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Ocean Protection Council Opposes New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling on California’s Outer Continental Shelf

On February 7, 2018 Ocean Protection Council Chairman John Laird sent a comprehensive letter to the Secretary of the Department of Interior outlining the Council’s objections to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2019–2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The letter can be found here. The letter is in response to a resolution adopted by the Council on January 31, 2018 which state’s the Council’s opposition to the 2019-2024 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program and directs the Council Chairman to submit a letter to the Department of Interior on behalf of the Council. The resolution can be found here.

Additionally on February 7th, the Sacramento Bee published an op-ed written by Secretary Laird.  The op-ed can be found here:

OPC is hiring an Environmental Scientist in our Marine Protected Area Program

OPC is hiring an Environmental Scientist to support work in our Marine Protected Areas Program.  For more information on the position and how to apply, click here.

Webinar on State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Update: Summary of Public Comment and Final Revisions

On February 5, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Ocean Protection Council staff, in coordination with the State Coastal Conservancy and the California Coastal Resilience Network, will have a webinar to provide an overview of public comments received on the draft State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Update and a summary of revisions incorporated in the final document, which is proposed for adoption by the Ocean Protection Council at their March 14, 2018 meeting in Sacramento.  During the webinar, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide additional feedback on the Guidance for consideration  by OPC staff.

Please register for the webinar using the following link:

Ocean Litter Strategy Update

The Revised Draft Strategy is now being revised and finalized, based on the input received during the public comment period. The final Strategy will be circulated in early- to mid-April. We anticipate adoption of the final OPC priorities by OPC at their April 2018 meeting.

Read more…

CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife: More Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Open; One Area Will Remain Closed

On Dec. 24 and Dec. 26, more of the California coastline will open to the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. Some previously closed areas will open at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. Learn more…



Governor Brown Takes Action To Protect Oceans

Coronado – Taking action to combat climate change and help protect California’s oceans, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on President Barack Obama to use his authority to permanently prohibit new offshore oil and gas leasing in federal waters off the coast of California, signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to help expand offshore renewable energy development and joined global leaders to launch the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. Read more…

King Tides Could Reach 7 Feet in Bay Area This Week-KQED, San Francisco

Some of the year’s highest tides will hit California shorelines this week and they’re predicted to reach 7 feet in some areas.  Strong winter high tides, known as king tides, happen annually in certain coastal and low-lying areas like Highway 101 near Lucky Drive in Marin County and the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Visit KQED to learn more…

Five Things to Know About 2016 Dungeness Crab Season-San Francisco Chronicle

Dungeness crab season has arrived in the Bay Area, which is always cause for celebration in the kitchen. But with all the safety issues around crab last year, and lingering problems that are keeping some areas of the California coast closed to commercial fishing, it’s a good time for some Crab 101. Here are five things to know about Dungeness crab in the 2016-17 season. Learn more… 


San Francisco Chronicle: Sea level rise—a common threat, an array of answers

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on how Bay Area communities are preparing for a future with sea level rise. Read more…

Director Halberstadt Issues Statement on Signing of Bills Protecting Marine Environments

Sacramento – Ocean Protection Council (OPC) Executive Director Deborah Halberstadt released the following statement after Governor Brown signed into law two bills designed to protect our oceans and marine environments: SB 1363 (Monning) and AB 2139 (Williams).

“Although ocean acidification is a global phenomenon, the West Coast will face some of the earliest, most severe changes. These bills underscore the importance of taking action now on a local scale in California. OPC is ready to take action, as directed in these bills, and work with our network of partners on a federal, state, regional and local level to ensure that we safeguard our unique coastal ecosystems for the impacts of ocean acidification. We appreciate the leadership of the legislature, Secretary Laird, and the Governor in addressing such a critical issue facing not just California’s coast, but the entire West Coast and global ocean.”

SB 1363 highlights actions that can be taken at the local and regional levels to combat the global challenge of ocean acidification through eelgrass restoration and protection. AB 2139 incorporates many of the recommendations from the West Coast Ocean Acidification & Hypoxia Science Panel report released earlier this year and tasks Ocean Protection Council staff with monitoring and yearly reporting on progress and next steps. Both SB 1363 and AB 2139 elevate the issue of ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) within our legislature for the first time.

The Ocean Protection Council works to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

Several other leading voices in the ocean protection community expressed their support of the legislation.

“Today California took a giant step forward in confronting the threat of ocean acidification to the state’s ocean and coastal communities. This new legislation will ensure that the best science is brought to bear to reduce impacts, plan for change, and demonstrate that concrete action now can help protect the ocean’s vital services for all Californians in the future. We commend the leadership of the legislature, Secretary Laird, and Governor Brown in charting a path forward for a healthy ocean future.” – George H. Leonard, PhD, Chief Scientist at Ocean Conservancy

“These bills enable California to be the first of the west coast states to adopt broad-based actions stemming from the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel’s report, which in turn builds on the state’s leadership in establishing two unique and innovative California ocean institutions, the Ocean Protection Council and the Ocean Science Trust, who played pivotal roles in convening the Panel.” – Margaret Spring, VP of Conservation & Science and Chief Conservation Officer at Monterey Bay Aquariu


Media Contact:

Sam Chiu, Communications Director, California Natural Resources Agency (916) 651-7585,

 September 30, 2016




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