December 17, 2020 Meeting Highlights

The staff reports and comment letters associated with our December public meeting, our last of the year, are available here. The Executive Officer’s report, which contains updates and links to supplementary materials for activities and projects involving the Commission is available here. Chief among these updates is information about oil and gas decommissioning projects, offshore wind energy lease applications, and a recent Crockett Waterfront town hall.  Below are highlights from the December meeting.

Strategic Plan

Staff briefed the Commission about its newly released draft 2021-2015 strategic plan, a visionary plan focusing on climate change, evolving public trust values, Tribal partnerships, collaboration, and environmental justice, among other things. The Commission’s consultant provided an overview of the structure, content, and process, and the Commission’s Executive Officer provided context about the next steps and the importance of stakeholder engagement. The Commission expressed its commitment to continuous engagement with stakeholders and staff, and to continuing a robust and open dialogue as it works to finalize its new strategic plan.  February 1, 2021, is the deadline for public comment.  Staff will prepare a revised draft strategic plan after incorporating comments on its initial draft strategic plan.

California Marine Invasive Species Program Report

The Commission approved a report to the California Legislature on its Marine Invasive Species Program. This is the tenth biennial report to the California Legislature, and it summarizes California Marine Invasive Species Program activities from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019. The report contains information about vessel arrival patterns, ballast water discharge and biofouling management practices and patterns, the Commission’s vessel inspection program, and accomplishments over the past two years.  The report includes recent research on managing invasive species and recommends actions to improve the protection of California waters from the introduction of marine invasive species.

Environmental Justice Policy Implementation Update

The Commission’s new Environmental Justice Liaison, Yessica Ramirez, briefed the Commission on progress implementing its Environmental Justice Policy. This past year, the Commission has worked internally and externally on policy implementation, collaborating with environmental justice organizations, Tribal government representatives, and other agencies to implement the policy. Staff provided an overview of the policy and discussed key activities staff was involved in this year, including developing and convening a community engagement and outreach training, developing a train-the-trainer guide about how to effectively conduct community outreach and engagement, and participation in an interagency coordination group. Staff also summarized processes for environmental justice outreach and its new Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team.

Aquaculture in state and federal waters

Aquaculture has the potential to play a prominent role in California’s blue economy. Staff updated the Commission about recent state and federal policies and planning endeavors to facilitate the development of a more robust and sustainable aquaculture industry in California. These include developing a set of Statewide Aquaculture Principles by the Ocean Protection Council, an Aquaculture Permitting Guidance document from the California Coastal Commission, and the process to identify Aquaculture Opportunity Areas in southern California by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Staff summarized how the Commission has participated in these planning efforts and about the next steps moving forward.

Sea-level Rise Planning

Sea-level rise is an existential risk to public trust land, resources, and assets along California’s coast. Staff updated the Commission on its AB 691 (Muratsuchi) implementation, which is a law that requires certain local jurisdictions to prepare a sea-level rise vulnerability assessment for the Commission. The assessments include estimated physical and financial impacts on public trust land and resources, maps of projected sea-level rise, and proposed adaptation strategies. Staff reported it has created short two-page summaries that present the critical findings of each assessment. These windows into the full assessments highlight noteworthy elements of the full assessments. Staff has created, through these summaries, a concise summation of the ways that local jurisdictions with granted public trust lands propose to mitigate and adapt to rising sea levels.

Future Meetings

The Commission’s next public meeting will be in February 2021.  You can sign up here to receive updates about this and future meetings. You can also stay informed by following the State Lands Commission on Twitter.