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.
We welcome your feedback on this draft! Access the OPC Draft Equity Plan, or visit the Equity webpage for more: www.opc.ca.gov/equity.
Public comment should be submitted to OPCEquityPlan@resources.ca.gov by June 23, 2022.
“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
At its December 7 meeting, the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) for the first time approved funding exclusively for coastal water quality projects that directly benefit Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities. A total of $7.5M in Proposition 1 funds will be disbursed to six projects that support multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection or restoration, habitat enhancement, resilience to climate change and community engagement.
While OPC regularly funds important ocean- and coast-related projects throughout the state, this is the Council’s first time soliciting projects that provide direct benefits to state-defined disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities, California Native American tribes, and communities that score above 80 percent on CalEnviroScreen results.
Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency and OPC Chair Wade Crowfoot commended the state’s investment in the proposed community-driven projects, saying, “This effort is a really powerful model for how the state can prioritize funding that more effectively advances both natural resources protection and environmental justice.”
OPC Wetlands Program Manager Maria Rodriguez agreed. “This is OPC’s first step in accomplishing a dedicated pathway for funding EJ communities and projects that put community benefits at the forefront and emphasize social and economic benefits,” she said. “These are elements that OPC is working to incorporate into other funding opportunities to ensure community benefits are meaningful, direct and can be delivered through projects or programs OPC is leading.”
Funded projects span California’s coastline
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An important component of Ocean Protection Council’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan is advancing more equitable and comprehensive ocean and coastal science research, policies, programs and projects that reflect the connection between people, communities, and natural systems.
To that end, OPC staff, in collaboration with funding grantee, Better World Group, began the development of an Equity Plan, beginning with forming an Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisory Group. Comprised of community leaders and advocates representative of California’s diverse regions, members will use their expertise to guide the Plan’s development.
The project team and EJ Advisory Group members will solicit feedback and public comment on the draft Equity Plan when it is released this fall. Staff anticipates bringing the final proposed Plan for adoption consideration at the February 2022 Council meeting. Members of the EJ Advisory Group are listed below.
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