State Coastal Conservancy
75060(c), ref 1, 75060(c), ref 2
Public Resources Code §31160 et. seq. (Chapter 4.5 of Division 21)
Public Resources Code §75060(c) provides for a sum of $108,000,000 to be available for the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy program pursuant to Chapter 4.5 of Division 21. Not less than 20% of the funds shall be expended on projects in watersheds draining directly to the Pacific Ocean.
Project proposals for funding under this section of Proposition 84 will be evaluated by Conservancy staff to assure that they are consistent with the Conservancy`s Statutory Authorities contained in the Conservancy’s enabling legislation, Strategic Plan and Project Selection Criteria. In evaluating potential projects that involve land acquisition or restoration for purposes of natural resource protection, the Conservancy will also give priority to projects that are consistent with the Proposition 84 Project Selection and Funding Provisions.
Conservancy staff will present the selected projects to the Coastal Conservancy board for funding authorization at one of its public meetings, which are held approximately six times per year. Funds will be disbursed pursuant to contractual agreements with the implementing agency or organization.
State Coastal Conservancy Statutory Authorities
Conservancy projects are carried out pursuant to the following statutory authorities contained in the Conservancy`s enabling legislation (Division 21 of the Public Resources Code). For purposes of implementing Public Resources Code §75060(c), the Conservancy will disburse funds to specific projects that will address the resource and recreational goals of the San Francisco Bay Area, as identified in Section 31162 of the PRC (the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy’s enabling legislation), which are specifically:
Conservancy projects are carried out pursuant to the following statutory authorities contained in the Conservancy’s enabling legislation (Division 21 of the Public Resources Code). For purposes of implementing Public Resources Code §75060(c), the Conservancy will disburse funds to specific projects that will address the resource and recreational goals of the San Francisco Bay Area, as identified in Section 31162 of the PRC (the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy’s enabling legislation), which are specifically:
- To improve public access to, within, and around the bay, coast, ridge tops, and urban open spaces, consistent with the rights of private property owners, and without having significant adverse impact on agricultural operations and environmentally sensitive areas and wildlife, including wetlands and other wildlife habitats through completion of regional bay, coast, water, and ridge trail systems and local trails connecting to population centers and public facilities, which are part of a regional trail system and are consistent with locally and regionally adopted master plans and general plans, and through the provision and preservation of related facilities, such as interpretive centers, picnic areas, staging areas, and campgrounds.
- To protect, restore, and enhance natural habitats and connecting corridors, watersheds, scenic areas, and other open space resources of regional importance.
- To assist in the implementation of the policies and programs of the California Coastal Act of 1976 Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000)), the San Francisco Bay Plan, and the adopted plans of local governments and special districts.
- To promote, assist, and enhance projects that provide open space and natural areas that are accessible to urban populations for recreational and educational purposes.
As described in Section 31163, the Conservancy cooperates with cities, counties, and districts, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, other regional governmental bodies, nonprofit land trusts, nonprofit landowner organizations, and other interested parties in identifying and adopting long-term resource and outdoor recreational goals for the San Francisco Bay Area. The Conservancy utilizes the criteria specified in Section 31163 to develop project priorities that provide for development and acquisition projects, urban and rural projects, and open space and outdoor recreational projects. The Conservancy gives priority to projects that, to the greatest extent, meet the following criteria:
- Are supported by adopted local or regional plans.
- Are multi-jurisdictional or serve a regional constituency.
- Can be implemented in a timely way.
- Provide opportunities for benefits that could be lost if the project is not quickly implemented.
- Include matching funds from other sources of funding or assistance.
State Coastal Conservancy Strategic Plan
The 2003 Coastal Conservancy Strategic Plan was prepared pursuant to the direction and guidelines provided by the Department of Finance in Management Memo 96-23 (8/9/96) and Budget Letter 96-16 (9/23/96). The Conservancy conducted public hearings and reviewed preliminary drafts on January 25, 2002 (San Diego), May 24, 2002 (Oakland), September 27, 2002 (Newport Beach), and December 4, 2002 (Oakland). The Strategic Plan was approved by the Coastal Conservancy at a public hearing on June 4, 2003 for transmittal to the Resources Agency and the Governor`s Office.
The document describes current and historic resource allocation by the Conservancy, public needs served by the agency, policies and principles guiding the Conservancy and its staff, and the intended and recommended future course of the agency`s efforts. For strategic planning purposes, the Conservancy`s eleven statutory areas are grouped into three program areas:
- Public Access;
- Coastal Resource Conservation; and
- San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program.
The 2003 Strategic Plan includes the following goals for the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program:
- Maintain up to date long-term resource and recreational goals for the San Francisco Bay Area to ensure efficiency and coordination among agencies and organizations in the development of project priorities.
- Protect, restore and ehance natural habitats and connecting corridors, watersheds, and other open space resources of regional importance to help ensure lasting ecological integrity.
- Improve public access, recreation, and education facilities, in and around the San Francisco Bay, coast, ridge tops, urban open spaces, and natural areas and complete major segments of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Ridge trail systems and connectors to other significant regional trails.
