California Ocean Protection Council: Five-Year Strategic Plan (2012-2017) - A Vision for Our Ocean and Coast

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) was created in 2004 to help protect, conserve, and maintain healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems and the economies they support - as set forth in the California Ocean Protection Act. 

The OPC’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2017 uses a science-based approach to address climate change, sustainable fisheries and ecosystem health, land-sea interactions, and existing and emerging ocean uses. For each sector an overarching goal is articulated, along with key issues to be addressed by the Council. The plan identifies objectives for making progress toward each goal, as well as actions that the OPC anticipates undertaking over the next five years. 

Overall, the OPC will focus on five areas:

  • Science-based decision-making
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable fisheries and marine ecosystems
  • Coastal and ocean impacts from land-based sources
  • Existing and emerging ocean uses

The OPC’s climate change goal is to: “Prepare for and reduce harmful impacts of climate change on coastal development and infrastructure, public health and safety, the economy, and ecosystems by encouraging adaptation to climate change and engaging decision makers at all levels of government.”

Objectives identified to meet OPC’s climate change goal are to:

- Improve knowledge and understanding of climate change impacts among state, regional, and local decision makers.
- Encourage the development and adoption of sea-level-rise adaptation strategies.
- Provide for improved understanding of how changing climate and ocean chemistry will alter California’s ocean and coastal ecosystems and the benefits they produce.
- Based on improved understanding of ocean acidification, identify opportunities to reduce impacts by modifying management approaches.

Proposed actions to fulfill each Objective are detailed within the strategy. 

According to the plan, the OPC will take action to reduce the long-term risks to infrastructure and other coastal development, coastal access, public safety, and public health that will result from climate-related changes in storm events, SLR, coastal flooding, and shoreline erosion. The primary focus will be implementing actions identified in the Council’s March 2011 resolution on sea-level rise.

The OPC also will help ensure that decision-makers throughout California have the tools, information, and guidance that they need to successfully develop and implement coastal adaptation plans.

The goals, objectives, and actions outlined in this document are designed to reflect the state of California’s priorities and interests. They also are consistent with the National Ocean Policy adopted by President Obama in his July 2010 Executive Order No.13547 and the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.

At the August 27, 2014 OPC meeting, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution with a policy directive for state entities and non-state entities with projects using state funds or on state lands, to reduce climate risks to coastal and ocean resources. The resolution also directed OPC staff to work on key recommendations in the Safeguarding California Plan, including working with the State Coastal Leadership Group on Sea-level Rise to develop a concise visionary action plan.

Publication Date: February 17, 2012

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