International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Expert Assessment Group for California’s Marine Protected Area Network announced

Advancing the effort to add California’s marine protected area network to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List, IUCN has selected members of the “Expert Assessment Group for the Green List” (EAGL). Drawn from a pool of extremely qualified applicants, these 17 individuals represent California ocean stakeholders from a diverse array of sectors including: ecology, sociology, economics, and management; outreach and education; ocean business and tourism; California’s Tribes and Tribal Governments; commercial and recreational fishermen; citizen scientists; aquaria; and non-governmental organizations. Green List criteria benchmark good governance, sound design and planning, effective management, and successful conservation outcomes The assessment group will hold evaluation meetings and site visits to assess how California’s MPA network meets IUCN’s Green List criteria, and will recommend that the network be added to the Green List if all criteria are met. The initial evaluation process is anticipated to be completed by early 2019.

The following individuals have been selected to serve on the EAGL:
Haylee Bautista
Matthew Bracken
Cameron Dunning
Jan Freiwald
Russell Galipeau
Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš
Michelle Knight
Diane Matar
Russell Moll
Steven Murray
Cara O’Brien
Richard Ogg
Suzanne Olyarnik
Hawk Rosales
Jennifer Savage
Lori Walsh
Jim Webb

Draft MPA Monitoring Action Plan now available for public comment

California has developed a novel and cost-effective marine protected area (MPA) monitoring program to aid in the evaluation of the MPA network’s progress toward meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act. Phase 1 of this program collected regional baseline data at or near the time California’s MPAs were established. Phase 2 focuses on long-term statewide monitoring.

Beginning in 2016, funding for Phase 2 long-term monitoring has maintained or expanded the geographic scope of data collection in select ecosystems, maintained the capacity of CDFW to collect data through equipment upgrades, expanded science-management collaborations, and supported the development of the new California Open Data Portal (https://data.cnra.ca.gov/).

Moving forward, long-term monitoring will be guided by the MPA Monitoring Action Plan. This Action Plan, which is anticipated to be completed in Fall 2018, identifies priority metrics, habitats, sites, and species for long-term monitoring.

OPC and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife invite you to review the draft Action Plan and provide your feedback. As a member of California’s ocean community, your input is critical to ensuring fair and effective MPA management. The draft Action Plan and appendices can be accessed here:

DRAFT MPA Monitoring Action Plan (PDF) (2018)
DRAFT MPA Monitoring Action Plan APPENDICES (PDF) (2018)

Please submit comments to R7MPA@wildlife.ca.gov by August 16, 2018.

Thank you for your time and your continued involvement with California’s Marine Protected Area network.

Final 2018 Ocean Litter Strategy Released

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is pleased to announce the release of the Final 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy (Strategy). OPC partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and worked with California stakeholders to develop the 2018 Strategy. OPC adopted the document at their April 2018 meeting. Please click here for a summary of the contents of the Strategy. For more information on the Strategy Implementation Process, please click here.

OPC and CDFW seeking to add California’s MPA Network to the IUCN Green List

The Ocean Protection Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are seeking to add California’s MPA Network to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Protected Areas. The Green List is a recent IUCN initiative that aims to promote effective and equitable protected areas worldwide. More than 20 protected areas have been added to the Green List since the launch of the program in 2014; California’s MPAs would be the first U.S. site and the first MPA network to be added to the list. More information is available here.

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: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article198829809.html

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:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4959441043704580866