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 A draft guidance document will be circulated for formal public comment in the fall of 2017.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…

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

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Media Contact:

Sam Chiu, Communications Director, California Natural Resources Agency (916) 651-7585, sam.chiu@resources.ca.gov

 September 30, 2016

 

 

 

Western States Fight Ocean Acidification

Dan Haifley, Our Ocean Backyard. Santa Cruz Sentinel, Oct.8, 2016.

Secretary or Natural Resources, John Laird, and his counterparts in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia convened an Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia science panel in collaboration with the Ocean Protection Council and Ocean Science Trust. Read more…