California Ports are committed to climate resilience and policies that protect our environment. Across our state, our public seaports have consistently advanced clean energy technologies by developing environmentally friendly port operations that go above and beyond regulatory requirements.

Building a Resilient Future

Improving air quality, protecting water quality and enhancing wildlife protection are among California’s highest priorities, and our public ports have been creating ambitious, innovative and cutting-edge programs that propelled California into the world-leading role of environmental stewards.

California ports employ environmental planning departments to ensure compliance with state, regional, and local regulations. In many cases, the ports exceed state and federal requirements.  They are proud of their efforts to protect our environment, which have had real, visible and lasting benefits. The San Pedro Bay is healthier today than it was during the 1970s, due in part to award-winning storm water pollution prevention programs established by our ports. Today, the Port of Los Angeles boasts the best water quality of any industrialized port in the world and the number of birds in the San Pedro harbor has more than doubled since the 1970s.  Across our state, all of California’s public ports have taken action that will significantly reduce harmful air pollution.

  • Offshore wind is a critical component to achieving California’s goal of 90% clean energy by 2035. From Humboldt to San Diego, California Ports are excited to play a role in offshore wind in California. Our ports possess the expertise ranging from manufacturing to workforce to  infrastructure that will ensure California’s success in launching this industry. CAPA is committed to ensuring offshore wind power is connected to their communities. \
  • Our ports are well  positioned to be used as hubs for the assembly, handling, and manufacturing supporting offshore wind. The Port of Humboldt Bay is currently developing an offshore wind terminal, opening the door to California’s first hub that will serve offshore wind energy installations. Additionally, the Port of Long Beach is completing a preliminary conceptual design to assist the state in its offshore wind gigawatt goals, as it is positioned to serve as a staging and integration facility for the assembly of the largest offshore wind turbines.
  • As California Ports work to reduce emissions and advance clean energy, supporting workforce and economic development in the communities surrounding seaports is crucial. Right now, the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are working together to develop a state-of-the-art training facility for current and future workers in the goods movement sector throughout the region. The facility will meet existing training needs for the critical workforce and help train them in the future on zero emission human-operated cargo handling equipment and heavy duty trucks.

Air Emissions

In partnership with the ARB, local air quality management districts, federal agencies, local jurisdictions, regional communities, and industry partners, ports have been particularly focused on air quality improvement efforts over the last decade – a focus that has led to significant emissions reductions and lasting transformations in our goods movement system.

Our large ports report emissions reductions on the order of:

  • 80% in particulate matter reductions;
  • 90% in SOx reductions;
  • 50% in NOx reductions; and significant GHG reductions;

These remarkable achievements are the result of concerted, comprehensive, and on-going air quality improvement efforts at our ports.

  • Since 2005, port-related air pollution emissions in San Pedro Bay have dropped 90% for diesel particulate matter, 63% for nitrogen oxides and 97% for sulfur oxides.  Targets for reducing greenhouse gases from port-related sources were introduced as part of the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update’s 2030 goal of  moving to 100% zero emission human-operated cargo  handling equipment by 2030 and 100% zero emission drayage fleet by 2035.
  • Similarly, the Port of  Oakland has continued to make significant progress towards its goal of zero emissions. In 2020, 83.1%  of the Port’s energy was carbon-free, and 70.3% was renewable.
  • In addition to the large container ports of Long Beach, Los Angles, and Oakland, the Ports of Hueneme, San Diego, and San Francisco have implemented shore-side power operations, allowing vessels to “plug-in” to the electricity grid instead of burning fuel while at dock.
  • The Port of San Diego has reduced energy use by 40% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 39% compared to 2008 levels. 

Water Quality

Water and sediment quality has been steadily improving as environmental policies have been implemented over the years; policies such as increased monitoring, assertive regulation by state and federal agencies, improved pollution source control, and dredging which eradicates amassed containments in harbor sediments are among the tools used by California ports to improve water quality.

  • The Port of Oakland has prepared the Sewer System Management Plan with a goal to effectively manage, operate, and maintain the sanitary sewer collection system owned by the port to help reduce and prevent sanitary sewer overflows and to mitigate the impact of those that do occur;
  • The Port of Stockton is developing and implementing an Environmental Initiatives Program that identifies opportunities for the port to enhance conditions in the Delta;
  • The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have expanded their water quality programs with the development of a coordinated Water Resources Action Plan (WRAP), a comprehensive effort to target remaining water and sediment pollution sources in the San Pedro Bay which has greatly improved water and sediment quality in San Pedro Bay over the last 40 years by working closely with federal and state officials and other stakeholders to develop measures that will further minimize landside and waterside sources of pollutants;
  • The Humboldt Bay Harbor District was the first port to implement a ballast water exchange program on the west coast of North America, to guard against the introduction of invasive species through ship ballast water.

Land and Resource Management

As stewards of the natural resources throughout California, ports strive to ensure wildlife has the opportunity to flourish by maintaining and improving natural habitats to the furthest extent possible; California ports have implemented programs to provide wildlife with such opportunities by working with state and federal agencies such as the State Lands Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Our ports are committed to protecting and preserving local fish and wildlife. The Port of San Diego, in partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy, and with grant funding from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Builders Initiative, deployed 360 reef balls, to create a native oyster living shoreline along the northern shoreline of the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve. This will create habitat, increase biodiversity, improve water quality, and improve resiliency of the adjacent coastal salt marsh from future climate change impacts.
  • Periodically, the Port of Los Angeles has teamed together with the Port of Long Beach to undertake comprehensive biological surveys of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor to assist with their efforts of sustaining their habitats. Surveys evaluate the area’s physical and ecological characteristics, including surveys of kelp, eelgrass, plankton, fish, benthic animals, and marine birds and mammals. These studies also address seasonal variations and the presence of invasive species, if any, and compare the ecological characteristics of various types of habitats found in different areas of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor;
  • In an effort to enhance marine resources, the Port of Los Angeles hopes to build a new artificial reef outside its breakwater, using clean concrete construction and demolition materials. The reef was designed in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Game, the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of Long Beach, the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, and local commercial sport fishing interests. The proposed reef would create new bottom topography to provide habitat for a multitude of reef-dwelling kelp, reef fish and other inhabitants. The reef is also designed to complement existing marine habitat and other artificial reefs previously established in Los Angeles Harbor.

Although much remains to be done, our ports have adopted ambitious plans and are implementing aggressive programs to protect and enhance our environment. California’s public ports are striving daily to improve air quality, to facilitate water quality protection, and to expand wildlife and habitat conservation.

Please visit individual port websites to read more about each port’s environmental programs.