Amy Vierra Consulting
Monterey Canyon bathy.jpg

Policy Expertise

Ocean and Coastal Policy Advice for Government, NGOs, and the private sector.

Areas of Practice


Climate change

Policy makers realize the false choice between mitigation and adaptation. We must now do both to protect ourselves and safeguard the natural environment upon which we rely. I facilitated a group of state agencies in updating the ocean and coastal chapter of the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy, the state's roadmap for adapting to climate change. These efforts were eventually integrated into the 2014 Safeguarding California Plan. The Ocean Protection Council has played a key role in synthesizing scientific advice on sea-level rise through the State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document and, during my time as Deputy Director, invested over $2.5 million for local communities to integrate adaptation in their Local Coastal Plans. 


land-use and coastal zone management

I served as the Natural Resources Agency alternate on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) from 2009-2013. BCDC is one of California's three federally-recognized programs under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). Through this appointment and collaborative work with the Coastal Commission and State Coastal Conservancy, I have a robust understanding of CZMA. 

marine protected areas and fisheries

I've been involved in marine protected area (MPA) designation and management since 2005, first serving as a consultant to the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative process in the Central Coast. During this process. I authored a white paper on how the state and federal agencies could collaborate on MPA management. Later, I helped write and execute an MOU between state and federal agencies on these topics. I also developed an estimate for the long-term costs for MPA management and co-authored an early iteration of the state's MPA monitoring plan. During my time as Deputy Director of the OPC, we made efforts to integrate MPAs into state fisheries management. The first formal fishery management plan (FMP) integrating MPAs was for Spiny Lobster and was developed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife with support from the OPC.


From 2012-2013 I facilitated a state interagency workgroup that was focused on providing comments to the State Water Resources Control Board in the development of their policy, eventually passed in 2015. I also served as an ombudsman of sorts, helping three developers of desalination facilities meet with state agencies early in their project development. My role was not to advocate for these facilities but to encourage an early and robust dialogue between developers and state regulatory agencies.

marine debris

My work in marine debris has focused around raising public awareness of the problem. As part of the California Thank You Ocean campaign, I was part of a team that developed web content and produced more than 11 video podcasts. I helped bring national attention to this issue by promoting marine debris as one of a select number of issues taken up by the Pacific Coast Collaborative, consisting of the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington and the Premier of British Columbia. PCC actions on marine debris include a 2010 Action Plan and a 2012 workplan on the issue of marine debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan.



seafloor and coastal mapping

California is the first large state in the nation to have comprehensively mapped its state waters. From 2014-2016, I served as project manager for the OPC's substantial investment in mapping. I led a state-federal steering committee to develop priorities for the future of the program.