Understanding Opportunities for West Coast Conservation

As part of the Packard Foundation’s long-term commitment to west coast conservation, we recently commissioned a broad assessment of the California Current, the vibrant ocean ecosystem along the U.S. West Coast.

We’re pleased to provide you with a summary of the assessment, which was conducted by California Environmental Associates.  It reveals that:

  • While the California Current ecosystem remains vibrant and functional, it has been depleted over time.
  • Enormous progress has been made in addressing the most egregious stressors. However, those that remain – such as ocean acidification and coastal development – are more difficult to address.
  • Profound changes in response to climate change are expected and defending the status quo is not sufficient.

Other interesting findings from the report show that as many fisheries rebuild other data-poor and nearshore fisheries are of growing concern; already degraded estuaries will be further squeezed by shoreline hardening and rising sea levels; and shifts in seabird abundance indicate climate changes are already underway.

The findings of this assessment, along with other analyses and discussions with grantees and experts in the field, will inform the Packard Foundation’s strategic direction as we strive to ensure our efforts to safeguard ocean health are as effective as possible.  The Foundation remains committed to improving the management and condition of the California Current ecosystem, especially as climate change presents new challenges to ecosystem health.