About the Summit

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Golden State Waters brought top-level policy makers, government agencies, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector together to participate in a first ever Action Summit about protecting the waters where San Francisco Bay meets the ocean.

The waters on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge are some of the most dynamic and productive in the world. Just offshore of the Golden Gate Bridge are two National Marine Sanctuaries, a network of marine protected areas, and a complex mixing zone of Bay and ocean waters. The Bay waters provide a key link for the Pacific Flyway, extensive habitat for seabirds and marine species, and a passageway and habitat for important species of salmon, halibut, striped bass and Dungeness crab. These waters also support our tourism, hospitality, maritime shipping, sport/commercial fishing industries, and many other businesses. Our Bay Area location provides a sense of place that makes it both an international visitor destination and magnificent setting for those who live and work here. Put simply, protecting our Bay, coast, and ocean resources is essential for both a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Many advances have been made to protect the resources in the San Francisco Bay watershed and nearshore ocean waters, resulting in significant wins such as species like harbor porpoises returning to the Bay for the first time in 60 years. However this ecosystem still suffers from significant challenges.

Summit Objective:

  • Identify some of the key environmental challenges in the region where the Bay and ocean meet;
  • Develop an action agenda to address those challenges;
  • Obtain support for implementation of a plan.
Key Issues:
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Marine Debris (trash)
  • Marine Protected Areas and Habitats
  • Ocean Exploration and Technology
Strategic steps for the summit are to:
  • Assemble experts in the identified issues;
  • Identify the top priority challenges for each issue;
  • Create an action agenda and seek support for the Agenda;
  • Complete a final Action Agenda from input gained at the Summit.

2016 Keynote: Dr. Eric Terrill

Dr. Terrill Directs the Coastal Observing Research and Development Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He leads a team of experts in the operation and maintenance of maritime and environmental sensor networks supporting national ocean science needs. He was recently featured on 60 minutes covering his expeditions in the western Pacific.


Community Leaders

Dr. Sylvia Earle
Mission Blue
Explorer in Residence National Geographic
Jonathan Knowles
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Margaret Davidson
National Ocean Serivce
Senior Leader


Charles Lester
California Coastal Commission
Former Director
Larry Goldzband
SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission
Executive Director
Fred Keeley (Moderator)
California State Assembly
Former Speaker pro Tempore
Note: Subject area experts and additional community leaders to be announced.

Questions about the Summit? Contact Brian Baird at brian@bay.org