restoration opportunities in the study area based on the San Francisco Estuary Watersheds Evaluation. It has incorporated the information in the more than 5,000 references in the SSRP archive and the experiences of the many project collaborators in a transparent, comprehensive, and intuitive screening of habitat in the watersheds along the coast. The watersheds evaluation provides an efficient method to advance restoration by identifying “essential streams” in the regions, so called “anchor watersheds.” The output of this effort is a unique, thoroughly-supported and easily-interpreted list of the highest priority specific passage barrier, habitat, and flows projects in the most valuable steelhead streams south of the Golden Gate.

Final Report
The full text of the report, Southern Steelhead Resources Evaluation: Identifying promising locations for steelhead restoration in watersheds south of the Golden Gate, can be downloaded in PDF format here.  

The executive summary is also available here.

For maps and to view portions of the Southern Steelhead Resources Evaluation according to county, please visit the CEMAR website.

Council Documents
Southern Steelhead Resources Project Staff Recommendation

Related Projects
State Coastal Conservancy Project: Southern Steelhead Resources (Phase I & II)
Santa Maria Instream Flow Project
Shasta River Instream Flow Project
Big Sur River Instream Flow Project

Instream Flow Analysis – Santa Maria River

Background
The precipitous decline of salmon and steelhead populations throughout the state of California is attributed to numerous factors, some of which include; water supply, water quality, habitat destruction, and blockages to fish migrations. The instream flow projects are designed to look at one aspect of the myriad of issues plaguing salmon populations, water quantity. There are three instream flow projects the OPC approved statewide, they include; the Shasta River, the Big Sur, and the Santa Marina River.

Each of the rivers were chosen based on a list of twenty-two priority streams that require instream flow analysis throughout the state. (This list is exhibit 2 of the staff recommendation, linked below).

This list was developed with input from regional DFG staff, water board staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA national marine fisheries service.

In developing the list of priority rivers, DFG staff considered criteria such as; 1) presence of anadromous species, 2) likelihood that DFG flow recommendations would provide a high level of improvement, 3) availability of recent flow studies or other relevant data, and 4) the possibility of partners and willing landowners to work with staff on these assessments.

Completion of these projects satisfies many goals and priorities for the OPC, including the goal to significantly improve the quantity and quality of ocean and coastal habitat in California, specifically to work toward monitoring and measuring stream flows on key coastal streams as well as to determine the flow rates necessary to protect water quality in coastal lagoons and estuaries.

OPC funds will be used to conduct a water flow analysis for the entire Santa Maria River. Tasks will include hydrologic and geomorphic data collection and habitat mapping, estuary studies, adult steelhead migration studies and juvenile habitat suitability criteria.  The completion of all the projects will aim to provide an increase in habitat for salmonids.

Events and Updates
Final Report

Funding
The OPC authorized $600,000 for the completion of the Santa Maria River instream flow projects.

Partners
The Department of Fish and Game
The State Water Resources Control Board
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Humboldt State University

Outcomes:

The research gained from this project will help identify the quantity of water, what temperature, and flow that is required for salmon and steelhead species to properly mature in freshwater environs. The data gathered will hopefully lead to an increase in available habitat and water supply for these endangered species.

The result of the instream flow analysis will be provided to the State Water Resources Control Board by the Department of Fish and Game in the form of flow recommendations for the Santa Maria River.

Council Douments:
Instream Flow Staff Recommendation (June 2010)

Related Projects:
Big Sur Instream Flow Project
Shasta River Instream Flow Project
CEMAR Southern Steelhead Resources Project

Instream Flow Analysis – Big Sur River

Background
The precipitous decline of salmon and steelhead populations throughout the state of California is attributed to numerous factors, some of which include; water supply, water quality, habitat destruction, and blockages to fish migrations.  The instream flow projects are designed to look at one aspect of the myriad of issues plaguing salmon populations, water quantity.  There are three instream flow projects the OPC approved statewide, they include; the Shasta River, the Big Sur, and the Santa Marina River.

Each of the rivers were chosen based on a list of twenty-two priority streams that require instream flow analysis throughout the state.  (This list is exhibit 2 of the staff recommendation, linked below).

This list was developed with input from regional DFG staff, water board staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA national marine fisheries service.

