March OPC Meeting Review

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March OPC Meeting Review

Postby cdawson » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:42 pm

TO: California Ocean and Coastal Community

FROM: Lester Snow, Secretary for Natural Resources

DATE: March 4, 2010

SUBJECT: March 2010 OPC Meeting Review

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) held its latest public meeting March 3, 2010 in Sacramento. Both the meeting summary, which provides an overview of important actions taken, and the archived webcast can be found online at:

New Council Chair
The Council held its annual election and voted unanimously to elect the Secretary for Natural Resources Lester Snow to serve as Council Chair for 2010.

Evaluation Expert Advisory Panel
The OPC appointed an eight-member expert advisory panel to work with the NewPoint Group consulting team to conduct an independent assessment of accomplishments to date and recommend how best to align the OPC’s future activities, actions, and strategies with the intent and purpose of the California Ocean Protection Act. The evaluation will provide practical recommendations to help guide the next phase of the OPC’s work and the panel of experts will help ensure the recommendations are both visionary and feasible over the next five years. The panel, in conjunction with the NewPoint Group, will: 1) develop recommendations based on evaluation of the OPC’s strategic plan; 2) help the OPC set priorities based on these recommendations for the next phase of their work; and 3) provide the groundwork for the strategic plan during the next five years.

Hydrokinetic Energy Panel Discussion
The OPC convened a panel of experts to provide information regarding a high profile issue in California – the siting and development of hydrokinetic conversion devices (“wave energy”). The discussion was lively and provided the council with an opportunity to learn not only about the latest wave energy technology and its potential impacts, but also about regulatory challenges and west coast regional efforts to encourage sustainable development. Council members questioned panelists about the type of devices that are currently planned to be tested in California waters and the potential impacts of marine renewable energy development off the California coast on the environment and other marine uses.

California Marine Renewable Energy Working Group
In addition to the panel, the OPC heard about the many federal, state, and local agencies along the West Coast engaged in managing or planning for marine renewable energy. OPC staff has been working to improve communication among agencies, project proponents, and stakeholders with the goal of establishing enhanced understanding and capacity to evaluate this emerging ocean industry. To facilitate inter-agency cooperation, the council voted to adopt a resolution to establish the California Marine Renewable Energy Working Group and to support the compilation of state agency data for use in marine renewable energy planning and management.

Ocean Observing:
For the meeting’s Spotlight on Science, Dr. Gary Griggs, Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and new OPC Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) co-chair, gave a presentation entitled, “Taking the Ocean’s Pulse: The importance of ocean observing”. The OPC-SAT is the expert scientific body that helps ensure the best available science is applied to OPC policy decisions. Dr. Griggs presented the OPC-SAT Ocean Observing Consensus Statement highlighting the scientific importance of ocean observing and the need for continued monitoring of California’s ocean to better inform management decisions regarding coastal and ocean resources. Council members passed a resolution to support the development, implementation, and maintenance of a responsive and integrated observing system in California by encouraging strong national leadership and promoting innovative collaboration among federal and state governments.

AB 1217 – Sustainable Seafood
The council learned about statute AB 1217, which directs the OPC to develop a sustainable seafood promotion program in California. The statute requires the OPC to develop four key program elements:

(1) a protocol to guide entities through certification schemes,
(2) a marketing assistance program for sustainable seafood,
(3) a grant and loan program for fishing entities to become certified, and
(4) a logo to identify sustainable seafood caught in California.

To help implement this law, the Council approved the appointment of a selected group of experts to a Sustainable Seafood Advisory Panel, tasked with providing advice to OPC staff on efficiently and effectively carrying out the mission of this statute.

Seafloor Mapping
Finally, the Council authorized the OPC and State Coastal Conservancy to accept and disburse up to $1,710,000 of federal grant funds. This money came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Minerals Management Service Coastal Impact Assistance Program to support the implementation the California Seafloor Mapping Program.

For more information about the OPC, please visit our Web site:

Thank you for your interest in helping to improve the protection of California’s ocean and coastal resources. I look forward to seeing you at the next OPC meeting scheduled for June 24, 2010 in Santa Barbara.


Lester Snow
Secretary for Natural Resources

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