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Ocean Acidification Task Force

The New York State Ocean Acidification Task Force drafted Ocean Acidification: Its Causes, Impacts, and Mitigation; A Report to the New York State Legislature (PDF) and public comment on the report is open through September 7, 2023. Submit written comments to with "OATF Report" in the subject line or by mail to Casey Personius, DEC Division of Marine Resources, 123 Kings Park Blvd., Kings Park, NY 11754. A public hearing will be held on July 25th, 2023, 1-3 pm at DEC Division of Marine Resources, 123 Kings Park Blvd. Kings Park, New York.

Ocean Acidification

Unhealthy pteropod showing effects of ocean acidification
Unhealthy pteropod showing effects of ocean acidification including
ragged, dissolving shell ridges on upper surface, a cloudy shell in
lower right quadrant , and severe abrasions and weak spots
at 6:30 position on lower whorl of shell. Photo credit: NOAA

Ocean acidification (OA) in the coastal waters of New York is the result of greenhouse gas emissions combined with polluted runoff from land. This causes the formation of carbonic acid which makes the ocean increasingly acidic. This acidity can adversely affect many of the marine animals that call this environment home. Unfortunately, the current rate of change of ocean acidification is faster than any time on record and New York's ocean and coastal water environment has the potential to be particularly vulnerable.

The Ocean Acidification Task Force (OATF) was established to ensure that the best available science is used to assess and respond to this emerging threat to New York's marine waters and fisheries. The task force has produced a draft report (PDF) to identify how to:

  • Mitigate: What can New York State do to reduce acidification in the water surrounding its coast, the Mid-Atlantic Bight, and the global oceans?
  • Adapt: How can we minimize negative impacts of the inevitable changes on New Yorkers?

Additionally, the New York Ocean Action Plan (PDF) has dedicated steps to combat Ocean Acidification (Action 15) and increase the resilience of ocean resources to impacts associated with climate change.

All are welcome to observe our meetings as the Task Force introduces its members, reviews the purpose of the ocean acidification legislation, and hears from ocean acidification experts. The public will also have an opportunity to comment on the proceedings.

Meeting Resources

May 25, 2022 Meeting Documents
December 17, 2021 Meeting Documents
December 3, 2019 Meeting Documents
January 22, 2019 Meeting Documents
November 1, 2018 Meeting Documents

Task Force Members

The OA Task Force is comprised of eleven appointed members, including experts in climatology, hydrology, economics, marine fisheries, aquaculture, oceanography, and ecology. As per the legislation that created the task force, these members have been appointed by the State Senate, the State Assembly, New York City, and Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as representatives of the New York State Department of State and the Office of General Services.

As the lead agency, DEC's appointee, James Tierney, will be chair. The OA Task Force's efforts will be supported by DEC's Division of Marine Resources in East Setauket and faculty of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. See Stony Brook University's website for additional information on ocean acidification.

James Tierney, Chair
Deputy Commissioner, Office of Water Resources
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Appointing Authority: Commissioner of DEC
John K. McLaughlin
Managing Director
Office of Ecosystem Services
NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
Appointing Authority: Mayor of NYC
Ian MacCallum
Senior Attorney, Legal Services
NYS Office of General Services
Appointing Authority: Commissioner of OGS
Jeff Herter
Division of Community Resilience and Regional Programs
Office of Planning & Development
NYS Dept. of State
Appointing Authority: Secretary of State
Marci Bortman
Director of Conservation Programs
The Nature Conservancy
Appointing Authority: Governor
Appointing Authority: Governor
Chris Pickerell
Marine Program Director
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
Steve Malinowski
Fishers Island Oyster Farm
Malcolm J. Bowman, Ph.D.
Distinguished Service Professor
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
Appointing Authority: Speaker of the Assembly
Carl Safina, Ph.D.
Endowed Research Chair for Nature and Humanity
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
Director, Safina Center
Appointing Authority: Speaker of the Assembly
Jeremy Thornton
Former U.S. Navy SEAL
Strategic Markets Director
Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Appointing Authority: Minority Leader of the Senate
Joyce Novack, Ph.D.
Peconic Estuary Program
Appointing Authority: Minority Leader of the Assembly
Appointing Authority: Nassau County Executive Jason Masters
Renewable Energy and Oceanographic Consultant
Gaiergy Corp.
Appointing Authority: Suffolk County Executive