California’s coast and ocean are iconic. With the largest ocean economy in the nation, Californians’ quality of life and economic wellbeing are tied to the health of our ocean and coastal resources and the services—food, tourism, recreation, trade, wildlife habitat—they provide. State and federal agencies are entrusted with maintaining the health and productivity of our coast and ocean for all Californians. A wide range of legal mandates guide agency decision making to ensure sustainability in the face of a growing number of human activities along the coast and in the ocean. This Guide is designed to serve as a practical tool for California agency staff to both fulfill their legal mandates and protect California’s invaluable ocean and coastal resources for generations to come.
This Guide provides new and innovative information to improve the effectiveness of coastal and ocean decision making. It demonstrates how agency staff and applicants alike can apply four science-based guidelines—called ecosystem principles - to existing decision-making processes. These principles were developed by a team of leading scientists to help resource managers incorporate the best available scientific information about how to maintain and restore healthy ecosystems.
The Guide also includes a thorough analysis of the scientific basis behind the ecosystem principles, as well as a series of case studies that demonstrate how the principles can be practically applied to day-to-day agency decision making. The Guide is designed for use by agency staff charged with analyzing regulatory and permitting decisions that affect ocean and coastal resources.