As a surfer and general ocean human, contemplating moving to the State’s Capitol was a daunting task. The commitment was not necessarily a difficult decision. I mean come on…working for the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), what an incredible opportunity!! Nevertheless, the inland heat and lack of salt was still an obstacle. After clipping a few magazines I was able to keep my #bluemind on within my desk area.
One of the greatest achievements I had during my fellowship was facilitating drafting the guidelines and solicitation of the OPC’s Proposition 1 grant program. OPC has historically been a key funder in California for ocean research and coastal management. In 2014, the Water Supply, Quality, and Infrastructure Act (Proposition 1) was passed by the people of California. This act allocated $30 million to the OPC for multibenefit water quality improvement and habitat restoration projects. This opportunity required the reading of legislation, an understanding of the restraints with bond funding, the development of guiding protocols, and a handle on all of the public comment and revision process. With the wide variety of eligible projects, I am truly looking forward to seeing some the outcomes of the projects in the future. Seeing the Prop 1 and OPC logo on the finished projects will bring a smile to my face in knowing I helped (in a minor way) improve the water quality of California’s coastal waterways.
Overall, my time with the OPC was an incredible experience that allowed me to take advantage of unique opportunities. It’s not every day you get to testify in front of an Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection (skip to 2:25 for a bad joke). With the multitude of working groups and agencies OPC coordinates with, I’ve been able to make connections far surpassing anything I anticipated. The California Sea Grant State Fellowship has provided me the understanding of state government and even more so an idea of where I fit in the dynamic of science and policy.
One of the few mantras I live by is still true in the ocean and coastal science and policy world.
Be enthusiastic and optimistic.
If you’re stoked chances are the people you interact with (even through email) know that you are stoked. That vibe gets across very quickly and it’s contagious. Many of the people I’ve met go into government because they are passionate about something and want to work towards fixing complex problems. In the ocean policy world, the bottom line is that nearly everyone working in that field is totally frothing over the ocean. Some more so than others (I include myself in this category).
Accept the weekend warrior. Accept that you are not coastal. Yes you can thrive on the ocean in Sacramento (kind of). Getting waves will be during the daylight hours of Saturday and Sunday where Ocean Beach is probably windy and there isn’t enough swell to body whomp/get shacked at Baker.
The California Sea Grant State Fellowship provided me the opportunity to work in one of the most ocean oriented/protective/conscious governments in the world, California.
Always say #ThankYouOcean!
Check out another blog post Nick did on King Tides via the Inertia.
Written by Nick Sadrpour