In developing the list of priority rivers, DFG staff considered criteria such as; 1) presence of anadromous species, 2) likelihood that DFG flow recommendations would provide a high level of improvement, 3) availability of recent flow studies or other relevant data, and 4) the possibility of partners and willing landowners to work with staff on these assessments.

Completion of these projects satisfies many goals and priorities for the OPC, including the goal to significantly improve the quantity and quality of ocean and coastal habitat in California, specifically to work toward monitoring and measuring stream flows on key coastal streams as well as to determine the flow rates necessary to protect water quality in coastal lagoons and estuaries.

For the Big Sur River, the OPC funds will be used to focus on the estuary portion of the river.  The rest of the river will be analyzed by DFG staff and The Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC).  For the estuary component, PSMFC will conduct bathymetric mapping to track potential changes in water volume and to assess seasonal or annual changes in major water quality parameters such as; temperature, nitrogen, phosphorus, salinity and acidity.  Major tasks of the study will include; water flow will be monitored to track effects of inflows, tides, sand barrier closures on estuary volume and fish sampling to detect populations. The completion of all the projects will aim to provide an increase in habitat for salmonids.

Final Report

Final Report: Fisheries and Habitat Assessment of the Big Sur River Lagoon, California

Funding
The OPC has approved a grant to Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission for $100,000

Partners
The Department of Fish and Game
The State Water Resources Control Board
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

Events & Updates
None at this time.

Outcomes
The research gained from this project will help identify the quantity of water, what temperature, and flow that is required for salmon and steelhead species to properly mature in freshwater environs.  The data gathered will hopefully lead to an increase in available habitat and water supply for these endangered species.

The result of the instream flow analysis will be provided to the State Water Resources Control Board by the Department of Fish and Game in the form of flow recommendations for the Big Sur River.

Council Documents
Instream Flow Staff Recommendation
Related Projects
Shasta River Instream Flow Project
Santa Maria Instream Flow Project
CEMAR Southern Steelhead Resources Project

Instream flow Analysis – Shasta River

Background
The precipitous decline of salmon and steelhead populations throughout the state of California is attributed to numerous factors, some of which include; water supply, water quality, habitat destruction, and blockages to fish migrations.  The instream flow projects are designed to look at one aspect of the myriad of issues plaguing salmon populations, water quantity.  There are three instream flow projects the OPC approved statewide, they include; the Shasta River, the Big Sur, and the Santa Marina River.

Each of the rivers were chosen based on a list of twenty-two priority streams that require instream flow analysis throughout the state.  (This list is exhibit 2 of the staff recommendation, linked below).

This list was developed with input from regional DFG staff, water board staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA national marine fisheries service.

In developing the list of priority rivers, DFG staff considered criteria such as; 1) presence of anadromous species, 2) likelihood that DFG flow recommendations would provide a high level of improvement, 3) availability of recent flow studies or other relevant data, and 4) the possibility of partners and willing landowners to work with staff on these assessments.

Completion of these projects satisfies many goals and priorities for the OPC, including the goal to significantly improve the quantity and quality of ocean and coastal habitat in California, specifically to work toward monitoring and measuring stream flows on key coastal streams as well as to determine the flow rates necessary to protect water quality in coastal lagoons and estuaries.

The Shasta River project will focus on two reaches of the river including the mainstem canyon reach and a tributary to the main stem which is known as the little Shasta River.

Some of the tasks for this project will include outreach with the local community, development of unimpaired and regulated hydrographs and thermographs, development of habitat-flow relationships, and basin wide integration of the stream flow analysis.  The completion of all the projects will aim to provide an increase in habitat for salmonids.

Final Report

Final Report: Shasta River Big Springs Complex Interim Instream Flow Needs Assessment

Funding
The OPC has approved a grant to Humboldt State University for $300,000

Partners
The Department of Fish and Game
The State Water Resources Control Board
Humboldt State University

Outcomes

The research gained from this project will help identify the quantity of water, what temperature, and flow that is required for salmon and steelhead species to properly mature in freshwater environs.  The data gathered will hopefully lead to an increase in available habitat and water supply for these endangered species.

The result of the instream flow analysis will be provided to the State Water Resources Control Board by the Department of Fish and Game in the form of flow recommendations for the Shasta River.

Council Documents

Instream Flow Staff Recommendation

Related Projects
Big Sur Instream Flow Project
Santa Maria Instream Flow Project
CEMAR Southern Steelhead Resources Project

California’s Coastal Power Plants: Alternative Cooling System Analysis

Full Report (please note this file is 31MB)

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Background
Chapter 3 – Regulatory Review
Chapter 4 – Closed-cycle Cooling
Chapter 5 – Study Methods
Chapter 6 – Retrofits and Repowers
Chapter 7

Appendices

Once-through Cooling at Coastal Power Plants

The Ocean Protection Council previously funded feasibility studies on once-through cooling at power plants to help facilitate new State Water Resources Control Board requirements. Additional information is below.

Partner Agencies
State Water Resources Control Board
California Energy Commission

Documents

University of California Sea Grant

Nationally, the Sea Grant College Network consists of 30 university-based programs funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), dedicated to the understanding, conservation, and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.  There are two Sea Grant programs in California based through The University of California, and the University of Southern California.

The California Sea Grant College Program is the largest of the 30 Sea Grant programs, and works along the entire state coastline and coastal watersheds.  The program is administered by the University of California and is based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.  Their programmatic themes are: healthy marine ecosystems, sustainable resource use, coastal community development, new technologies, and education, training and public information.

The OPC partners with the California Sea Grant program to review scientific proposals and projects as well as to administer grant awards for oceanographic research specific to California.  OPC also provides funding to the California Sea Grant program to support the California Sea Grant State Fellowship Program to provide graduate students “on the job” experience in the planning and implementation of marine and coastal resource policies and programs in the state of California.

 

OPC and California Sea Grant Research Projects

Each year the OPC and California Sea Grant office develop an initiative specifically designed to provide state managers with information to make informed policy decisions.  Initiatives are envisioned to be well coordinated programs of applied interdisciplinary research and training focusing on one important priority issue.

By developing a single initiative team comprised of multi-disciplinary researchers, the OPC hopes to comprehensively address challenging issues and ensure that new data and ideas are incorporated into management.  By examining a single issue from a multi-disciplinary perspective and by directly linking the research to managers’ needs and uses, the initiative should produce effective and applied outcomes.

Summary of Funded Projects: A summary of all the scientific research projects and initiatives funded by the OPC through the California Sea Grant Program from 2006-2010.

Completed Projects
The following projects were completed with OPC funding in partnership with California Sea Grant:

Council Documents
A listing of the staff recommendations by each award year and concurrence documents with descriptions of the projects funded follows below:

West Coast Governors Agreement on Ocean Health

westcoastoceansbanner2

Background
On September 18, 2006 the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health. The Agreement launched a new, proactive regional collaboration to protect and manage the ocean and coastal resources along the entire West Coast, as called for in the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission.

After extensive public participation and close coordination with three federal co-leads from the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Governors released their Action Plan in July 2008.

The Action Plan highlights two overarching actions:
1) establish a national ocean trust fund and
2) mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts.

In addition to these overarching actions, there are 24 visionary actions within the following areas:

* Polluted runoff
* Harmful algal blooms and hypoxia
* Marine debris
* Oil spill prevention and response
* Maritime shipping emission controls
* Habitat protection and restoration
* Marine invasive species
* Ecosystem-based management
* Offshore oil and gas operations
* Alternative environmentally sustainable energy development
* Ocean awareness and literacy
* Regional marine research
* Ocean observing and long-term monitoring
* Seafloor mapping
* Working waterfronts and sustainable coastal economies
* Regional sediment management

In late summer 2008, nine Action Coordination Teams (ACTs) were established including representatives from the three states, federal and tribal governments, academia, industry, non-governmental organizations and interested citizens. In October 2008, the ACTs convened in Seattle to develop specific work plans that will be available in Spring 2009.

Action Coordination Teams
* Climate change
* Polluted runoff
* Marine debris
* Spartina eradication
* Renewable ocean energy
* Ocean education
* Sustainable communities
* Sediment
* Regional research
* Seafloor mapping
* Integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs)

Partners
California Governors Office
California Natural Resources Agency
Oregon Governors Office
Washingtion Governors Office
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA Coastal Services Center
Department of the Interior
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Events
*There are no events at this time

Council Documents
OPC Resolution on the West Coast Governors Agreement

Related Projects
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment
Great Lakes Regional Collaboration
Northeast Regional Ocean Council

For more information, please visit:
http://westcoastoceans.gov/

Contact:
Valerie Termini, OPC Project Manager

Recent Posts Archives Categories Meta