California Sea Grant releases new 2024-27 strategic plan

The plan guides the investment in research grants and funding, education, communications and extension activities, which includes applied research and community engagement in key focus areas.
Clare Leschin-Hoar and Katie Valentine

Every four years California Sea Grant updates and reevaluates our program’s strategic plan in an effort to ensure the diverse needs of California’s coastal communities and marine environment continue to be served.

Starting in early 2022, California Sea Grant staff gathered input from a range of stakeholders at the national, regional, state and local levels to inform our efforts as we prepared the new 2024-2027 strategic plan.

We surveyed members of our advisory board, coastal specialists and academic coordinators, the California Natural Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel and a broad group of influential stakeholders including individuals from local and state government, marine transportation and ports, K-12 and higher education professionals, coastal businesses, university researchers, native peoples, commercial fisheries (including aquaculture), nonprofit environmental organizations and coastal residents.

Responses to our surveys confirmed that California Sea Grant is both relevant and valuable — a meaningful reflection of our work when taking in the sheer size and coastal diversity of California’s coastal ecosystems and the near-constant level of human activity in the state’s coastal zones.


 Here are the key takeaways from our new 2024-2027 strategic plan that will guide our investments: 


Diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (DEIJA) are at the forefront of our efforts

California is the most populous and second-most racially and ethnically diverse state in the United States. This combination presents an incredible opportunity to ensure our program’s staff, funding opportunities and extension programming are accessible and address the priorities of the diversity of communities and individuals who engage with marine and coastal ecosystems. The new strategic plan lays out how we plan to put DEIJA at the forefront of our work over the next five years. 


We’re investing in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries

California’s coastline is home to the largest ocean-based economy in the U.S. — and fishing and aquaculture make up a critical part of that economy. We are working to guarantee that California’s fisheries, aquaculture, seafood systems and the environments that support them are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and resilient to future change.


Healthy ecosystems are a major priority

From its rich wetlands to its lush kelp forests, California is home to some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. But these ecosystems face challenges from multiple stressors, including climate change, nutrient and pollutant discharge, harmful algal blooms and more. California Sea Grant does its work with the health and resiliency of the natural wonders of our state in mind. 


We champion resilient communities

California’s residents are intimately linked to the health of the state’s coastal and marine resources. California Sea Grant is committed to helping coastal communities increase their natural and socioeconomic resilience. 

How are we doing this? By supporting sea level rise and coastal hazards science and planning; exploring new ways to balance economic and natural resource sustainability; and addressing harmful activities and pollutants. 


We want to ensure Californians are in the know about their local environment

The health and resiliency of California’s environment depend in part on the environmental literacy of its communities. That’s where we come in. Through mentorship by California Sea Grant-supported researchers, fellowship experiences with state agencies and outreach activities by extension staff, California Sea Grant empowers communities with the knowledge to make more informed decisions and policies.


As we move towards the future, California Sea Grant is steadfast in its commitment to providing the information, tools, training and relationships needed to help California conserve and sustainably prosper from our coastal and marine environments. 

We envision a future of resilient, thriving coastal and marine environments and ecosystems that are valued by and support the well-being of California communities. 

It’s all right here in our 2024-2027 strategic plan. We hope you’ll take a look.

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Headquartered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, California Sea Grant is one of 34 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.