Mitigation of California’s Coast and Ocean

From sandy beaches to open waters, and rocky shores to kelp forests, California’s coast and ocean are ecologically rich, home to a wide array of marine life, and a center of recreation and fishing. At the same time, they are vulnerable to the impacts of environmental disasters and coastal development activities. California is advancing conversations to broaden our understanding and approach to mitigation in response to these impacts.


Bringing Science to the Table

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) has asked California Ocean Science Trust to convene an OPC Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) Working Group to explore mitigation strategies in response to a range of environmental disasters (e.g., oil spills) and coastal development activities (e.g., desalination plants).

The Mitigation Working Group provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of what constitutes appropriate mitigation activities in a dynamic and complex marine environment, based on current and best-available scientific thinking. The Working Group will develop a brief white paper that evaluates current best practices in environmental mitigation by explicitly incorporating ecosystem-level considerations in the range of approaches and actions that can ameliorate impacts and enhance ecological resilience.

The white paper will function as a high-level overview of mitigation approaches and guiding principles that may be applied in multiple situations going forward. Although it will not develop specific mitigation projects, it will address mitigation related to accidental marine impacts, such as the recent Refugio Beach Oil Spill, planned impacts, such as desalination plants, and broader environmental impacts, such as climate change. The white paper is on track to be delivered to the OPC in Spring, 2016.


Working Group Members

  • Richard Ambrose – University of California, Los Angeles (Working Group Lead)
  • Sean Anderson – California State University, Channel Islands
  • Mark Carr – University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Steven Murray – California State University, Fullerton
  • Karina Nielsen – Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University
  • Pete Raimondi – University of California, Santa Cruz


Project contacts: Marisa Villarreal ( and Benét Duncan ( 


Learn more about the OPC Science Advisory Team here.

Project leaders

Rich Ambrose / University of California, Los Angeles
Mark Carr / PISCO - UC Santa Cruz
Steve Murray / California State University Fullerton
Karina Nielsen / Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University
Pete Raimondi / UC Santa Cruz