Protecting our Ocean and Coast

Protecting and managing California’s 1,100 miles of coastal and ocean resources while safeguarding the diversity and abundance of marine life for generations to come.

Ocean Protection Council

In 2004, the California Ocean Protection Act created the Ocean Protection Council (OPC). The OPC works to ensure California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive coastal and ocean ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. OPC was created to improve the coordination and management of state efforts to protect and conserve our ocean. OPC accomplishes this with a focus on building partnerships and increasing communication among state agencies and with outside partners. A key tool OPC has at its disposal is serving as the administrator for specified bond and other funds. The ability to strategically deploy funds gives OPC the unique ability to break down traditional silos and support novel approaches to complex ocean management issues. OPC is committed to a continued focus on impactful projects and continued success in helping state agencies find leverage resources to conserve and improve ocean health across the state.

  • Marine Protected Areas. The Ocean Protection Council works with a broad suite of partners both inside and outside of government to effectively coordinate and advance effective MPA network management, guided by the priorities in the current MPA Statewide Leadership Team work plan.
  • Sustainable fisheries. Through close collaborations with management agencies and strategic funding of innovative fisheries management strategies and assessments, the Ocean Protection Council works to implement science-informed, ecosystem-based management approaches to California’s fisheries.
  • Climate change. As the state’s sector lead for coastal and ocean climate adaptation, OPC facilitates state agency working groups, advocates for action consistent with state policy priorities, catalyzes innovative action through funding, leverages resources to improve research and mapping, coordinates legislative and policy briefings and develops guidance documents for state agency action on coastal climate change impacts. The OPC also works with federal and state agencies and academic institutions to curate an evolving scientific understanding of ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) impacts, inform management decisions, and bolster coastal resilience.
  • Land-Based Impacts. The Ocean Protection Council works on a broad range of land-based impacts to the nearshore environment, including sediment management, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), and marine debris. The OPC’s recent allocation of Proposition 1 bond funds will allow an expanded approach to coastal and marine water quality issues.
  • Seafloor and coastal mapping. The Ocean Protection Council is actively engaged in efforts to collect and provide geospatial data about California’s coastal environment to inform management activities and scientific research.
  • Emerging ocean uses and threats. In addition to the topics listed above, the Ocean Protection Council seeks to be responsive to emerging ocean issues identified by our state and non-governmental partners. Staff can be reached at COPCPublic@resources.ca.gov.

Selected State and Regional Partners

OPC Science Advisory Team

The OPC Science Advisory Team (OPC SAT) is comprised of 26 scientific leaders in their field who provide their scientific expertise on management and policy issues to the OPC. Convened by the California Ocean Science Trust, members of the OPC SAT represent a broad range of disciplines, including social and natural sciences, environmental law, and traditional ecological knowledge. To learn more about the work of the OPC SAT and see a current list of its membership, click here.

West Coast Ocean Partnership and Regional Planning Body

The West Coast Governor’s Alliance on Ocean Health (WCGA) was established in 2006 to coordinate and encourage regional collaboration on protection and management of ocean and coastal resources along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington. The WCGA has laid a strong foundation for ongoing discussions about formation of a West Coast Ocean Partnership that would be more inclusive of tribal governments. The formation of this new partnership is occurring in parallel with the formation of a West Coast Regional Planning Body (RPB), which would facilitate marine planning along the West Coast.