Advancing 30 x 30 in California Coastal Waters

An expert panel of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team


California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) working in partnership with OST will convene an OPC Science Advisory Team technical advisory panel to provide scientific guidance and recommendations on approaches to understand the extent to which existing spatial management measures in California’s coastal waters, beyond MPAs and Sanctuaries, meet the definition of a 30×30 Conserved Area.

Background and Expert Panel Charge

California’s coast and oceans are threatened by both climate change and biodiversity. In 2020, Governor Newsom signed the Nature-Based Solutions Executive Order N-82-20 which committed to conserving 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. While California’s network of 124 marine protected areas contribute to 16% of coastal waters already conserved, there is a need to explore if other existing spatial management areas similarly meet the 30 x 30 definition. Such spatial management measures – including water quality protection areas, area-based fisheries management tools, or military exclusion zones – may qualify if they are durable and deliver positive outcomes for biodiversity despite not being explicitly designed for conservation.

As part of the larger California 30 x 30 initiative, this technical advisory panel will provide clear scientific guidance to translate policy objectives for 30×30 Conserved Areas – such as durability, effective management, and biodiversity benefits – into clear and objective criteria useful for assessing the extent to which existing spatial management measures meet the definition of a 30×30 Conserved Area. The panel will also provide recommendations on approaches to address data gaps related to 30×30 to help inform future research projects.

Expert Panelists

Dr. Arielle Levine, San Diego State University
Dr. Katherine Seto, UC Santa Cruz
Dr. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Oregon State University
Dr. Chris Free, UC Santa Barbara
Dr. Tessa Hill, UC Davis
Dr. Jenn Caselle, UC Santa Barbara

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