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Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 26.5 added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 719, Sec. 1. )

CHAPTER 1. General Provisions [35500 - 35515]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 719, Sec. 1. )


This division shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Ocean Protection Act.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 719, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) California’s coastal and ocean resources are critical to the state’s environmental and economic security, and integral to the state’s high quality of life and culture. A healthy ocean is part of the state’s legacy, and is necessary to support the state’s human and wildlife populations. Each generation of Californians has an obligation to be good stewards of the ocean, to pass the legacy on to their children.

(b) The ocean and coastal waters offshore of the state are unique and valuable natural resources that the state holds in trust for the people of California. The state of our ocean’s health is well documented. Reports such as the 1997 Resources Agency report, “California’s Ocean Resources: An Agenda for the Future,” the 2003 Pew Oceans Commission report, “America’s Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change,” and the United States Commission on Oceans Policy’s 2004 preliminary report, document degraded ocean values, due to coastal and ocean development, onshore and offshore pollution, certain fishing and aquaculture practices, and invasive species, among other things.

(c) The preservation of the state’s ocean resources depends on healthy, productive, and resilient ocean ecosystems. The governance of ocean resources should be guided by principles of sustainability, ecosystem health, precaution, recognition of the interconnectedness between land and ocean, decisions informed by good science and improved understanding of coastal and ocean ecosystems, and public participation in decisionmaking.

(d) Good governance and stewardship of ocean resources necessitate more efficient and effective use of public funds.

(e) The state needs to coordinate governance and stewardship of the state’s ocean, to identify priorities, bridge existing gaps, and ensure effective and scientifically sound approaches to protecting and conserving the most important ocean resources.

(f) The California Ocean Resources Management Act of 1990 (Division 27 (commencing with Section 36000)) establishes the California Ocean Resources Management Program. The mission of the program is to ensure comprehensive and coordinated management, conservation, and enhancement of the state’s ocean resources, for their intrinsic value and the benefit of current and future generations.

(g) Terrestrial sources of ocean pollution in the state contribute to significant water quality degradation, causing deleterious impacts to public health and marine ecosystems, as well as coastal and recreational economics that are essential to the state’s future.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 719, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The coastal waters offshore of the state and the ocean ecosystems associated with those waters are natural resources that the state holds in trust for the people of the state.

(b) It is the state’s policy that all public agencies shall consider the following principles in administering the laws established for the protection and conservation of coastal waters:

(1) State decisions affecting coastal waters and the ocean environment should be designed and implemented to conserve the health and diversity of ocean life and ecosystems, allow and encourage those activities and uses that are sustainable, and recognize the importance of aesthetic, educational, and recreational uses.

(2) The ocean ecosystem is inextricably linked to activities on land and all public agencies should consider the impact of activities on land that may adversely affect the health of the coastal and ocean environment.

(3) It is the state’s policy to incorporate ecosystem perspectives into the management of coastal and ocean resources, using sound science, with a priority of protecting, conserving, and restoring coastal and ocean ecosystems, rather than managing on a single species or single resource basis.

(4) A goal of all state actions shall be to improve monitoring and data gathering, and advance scientific understanding, to continually improve efforts to protect, conserve, restore, and manage coastal waters and ocean ecosystems.

(5) State and local actions that affect ocean waters or coastal or ocean resources should be conducted in a manner consistent with protection, conservation, and maintenance of healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems and restoration of degraded ocean ecosystems.

(6) Improving the quality of coastal waters and the health of fish in coastal waters should be a priority for the state.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 719, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)


The Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of this division is to integrate and coordinate the state’s laws and institutions responsible for protecting and conserving ocean resources, including coastal waters and ocean ecosystems, to accomplish all of the following objectives:

(a) Provide a set of guiding principles for all state agencies to follow, consistent with existing law, in protecting the state’s coastal and ocean resources.

(b) Encourage cooperative management with federal agencies, to protect and conserve representative coastal and ocean habitats and the ecological processes that support those habitats.

(c) Improve coordination and management of state efforts to protect and conserve the ocean by establishing a cabinet level oversight body responsible for identifying more efficient methods of protecting the ocean at less cost to taxpayers.

(d) Use California’s private and charitable resources more effectively in developing ocean protection and conservation strategies.

(e) Provide for public access to the ocean and ocean resources, including to marine protected areas, for recreational use, and aesthetic, educational, and scientific purposes, consistent with the sustainable long-term conservation of those resources.

(f) Identify scientific research and planning that is useful for the protection and conservation of coastal waters and ocean ecosystems, and coordinate and assist state agencies in addressing those needs.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 372, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC