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Addis Introduces Bill to Accelerate Marine Life Restoration

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO — Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) today introduced the Ocean Life Recovery Act to accelerate California's marine habitat restoration efforts by establishing recovery goals for critical ocean ecosystems and a state structure to develop and support restoration projects.

"California's marine ecosystems are under unprecedented threat from climate change, pollution and coastal development," Addis said. "This critical legislation will set California on a path to restore our vital ocean habitats so that we can preserve these cultural and natural wonders for generations to come."

"Improving the health of our oceans is a critical part of mitigating some of the worst impacts of climate change," said State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), principal co-author of the bill. "Establishing these goals will allow us to measure progress and rehabilitate important habitat."

"Protecting our ocean habitat must happen now before it is too late, I am happy to join Assemblymember Addis on this important legislation," said bill co-author Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz). "We have recently witnessed the damage that can be done by climate change, with the atmospheric rivers we just experienced. This is just one sobering reminder that we must act now to address climate change."

Assembly Bill 1407 focuses on the restoration and recovery of the foundation of nearshore ecosystems – kelp, eelgrass and native oysters. This wildlife is ecologically important in marine life food systems and is home to a variety of invertebrates, fishes, marine mammals and birds. The collapse of Northern California kelp forests has been documented by University of California, Santa

Cruz researchers who found that the forest had declined by 95 percent in a 2021 study.

"With more than a 90 percent decline of key marine habitats, it's time we stand up for our oceans," said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs & Policy, California Oceans Program, The Nature Conservancy. "This bill is a critical first step towards aligning the state and Californians to invest the time and resources to protect California's unique biodiversity and sustain our coastal communities."

"California has an opportunity to reverse the rapid declines we've seen in critical coastal habitats like kelp forests, eelgrass meadows, and native oyster beds," said Margaret Spring, Chief Conservation and Science Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium. "We can't lose the places that buffer communities from storms, serve as nurseries for our fisheries, and lock away the atmospheric carbon that drives climate change. It's past time for a coordinated strategy and ambitious goals to restore these ecosystems. This bill will lay that groundwork, with our state partners leading the way."

AB 1407 adds California to the growing list of regions and states who are actively engaged in this work by establishing clear restoration targets for acres of kelp forests, eelgrass meadows, and native oyster beds restores. Moreover, AB 1407 facilitates interagency coordination to address hurdles that slow restoration efforts and creates an Ocean Restoration and Recovery Fund to support the development and execution of large-scale marine restoration and enhancement projects.

Dawn Addis was elected to the California State Assembly in 2022 to represent the 30th Assembly District. Dawn is a special education teacher who began teaching in public schools over 20 years ago, and holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in special education from San Francisco State University. She has teaching credentials in elementary education, secondary education and special education and is fluent in Spanish. Dawn's long record of community involvement includes co-founding the Women's March in San Luis Obispo and being a Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund board member. In 2018, she won her first elected office, Morro Bay City Council, and served from 2018 to 2022. Dawn is the first Democrat to represent the majority of San Luis Obispo County in the State Assembly since 1947. She is also the first Democrat from San Luis Obispo County to serve in the State Assembly since 1922 and the first Democratic woman ever to hold this seat. Dawn and her husband Marcus have raised two children on the Central Coast and they have one rescue cat named Oppenheimer.

CONTACT: Jim Evans, 916-319-2030