The December meeting took place both virtually and in Sacramento. State Controller and Commission Chair Betty Yee, convening the last meeting of her term, reflected on her eight years of service. Many elected officials and community leaders commended Controller Yee for her dedication and visionary leadership and reflected on her exemplary achievements and commitment to the people of California. On behalf of the entire staff, Executive Officer Lucchesi expressed deep appreciation to Controller Yee for her leadership in protecting and enhancing California’s public lands and resources.
The staff reports and comment letters associated with our meeting are available on the Commission’s website. The Executive Officer’s report has additional information about an array of initiatives and projects the Commission is leading or involved in, including seminal oil and gas decommissioning projects in Southern California and offshore wind energy development updates. Below are highlights from our meeting.
Marine Invasive Species Program
The Commission approved its 2023 Biennial Report on the California Marine Invasive Species Program, paving the way for its submittal to the Legislature. The Commission’s Marine Invasive Species Program is a globally recognized, cutting-edge program at the forefront of marine invasive species research and policy development. The report summarizes program accomplishments and suggests actions to continue protecting California waters from the introduction of nonindigenous species. The report also summarizes vessel arrival patterns, reporting compliance, and vessel inspections, as well as provides information about ballast water discharge and biofouling.
The Commission issued a 20-year lease to the South Coast Water District for elements of a proposed ocean desalination plant. The lease authorizes the Water District to construct, operate, and maintain five subsurface slant wells and operate and maintain an acoustic doppler current profiler.
The Commission deepened its commitment to remediating legacy oil and gas wells by authorizing its Executive Officer to take additional actions to implement SB 44 (Jackson, 2017). Chief among these actions is to leverage federal and state funding to increase the number of oil and gas wells that the Commission can properly abandon or remediate and to retain a contractor to study seep activity.
The Commission approved a lease to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep for wildlife rain catchers to provide a stable water source for desert bighorn sheep. The rain catchers will aid population growth, enhance survival, and facilitate genetic exchange.
The Commission issued a lease to the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority to abate invasive species, clean up debris, and facilitate public education programs and volunteer restoration work in connection with Los Cerritos wetlands restoration efforts. This wetlands restoration program promotes community involvement with environmental education, maintenance, restoration, and monitoring.
Future Meetings and Ways to Stay Informed
The Commission’s next meeting will be in early 2023. You can sign up on our website to receive updates about future Commission meetings. Another great way to stay informed is to follow the State Lands Commission on social media. You can also watch a webcast of the meeting on Cal-Span.org.