California & the OA Alliance at COP23 Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany

On behalf of the California Ocean Protection Council, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance), OPC’s Climate Policy Advisor, Jenn Phillips, is representing California at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany and as hosted by Fiji, to integrate the ocean into the global discussion on climate change. Read this press release from November 13, 2017, to learn more about the OA Alliance’s new members, including Fiji, and new plans for action at the climate talks in Bonn. Visit the COP23 website here. Follow real-time updates on OPC’s twitter. And watch the OA Alliance panel on protecting coastal communities on the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) lead’s Twitter here.

California Stands up for Ocean Protection in New Comment Letters

California stands up for ocean protection in new comment letters to the federal government opposing offshore oil and gas drilling and urging the continued protection of the State’s four National Marine Sanctuaries.

“Readying California Fisheries for Climate Change” Report Out Today

The Readying California Fisheries for Climate Change report and in-brief are now available. The report identifies four climate change scenarios for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem and seven potential management strategies to adapt to climate change impacts. The report was produced by a working group of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) and the California Ocean Science Trust.

This project was developed for consideration by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to help inform the state’s process to amend the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) Master Plan. Products from this project have been submitted to CDFW for review and may be integrated, in full or in part, into a draft Master Plan Amendment. Additional information about the Master Plan amendment process, including key resources and opportunities for stakeholder engagement, is available at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Master-Plan.

Ocean Protection Council Adopts Resolution Incorporating Latest Sea-Level Rise Projections

On April 26, 2017, the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) adopted a resolution acknowledging a recent science report as a foundational piece for updating the State’s Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document and directing staff at the Ocean Protection Council to begin the policy update, which will help state and local agencies incorporate sea-level rise into their decision-making.

“This latest scientific report on sea-level rise off California should be of concern to all Californians,” stated California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “It’s not just the possibility of the seas rising a few feet in the next century—it’s what happens when there are extreme storms that magnify the difference. Our ongoing efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions could significantly help safeguard local communities and important infrastructure. However, this report indicates that no matter what, sea levels will rise off California’s coast; it’s just a question of how much. We must lower our greenhouse gas emissions and we must plan and take action with regard to the rising sea level.”

Read the press release on OPC’s adoption of the resolution here.

Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team Working Group Releases Report on Sea-level Rise Science

A seven-member working group of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team has provided the State with a report on the best available sea-level rise science — including recent scientific advances on the role of polar ice loss. The report, entitled Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-level Rise Science, includes key findings, an analysis of the contributors that affect how much sea levels will rise along California’s coast, as well as new information on the likelihood of sea level changes based on different greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

This report provides the scientific foundation for updating the State’s Sea-level Rise Guidance Document, which was initially released in 2010 and updated in 2013. Now, the Ocean Protection Council is leading a process to update this statewide guidance document, in collaboration with the California Natural Resources Agency, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the California Energy Commission and the Ocean Science Trust. The guidance document will reflect recent scientific advances and focus on the needs of local governments and state agencies as they incorporate sea-level rise projections into planning, permitting, investment and other decisions.

Public input will be integrated into the final guidance document, which is scheduled for adoption by the California Ocean Protection Council in January 2018. A series of listening sessions to better understand the needs of those who will use the guidance document are occurring on April 17 and 18, 2017. To register, please visit the Updating California’s Sea Level Rise Guidance Document page. A series of public workshops to share the science findings and solicit feedback on how stakeholders will utilize the guidance document will occur in May and June 2017. A draft guidance document will be circulated for formal public comment in the fall of 2017.

The science report is available here.

The press release on the report is available here.

For additional details on the process, please visit the Updating California’s Sea Level Rise Guidance Document page.

Updated Timeline for Proposition 1 Funding Process

OPC had originally planned to solicit projects for Round 2 of the Proposition 1 funding process in May 2017.  Staffing capacity issues have resulted in a revised timeline; OPC now anticipates updating its Proposition 1 grant guidelines in Fall 2017 and announcing a solicitation for projects in early 2018.  Additional information on Round 2 and OPC’s Proposition 1 Grant Program will be posted to OPC’s website as the updated process gets underway. If you have questions, please contact OPC’s Deputy Director, Jenn Eckerle, at jenn.eckerle@resources.ca.gov.

Ocean Protection Council Participates in an Uncommon Dialogue at Stanford University

Staff from the Ocean Protection Council participated in an Uncommon Dialogue, “Ocean Acidification: Setting Water Quality Goals” in mid-October 2016 at Stanford University. The meeting was hosted by Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and the Center for Ocean Solutions, the California Ocean Protection Council, and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. The full meeting summary and Executive Summary is now available. 

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…