Ocean Acidification: From Knowledge to Action - Washington State’s Strategic Response
Washington’s marine waters are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because of regional factors that exacerbate the acidifying effects of global carbon dioxide emissions. One of the most important regional factors is coastal upwelling, which brings offshore water that is rich in carbon dioxide and low in pH up from the deep ocean and onto the continental shelf.
Recognizing the risks of ocean acidification to Washington, Governor Christine Gregoire created the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification (referred to here as “the Panel”) to chart a course for addressing the causes and consequences of acidification. The Panel, convened in February 2012, was assembled under the auspices of the Washington Shellfish Initiative, a regional partnership established to implement the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Shellfish Initiative. Members included scientists; public opinion leaders; industry representatives; state, local, federal, and tribal policymakers; and conservation community representatives. The Governor charged the Panel to:
- Review and summarize the current state of scientific knowledge of ocean acidification,
- Identify the research and monitoring needed to increase scientific understanding and improve resource management,
- Develop recommendations to respond to ocean acidification and reduce its harmful causes and effects, and
- Identify opportunities to improve coordination and partnerships and to enhance public awareness and understanding of ocean acidification and how to address it.
This report, and the accompanying technical document Scientific Summary of Ocean Acidification in Washington State Marine Waters, constitute the Panel’s report of its findings and recommendations for action.