West Coast
The Noyo Ocean Collective prepares to plan the future of Noyo Harbor (Photo: Fort Bragg Advocate-News)

CA - Noyo Ocean Collective seeks volunteers to help plan harbor’s future

The NOC received a three-year grant of $898,900 from the California Coastal Commission to plan and develop policies in line with the Blue Economy’s overall goals.

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Noyo Ocean Collective (NOC), formed after the conclusion of the two-day Fort Bragg Blue Economy Symposium held in May of 2022, is now accepting applications from interested community members to join a Community Outreach Team whose goal is to help create a long-range use plan for Noyo Harbor.

Volunteers will interface with community members to bring information about Noyo Harbor planning, which will be relayed to the Noyo Ocean Collective. No experience is necessary to apply. The NOC aims to spread relevant information about their work to as many different demographic groups in the community as possible.

Committee volunteers will be conduits to and from the public to aid NOC as it works to update Fort Bragg’s Local Coastal Plan (LCP), last revised in 2008. The LCP “provides guidance for future development and protection of coastal resources” within the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) jurisdiction.

According to the plan, LCP updates will “help ensure future development, strengthen our unique coastal character, provide a sound framework for economic growth, and protect coastal resources and public access to our coastline.” The focus will be on finding opportunities to diversify Fort Bragg’s economy, which depends on tourism.

The six founding members of the NOC, who also presented at the Blue Economy Symposium and identified their purpose as “creating climate and community resiliency along the Mendocino Coast,” are the City of Fort Bragg, Noyo Harbor District, Noyo Center For Marine Science; Mendocino College, Sherwood Vally Band of Pomo Indians and, West Business Development Center.

Noyo Harbor is only one piece of the NOC’s commitment to “implement a shared resiliency vision in which economic vitality and environmental sustainability are compatible, outcomes are equitable, and community priorities are centered.”

The NOC received a three-year grant of $898,900 from the California Coastal Commission to plan and develop policies in line with the Blue Economy’s overall goals.

Sarah McCormick, Special Projects Manager for the City of Fort Bragg, noted that teaming with CA Sea Grant, a research institute located in San Diego, “has been invaluable.”  The non-profit has financed this project’s two-year Coastal Mendocino Extension Fellowship position. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a master’s in marine affairs, Jami Miller is now on board to assist.

Her expertise comes with the added depth of her four university faculty mentors and all their resources from Scripps University, Moss Landing, San Luis Obispo, and Humboldt Cal Poly.

The initial overall plan proposal from the Blue Economy Symposium addresses three areas of need—first, the creation of an oversight and working committee, which has been finalized as the NOC.

Second, the collection and analysis of site-specific scientific data from the Noyo Harbor regarding climate change impacts and possible scenarios such as rising sea levels. Also included will be an aquaculture feasibility study, an analysis of the special district management of the harbor, and an assessment of the conditions of the harbor’s facilities.

The group will identify current land use parcels for development opportunities as part of this phase. When needed, expert consultants will gather and analyze data such as water quality, observe trends, and propose outcomes.

The third area of need is environmental justice to ensure that all these processes and proposals are equitable for all demographic groups and that a focus on public benefit that would benefit locals and tourists alike is included. Also, data sharing would add to the body of global research.

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