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California Ocean Protection Council Announces West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel

California and Oregon are joining forces to help address ocean acidification and hypoxia, a West Coast-wide threat to our shared marine and coastal ecosystems. The California Natural Resources Agency, on behalf of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state of Oregon to jointly sponsor a high-level science panel to help address the issue of ocean acidification and hypoxia.  The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel will provide state-level decision makers with the knowledge needed to evaluate and develop action plans for these complex issues. The science panel will also identify the research and monitoring needed to contribute to a West Coast-wide assessment of ocean acidification and hypoxia, and address information and data gaps critical to resource management decisions.

“With the creation of this science panel, we will be able to use the expertise of scientists across the West Coast as we aim to tackle the complex process of ocean acidification,” said Secretary for Natural Resources and OPC Chair John Laird. “This is an example of working cooperatively to improve understanding and create strategies to leave a healthier marine ecosystem for the future of the entire West Coast.”

The science panel is convened under the leadership of the California Ocean Science Trust and chaired by Dr. Alexandria Boehm of Stanford University. The science panel consists of a team of 20 experts from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and will build upon the significant scientific knowledge identified by the Washington State Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel.

The science panel incorporates expertise from the fields of chemical and physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine biology, ecology and physiology, as well as coastal water quality and nutrient dynamics.  This collaboration across disciplines and state borders will advance the region’s collective knowledge base and inform how states respond to major shifts in the basic chemistry of their marine environments.

“I’m so pleased West Coast decision makers have reached out to the scientific community to help them understand this complex issue, and I’m proud our scientists have stepped up and answered the call in support of state interests,” said Skyli McAfee, executive director of the California Ocean Science Trust and science advisor to the OPC.

The science panel was convened following a resolution by the OPC charging the OPC Science Advisory Team with its creation. The California Ocean Science Trust and counterparts at the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University will use their expertise in integrating science with management and decision-making to guide and staff the science panel. These institutions will serve as the link between the science panel and government decision-makers. The science panel will convene periodically throughout 2014.

For more information, visit the California Ocean Protection Council, the California Ocean Science Trust, and the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel on the Web.

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OPC Staff Contact: Clare Waldmann, 916-653-0542, clare.waldmann@resources.ca.gov