As we grapple with changes to our ocean of an unprecedented magnitude and scale, California Coastkeeper Alliance is urging action by communities and regulators to mitigate impacts and to make our marine ecosystems more resilient to change. CCKA is advocating for policies and regulations to reduce nutrient and organic matter pollution, which feed algae and bacteria that exacerbates acidic and hypoxic conditions in coastal waters. In particular, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and agricultural pollution source controls can mitigate local ocean acidification hot spots.
CCKA has long advocated that the State Water Board apply Clean Water Act protections to address ocean acidification. In 2010, CCKA advocated that the Water Board list coastal waters impacted by hypoxia and ocean acidification as impaired pursuant to Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Panel’s 2016 Report recommends that the State Water Board take the first step to do so by developing water quality standards to address ocean acidification. CCKA will work with the State Water Board to identify parameters that can serve as a basis to update the California Ocean Plan with revised water quality criteria.
California Waterkeepers and Blue Business Council Members are helping to collect science about how ocean acidification is affecting coastal areas and estuaries. Orange County Coastkeeper is partnering with scientists to assess the potential benefits of their eelgrass restoration in Newport Bay to help mitigate acidic conditions. Blue Business Council Member Hog Island Oyster Company is partnering with UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab and the California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN) to provide data that is used to inform decisions on Coastal policy at the state level through the California Ocean Protection Council. CCKA is also working with the State Water Board and Ocean Protection Council to make the ocean more resilient to acidification and hypoxia through robust implementation and support for the network of Marine Protected Areas.