Our year at a glance

By Liz Whiteman

This year the Ocean Science Trust (OST) team tackled pressing issues, built new bridges, brought people together, improved student futures, and much more. As we prepare for an inspiring year ahead with new team members and new ventures, 2022 will be marked as not only a year of great success in our mission, but also a landmark in our 20-plus year history. We celebrate the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 2287, the California Ocean Resources Stewardship Act (CORSA), which updates our founding legislation and reaffirms the essential role of independent science in spurring action on critical coastal and ocean issues.

To illustrate the reach and impact of Ocean Science Trust in 2022, we’ve collated a short list of top highlights and initiatives. We are grateful for our community and partners, and hope you will support us as we continue to bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and sound ocean management.

Launch of the Sea-Level Rise Task Force

To keep pace with advancements in sea-level rise science, OST is convening a scientific task force in partnership with the Ocean Protection Council to update California’s statewide sea-level rise guidance with the best available science and accessible guidance to plan for future sea-level rise. This effort will encourage both state and local partners to prepare for sea-level rise in a coordinated and consistent manner.


Connecting Nature and Insurance for Coastal Resilience

OST launched a new public-private, science-policy partnership to bring the power and financial weight of the insurance industry to bear on building climate resilience in California’s coastal communities. In partnership with the California Department of Insurance and the newly established Center for Coastal Resilience at UC Santa Cruz, OST is gathering decision makers, coastal and ocean experts, and climate insurance thinkers to design pilot projects and build a network of experts to facilitate the exchange of ideas between the international and subnational levels.


Roundtables on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Ocean Sciences

This past year included the culmination of OST’s first major effort to bring together a statewide community of changemakers from across ocean science institutions, sectors, and disciplines to advance DEI in California’s ocean sciences. We were pleased to release a proceedings report from our series of roundtables, which engaged individuals from 25 institutions of higher education and 18 ocean science organizations. OST is committed to advancing our role at the science-policy interface by creating a more inclusive, welcoming, culturally relevant, and equitable community.


A Science-Policy Workforce of the Future

OST continued to foster graduate training and workforce development opportunities this past year, hosting a dynamic set of interns and fellows from across California’s scientific and research institutions. From climate-smart fisheries to traditional ecological knowledge, we were able to offer our interns and fellows a unique, valuable experience at the evolving interface of science-policy, resource management, and science communication. OST has exciting plans in the year ahead to grow our operations and strengthen California’s science-policy workforce through accessible, inclusive opportunities.


Where Nature-based Coastal Adaptation and Equity Meet

In an effort to support the State of California’s ambitious goals around equity and biodiversity, conservation and protection of natural resources, and climate resilience, OST developed evidence-based policy guidance on equitable living shorelines. Working across sectors, OST engaged experts in academia, environmental justice, and policy to produce emerging recommendations for executive and legislative decision makers in implementing equitable nature-based shoreline management strategies.


Securing Science Services for the Legislature

Closing our second year of Legislative Science Services, this new program has emerged as a core function of OST’s science-policy mission, and a means to support evidence-based lawmaking. We worked with our partners on the landscape to deliver timely science information and advice, including a microplastic pollution briefing with CSU COAST earlier this year. Our unique role is highlighted by our recent engagement with the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, working to elevate science pathways for the kelp loss crises at the 49th Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum.


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