Existing Ocean Protections

California is among the first states in the nation to establish guiding legislation to improve coastal and marine resource management, including the state’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) (1999) and the California Ocean Protection Act (COPA) (2004). Most recently, California joined with its sister West Coast states of Oregon and Washington to initiate the West Coast Governor’s Agreement on Ocean Health (2006), a cooperative effort to achieve:

  • Clean coastal waters and beaches;
  • Healthy ocean and coastal habitats;
  • Effective ecosystem-based management;
  • Increased ocean awareness and literacy among the region’s citizens;
  • Expanded ocean and coastal scientific information, research, and monitoring; and
  • Sustainable economic development of coastal communities.

Successful implementation of these policies will depend upon the collaborative efforts of coastal communities to develop regional strategies and stewardship practices that restore and protect our precious coastal and ocean resources.

Central Coast Watersheds Program

This program, directed by Dr. Monica Hunter, has successfully established partnerships among local and regional governments, as well as community-based organizations, to protect and restore watershed and marine resources.

This program targets four Central California watersheds and is currently focused on:

  • Protecting residential communities from flooding along the Pajaro River in Santa Cruz County.
  • Raising awareness and engaging diverse communities in watershed restoration for Pilarcitos Creek in San Mateo County.
  • Addressing public safety threats and environmental impacts of the seismically unsafe San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in Monterey County.
  • Improving the water quality of the Salinas River in Northern San Luis Obispo County.
  • Conducting the Coast and Ocean Regional Roundtable Project, a regional planning process to support implementation of new coastal and marine policies in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Learn the basics about the Central Coast Watersheds Program.

How You Can Help Ocean Health

Making the connection between everyday personal actions and impacts to water quality is the first step in joining the effort to protect our coastal and marine resources. Here are some ideas:

  • Use the proper amount of fertilizer and pesticides on lawns and gardens
  • Don’t wash your car in the front yard or on the street using chemicals
  • Reduce erosion by planting native plants, trees and shrubs
  • Plant a rain garden
  • Dispose of your household chemicals, motor oil and pharmaceuticals at an established disposal facility
  • Recycle plastic, glass and paper
  • Organize neighborhood and community clean-up days
  • Participate in local creek and beach clean-up days
  • Use refillable water containers instead of water bottles