OPC is pleased to release its comprehensive draft Equity Plan for a 45-day public review and comment. The OPC Equity Plan represents OPC’s commitment to advancing equity across ocean and coastal policies and actions in California and strengthening internal efforts to create a more inclusive workplace and workforce for California’s coasts and ocean. The OPC Equity Plan was collaboratively developed with OPC staff and leadership, funding grantee, Better World Group (BWG), and members of OPC’s Equity Plan Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisory Group.
The Equity Plan highlights the equity efforts within coastal and ocean policymaking and research that are primed for statewide action. Specifically, the Plan outlines priorities, milestones, and outcomes to increase communication and outreach; provide targeted funding and technical assistance; improve staff training and capacity; strengthen environmental justice policies, and further integrate community science and tribal expertise into decision-making.
The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) was created by law in 2004 with the passing of the California Ocean Protection Act. OPC is a Cabinet-Level State Policy Body within the California Natural Resources Agency. The mission of OPC is to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. To meet its mission, OPC is tasked with developing science-based policy recommendations to decision-makers and coordinating with other ocean-related state agencies and partners to advance state efforts to protect ocean and coastal resources informed by the funding, collection, and sharing of scientific data. What does that mean in practice? Well, at the start of this year (2021), OPC funded 15 coastal resilience projects using funds allocated to OPC through Proposition 68. These “Prop 68 Projects” – as we will call them throughout this mini-series – were chosen in large part for their alignment with OPC’s mission, and specifically our Strategic Plan.
So, what is Proposition 68? Well if you voted in California’s midterm election in 2018, you probably saw this proposition on the ballot. Proposition 68 was first drafted by Senator De Leon as a senate bill to enact the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 – but we know it as Prop 68, a proposition that voters passed, issuing $4B in bonds to be allocated to projects around conservation, water, and parks.
Thirty-five million of that $4B was allocated to OPC to use for grants for projects that ‘conserve, protect, and restore marine wildlife and healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems with a focus on the state’s system of marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries’ and $21.2 million was allocated to OPC to fund projects that ‘assist coastal communities, including those reliant on commercial fisheries, with adaptation to climate change, address ocean acidification, sea level rise, or habitat restoration and protection, including, but not limited to, the protection of coastal habitat associated with the Pacific Flyway.’ Our miniseries will focus on this last chunk of projects, those that were funded under Chapter 10 of Prop 68 – Climate Preparedness, Habitat Resiliency, Resource Enhancement, and Innovation.… read more
The Conservation of Coastal Waters Advisory Panel has released its summary document: Advancing 30×30: Conservation of Coastal Waters. The report can be found here.
The Conservation of Coastal Waters Advisory Panel collaborated to explore strategies that California could pursue to conserve 30% of California’s coastal waters by 2030 (30×30) in a way that is meaningful, equitable, and measurable.
The Advisory Panel includes specialists from a Tribal Government, a federal agency, academic and research institutions, and non-profit organizations representing a broad range of conservation expertise in coastal habitats and communities. Panelist bios can be found here, along with the questions that the panelists were asked to address — click on the Conservation of Coastal Waters Topical Workshop header to see both. The public is also being asked to consider how they would address these questions.
A topical workshop, Advancing 30×30 and Conservation of Coastal Waters, will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 3 to 6 p.m. that will feature a presentation from the Advisory Panel, as well as an opportunity to provide input on how California Natural Resources Agency and its partners can deliver on the State’s 30×30 goal. Register for the workshop here.
Public participation is key to these workshops, and participants will have an opportunity to share their perspectives on the topic. Key takeaways related to each topic will inform the State’s Pathways to 30×30 document and CA Nature GIS.
All meetings are open to the public and will be accessible by Zoom, a phone dial-in option, and YouTube livestream. Advance registration is required and participants who wish to make a 90-second public comment will need to register to provide verbal input during the public comment session.
Visit CaliforniaNature.ca.gov for additional information about the virtual workshop and other ways to provide comments