“As we look to 2022, our goal at the agency is to… continue California’s global leadership, combating climate change, transitioning our economy, and protecting our people and nature in the meantime. I believe strongly that people are resilient and that nature is resilient. We can adapt and weather these changes we are experiencing right now, and we at the Natural Resources Agency and across state government are focused on strengthening the resilience of our communities, our residents, and of our natural places to these changes we are experiencing. I’m optimistic that we will work harder than ever before and make unprecedented process toward building this resilience.” – from California Natural Resources Secretary and Ocean Protection Council Chair Wade Crowfoot’s end of the year video message
As 2021 brought global challenges to the forefront, the state of California responded with bold, decisive actions to protect our coast and ocean. OPC staff led multiple projects designed to restore wetlands, improve water quality, prevent plastic pollution, respond to environmental justice inequities, promote sustainable fisheries, protect marine wildlife and build resilience to climate change.
Despite the many looming threats, we continue to find hope in the form of scientific solutions to the planet’s biggest problems and in the promising work done by our grantees on the front lines. Join us in celebrating specific achievements from the past year below: … read more
To protect biodiversity, advance equitable access to nature, and combat climate change, the California Natural Resources Agency today released a groundbreaking document detailing strategies and opportunities to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.
“The level of collaboration and leadership by OPC on 30×30 has been tremendous. I look forward implementing this strategy together,” says Dr. Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat and lead for 30×30 California.
OPC has coordinated closely with Dr. Norris and additional CNRA leadership on the coastal and ocean components of California’s 30×30 initiative, building on the Conservation of Coastal Waters Advisory panel report released earlier this year. The pathway to conserving 30 percent of California’s coastal waters by 2030 will include the 16 percent of state waters currently protected within the state’s network of marine protected areas and a prioritized focus on working with federal resource managers to strengthen biodiversity conservation measures in California’s federally managed National Marine Sanctuaries, which currently cover 40.6 percent of state waters.
Sanctuaries provide an opportunity for California to meet or exceed the 30×30 target while ensuring that access and sustainable use is maintained. Strengthened protections within Sanctuaries could include:
Restoring and revitalizing indigenous stewardship,
Phasing out the use of particularly harmful fishing gear,
Strengthening water quality protections,
Restoring degraded habitats,
And/or banning single-use plastics within Sanctuary watersheds.
Moving forward, OPC will be working with the research community, other state and federal agencies, Tribes and Tribal governments, and coastal stakeholders – including commercial and recreational fishermen – to identify areas that are important for biodiversity in California’s coastal waters, assess major threats to biodiversity and explore additional protections that could be implemented to address those threats.
“OPC is looking forward to working with the National Marine Sanctuaries, fishing and environmental communities, and other ocean stakeholders to develop and implement a path to 30 percent conserved coastal waters by 2030”, said Dr. Mark Gold, Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy and Director of the Ocean Protection Council. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to leverage our efforts with the federal 30×30 initiative with an objective of thriving coastal waters.”
Do you have thoughts on how California can best protect biodiversity and achieve “30×30” for the coast and ocean? We want to hear from you! Visit CaliforniaNature.ca.gov to review the draft Pathways to 30×30 document and submit feedback by January 28, 2022.
Scientists have made it clear that stakes couldn’t be higher in the fight to save our planet’s species and habitats from extinction and devastation. On November 3, California became the first U.S. state to sign the Edinburgh Declaration, joining a global network of subnational governments promising bold action to conserve the planet’s biodiversity in the face of climate change.
The Edinburgh Declaration calls for transforming all sectors of society to address species loss and habitat destruction. It also highlights the key role that subnational governments can play in implementing global biodiversity goals.
California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis met with Scotland’s External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson at COP 26 to formally sign the Declaration. “The nature crisis is real. We must move faster and on multiple fronts to address the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss,” Kounalakis said. “I am proud to sign the Edinburgh Declaration on behalf of Californians and our strong commitment to this global effort. As a subnational party with 40 million people to protect, 105 million acres we rely on for food, water, and habitat, and the fifth largest economy in the world to sustain, we understand what is at stake. There is no future in business as usual.”
And California is already delivering on this vision. In October 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20, which elevates the role of nature-based solutions in California’s efforts to address climate change, protect biodiversity, and provide access for all Californians to the state’s precious natural areas. … read more
As a state, California boasts both the highest number of species total and the highest number of species that occur nowhere else. Our state’s animal and plant life is so varied that we’ve been named as one of 36 Global Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International. For California Biodiversity Day on Tuesday, Sept. 7, we’re turning our attention to what climate change means for ocean wildlife – and what we’re doing to protect the habitat those creatures rely on. (See the full line-up of California Biodiversity Day events here.)
Plenty of iconic ocean creatures can be seen from California’s shores including harbor seals, sea otters, elephant seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles and whales. Our tide pools feature anemones, urchins, nudibranchs, limpets, mussels, crabs and many more animals uniquely suited to living in these constantly changing homes. Cormorants, osprey, sandpipers, godwits and pelicans are only some of the hundreds of species of coastal birds diving, soaring and nesting along our beaches. Dozens of types of flowers and other plants dot long stretches of undeveloped coastline. This all combines to create a fascinating and beautiful 1,100 miles along the Pacific Ocean. … read more
On August 9, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth report on global climate change. The report, which was written by 234 scientists from around the world, provides a sobering outlook for the planet as global temperatures continue to increase and signals an urgency for action now. Many changes observed are unprecedented, with some impacts – such as global temperature and sea-level rise – increasing at a pace not previously predicted by scientists.
The IPCC report asserts that even if the world’s population completely ceased greenhouse gas emissions immediately, what’s already been emitted will continue to affect the atmosphere for decades to come:… 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