As a transplant to the San Francisco Bay area from Washington, DC, I’m still awed by the beauty, diversity and abundance of California’s coasts and oceans, and the commitment of the state government and local communities to protect and enhance these areas that are integral to who we are and how we live as Californians. An increasingly important part of protecting our coasts and oceans is responding to storms, floods, sea-level rise, and other climate change impacts. The recent Governor’s Executive Order B-30-15 calls on state agencies to integrate climate adaptation into their planning and investments, adopt flexible and adaptive approaches to account for uncertainty, protect the state’s most vulnerable populations, and prioritize natural solutions.
The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is taking action to address climate change
Even before Executive Order B-30-15, the OPC, the state lead on ocean and coastal adaptation, has been working with partners throughout the state to build resilience along our shorelines and in our oceans. The OPC has been addressing non-climate stressors that contribute to climate change vulnerabilities – such as strengthening water quality management and coastal development policies and reducing marine debris – and supporting the update of Local Coastal Plans to account for sea-level rise. The OPC also coordinates state coastal and ocean adaptation efforts and, together with other state coastal agencies, has been developing a plan to implement the recommendations in the state’s adaptation strategy, Safeguarding California, and to identify future adaptation priorities.
The OPC, with the California Ocean Science Trust, supports the use of science in climate-resilient decision-making
Integral to OPC’s adaptation efforts is promoting science-based decision-making. In California, we have a long history of drawing on the scientific community to inform ocean and coastal decisions and policies, and the structures that we’ve put in place - strong coastal legislation, a science panel on ocean acidification, and a statewide network of marine protected areas - are helping us make adaptation decisions that are grounded in sound science. These decisions are helping us build a foundation that makes sense now and in the future. To achieve these outcomes, the OPC has been working with the California Ocean Science Trust, a boundary organization that builds trust and understanding in science to empower broad participation in the decisions that are shaping the future of our oceans.
These efforts led by OPC are helping to ensure that the things we value about our oceans and coasts, things that help to define California such as clean, accessible beaches, abundant marine resources, expansive vistas and more–continue to be available to us and to future generations.