YOU can help protect California’s kelp forests! We’ve partnered with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in the early planning stages of developing a statewide, ecosystem-based, adaptive Kelp Restoration and Management Plan (KRMP) for giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana). The KRMP development process is anticipated to occur over the course of three to five years. To successfully develop the KRMP and ensure it reflects the best available science and community perspectives, CDFW and OPC will collaborate with the ocean community through the development of a community working group and are seeking nominees for the KRMP Community Working Group. … read more
OPC is seeking applications to develop comprehensive environmental monitoring guidance for offshore wind development in California. The primary goal of this guidance document is to provide a clear and practical resource for regulators, developers, and other stakeholders involved in offshore wind projects in California to ensure that environmental impacts of offshore wind development are properly monitored, evaluated, and mitigated throughout the project lifecycle.
Informational Webinar: May 24, 2023, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PT
California Natural Resources Secretary Speaker Series
UPDATE: The recording is now available:
February 14, 2023 at 1:00 PM via Zoom
California’s 124 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) span our state’s entire coastline to conserve tidepools, sandy beaches, submarine canyons, estuaries, and kelp forests, and to protect all life that depends on these unique places. Established 10 years ago through a science-based and community-driven process, California’s MPA Network is now among the largest, most sophisticated marine conservation efforts anywhere in the world. State agencies have recently released a comprehensive assessment of how the MPA Network performed over its first decade, revealing where MPAs are making a difference and scientific questions that remain.
New Report and Research Funding Opportunity from Sea Grant and University of Southern California
A Deep Ocean DDT+ Research Needs Assessment for the Southern California Bight January 2023
The University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program and the California Sea Grant Program jointly announced the release of a new report and StoryMap detailing what research is needed most urgently to address the deep ocean DDT contamination off the coast of Los Angeles.
DDT, an insecticide banned in 1972, has harmful impacts on wildlife and potential carcinogenic effects on humans. The unknowns about deep ocean DDT+ instigated a call to action by researchers, national and state leadership, and the broader Southern California community. … read more
UPDATE: On December 19, 2022, more than 190 countries agreed on a landmark new deal to protect nature and halt biodiversity loss worldwide. The new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework calls for conservation action at an unprecedented scale, and includes a commitment to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030.
An unprecedented global gathering is currently taking place in Montreal, Canada, where representatives from 195 nations have convened at the United Nations biodiversity conference (COP 15) to negotiate a new agreement to protect the world’s habitats and species. COP 15 has been described as a “Paris moment for nature.” It is a once-in-a-decade chance – and perhaps the last opportunity before it’s too late – for nations to come together to halt extinctions and set the world on a path toward a nature-positive future. But a lack of national-level leadership across the globe, disagreements over financing, and the complexity of the biodiversity crisis itself have caused negotiations to teeter in recent days. Against this backdrop, a group of California leaders arrived in Montreal last week to showcase our state’s global leadership on biodiversity and push for an ambitious agreement aligned with California values.
It was a calm Friday at 6:30 a.m. when we left the dock on the vessel New Horizon from Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. At the helm was charter boat Captain John Klusmire leading a coffee-fueled group of deck hands and volunteer anglers, including six OPC staff, out along Central California’s rugged coastline. This wasn’t any old fishing trip; this was serious scientific business. Our host for the day, the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), has been collaborating on fisheries research with the help of scientists and fishermen since 2007. OPC staff were just a few of the volunteer anglers on board that day supporting CCFRP’s efforts of conducting catch and release data collection to evaluate the effects of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on fish populations.
In 1962, Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking Silent Spring exposed the devastating environmental harm caused by synthetic pesticides including DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). In the book, she wrote, ”How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” The book helped catalyze the environmental movement of the 1960s and led to the eventual DDT application ban in the United States in 1972. I was born a year after Silent Spring was published and nine years before the DDT ban, yet here we are a full half-century after the ban with DDT still causing ecological harm and posing public health risks to exposed populations.
We are pleased to announce a new solicitation for grant proposals for projects benefitting California’s ocean and coast, made possible with funding from Proposition 68, Chapter 9. This is the first competitive call for Chapter 9 funds. The priority issue area for this round of Proposition 68 funding is the nexus between marine protected areas and climate resiliency for species, habitats, and people.
The Letters of Intent Form is due on July 29, 2022 by 5:00 p.m.
By now, everyone in the nation, if not globally has heard about California’s groundbreaking new circular economy and plastic pollution reduction law: SB 54. Senator Ben Allen, an OPC council member, authored the bill and received tremendous support from the Newsom administration, leadership in the legislature, the environmental community, manufacturers, and waste managers: an extraordinary and unprecedented coalition. Governor Newsom, always ready to seize the day, put California into the global environmental limelight with a stroke of a pen on the same day as the Supreme Court condemned millions of people to devastating public health threats through a court ruling that prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction action on power plants. California’s move to an extended producer responsibility and circular economy approach to plastic pollution reduction builds on the state’s marine debris leadership through plastic bag bans, the ocean litter prevention strategy (PDF) developed by OPC and NOAA, and the world’s first comprehensive microplastics strategy (PDF).
Wednesday morning at the UN Ocean Conference started with a session entitled, “Interactive Dialogue: Minimizing and Addressing Ocean Acidification, Deoxygenation and Ocean Warming”. Not exactly a title that inspires confidence that major action was on the agenda (I am skeptical when the word “addressing” is part of an action agenda!). I couldn’t have been more wrong. The chair of the session was John Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate, and as part of a rousing speech on the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the good of the oceans, his first announcement was that the United States was joining the Ocean Acidification Alliance. Kerry emphasized that the 1.5-degree Celsius target was slipping from our grasp with every incremental increase over that target costing humanity trillions of dollars. Also, he highlighted the ongoing impacts of ocean acidification (OA), hypoxia, and marine heat waves on kelp forests, coral reefs, and more: an ecologically and financially devastating way to treat the source of over half the oxygen we breathe and the moderating buffer to some of climate change’s most devastating impacts.