The Coastal Conservancy will administer funds for the Ocean Protection Council, for projects that carry out the purposes of the California Ocean Protection Act PRC 35500 et. seq.) and are consistent with the Conservancy’s authorities under Division 21 (PRC 31000 et. seq.).
As required by PRC section 75060 (g), the funds are to be allocated to the Ocean Protection Trust Fund, and shall include the following priorities:
- Development of scientific data needed to adaptively manage the state’s marine resources and reserves, including the development of marine habitat maps, the development and implementation of projects to foster sustainable fisheries using loans and grants
- Development and implementation of projects to conserve marine wildlife
Additionally, the California Ocean Protection Act (the Act) authorizes the use of the trust fund for a range of purposes including:
The Act also authorizes the use of the Trust Fund, when authorized by the OPC, as grants or loans to public agencies, nonprofit corporations, or private entities, or as direct expenditures for activities that accomplish one or more of the following:
A) eliminate or reduce threats to coastal or ocean ecosystems, habitats, and species,
B) Foster sustainable fisheries,
C) Improve coastal water quality,
D) Allow for increased public access to, and enjoyment of, ocean and coastal resources,
E) Improve management, conservation, and protection of coastal waters and ocean ecosystems,
F) Provide monitoring and scientific data needed to protect and conserve ocean resources,
G) Protect, conserve, and restore coastal waters and ocean ecosystems, and
H) Address coastal water contamination from biological pathogens.
In evaluating projects to be recommended to the OPC for funding, staff will refer to the OPC’s five-year strategic plan, `A Vision for Our Ocean and Coast` adopted in June of 2006 and the Ocean Protection Council Funding Guidelines adopted in November 2006. For projects dealing with scientific research or public education, staff will refer to the Information and Outreach Strategy, adopted by the Council in September 2005.
The OPC funding guidelines recapitulate the objectives found in the Act and the strategic plan, and also requires that to be given high priority by the OPC, a project must:
A) Directly relate to the ocean, coast, associated estuaries, or coastal-draining watersheds, and must address one or more of priorities established in the Act and the strategic plan,
B) Have public support, and
C) Be of greater-than-local interest.
The guidelines also give extra consideration to projects that:
A) Help resolve more than one issue,
B) Include matching resources,
C) Are ready to implement,
D) Are innovative, and
E) Involve a broad range of partners.
The guidelines anticipate both competitive grant rounds as well as directed expenditures to accomplish its objectives. The guidelines include a format for written applications for funding that must be followed if a project is to be recommended to the OPC. Proposals will be evaluated by committees established by the OPC and the Conservancy and in some cases by the OPC steering committee. Additionally, in reviewing science proposals staff may utilize the services of the California Ocean Science Trust, the Sea Grant Program, or other organizations.