- Protect farmlands, including rangeland from urban encroachment
The Conservancy is in the process of updating its strategic plan. The updated plan will reflect recent changes to the Conservancy`s statutory authorities and new funding scenarios.
State Coastal Conservancy Project Selection Criteria
These criteria ensure that the projects proposed for funding are consistent with the Conservancy`s enabling legislation, are of regional or statewide value, are consistent with the purposes of the available funding source, are needed and ready to implement and are leveraged by other funds if possible. The project selection guidelines are as follows:
Key Criteria Required by the Conservancy
- Promotion of the Conservancy`s statutory programs and purposes
- Consistency with purposes of the funding source
- Support from the public
- Location (must benefit coastal resources or the San Francisco Bay region)
- Need (desired project or result will not occur without Conservancy participation)
- Greater-than-local interest
Additional Conservancy Adopted Criteria
- Urgency (threat to a coastal resource from development or natural or economic conditions; pressing need; or a fleeting opportunity)
- Resolution of more than one issue
- Leverage (contribution of funds or services by other entities)
- Conflict resolution
- Innovation (for example, environmental or economic demonstration)
- Readiness (ability of the grantee and others to start and finish the project timely)
- Realization of prior Conservancy goals (advances previous Conservancy projects)
- Return to Conservancy (funds will be repaid to the Conservancy, consistent with the Conservancy`s long-term financial strategy)
- Cooperation (extent to which the public, nonprofit groups, landowners, and others will contribute to the project)
Proposition 84 Project Selection and Funding Provisions (reference: Public Resources Code §75071)
In evaluating potential acquisition or restoration projects, the State Coastal Conservancy shall give priority to projects that demonstrate one or more of the following characteristics:
- Landscape/Habitat Linkages: properties that link to, or contribute to linking, existing protected areas with other large blocks of protected habitat. Linkages must serve to connect existing protected areas, facilitate wildlife movement or botanical transfer, and result in sustainable combined acreage.
- Watershed Protection: projects that contribute to long-term protection of and improvement to the water and biological quality of the streams, aquifers, and terrestrial resources of priority watersheds of the major biological regions of the state as identified by the Resources Agency.
- Large Unprotected areas: Properties that support relatively large areas of under-protected major habitat types.
- Habitat Linkages: Properties that provide habitat linkages between two or more major biological regions of the state.
- Non-State Matches: Properties for which there is a non-state matching contribution toward the acquisition, restoration, stewardship or management costs. Matching contributions can be either monetary or in the form of services, including volunteer services.
Authorized funds are disbursed pursuant to contractual agreements with the implementing agency or organization. Grantees or contractors must provide the Conservancy with a detailed scope of work, budget and schedule for the project prior to initiating any work. The Conservancy disburses grant funds for completed work upon approval of the Grantee’s request for disbursement and supporting documentation. Conservancy project managers approve payment of funds only after assuring that all requested expenses are for work that has been satisfactorily completed pursuant to the project scope of work and budget, and that the grantee or contractor is in compliance with all the terms and conditions of the grant agreement or contract. Funds may be disbursed as progress payments, billed monthly or upon completion of individual tasks, or upon completion of the entire project. The Conservancy withholds ten percent of all progress payments to be released only upon satisfactory completion of the project.
Grant funds disbursed for the acquisition of real property are deposited directly into an escrow established for the transaction upon Conservancy staff’s review and approval of all sale and title documents.
Prior to approving the final grant payment, Conservancy staff conduct a project completion audit. This process includes review and approval of the final work product, a site visit and inspection where appropriate, and a review of the contract and project files to assure that all required documentation is in place.
For projects involving construction, including environmental restoration and enhancement, the grantee must provide the Conservancy with an inspection report by a licensed architect or registered engineer or the grantee’s Public Works Director certifying completion of the project according to the approved work program, and with “as built” drawings or photographs of the completed project. The grantee must also agree to manage and maintain the improvements consistent with the purposes of the awarded grant funds for an appropriate period of time, generally not less than twenty years.
For projects consisting of the acquisition of fee title to real property, the grantee must record an Irrevocable Offer to Dedicate Title in Fee, deed restriction, or other legal instrument that serves to permanently dedicate the property for the acquisition purposes. Such instruments run with the land and are binding on the grantee’s successors in interest. These instruments also contain a provision that enables the Conservancy or its designee to assume title to the property should the grantee cease to exist or violate the conditions of the grant agreement. These instruments provide the Conservancy with the ability to ensure that the property continues to be used for the acquisition purposes in perpetuity.
For projects consisting of the acquisition of easements, the easement must contain provisions that serve to ensure that the property is permanently dedicated to the acquisition purposes and is managed and operated in a manner consistent with those purposes. The Conservancy also requires that the grantee monitor the real property at least once a year to ensure compliance with the conservation easement, and submit a monitoring report to the Conservancy. Provisions of the easement ensure that should the grantee cease to exist or violate the conditions of the grant agreement, the Conservancy or its designee have the ability to assume title to the easement.
No property interests, whether fee title or easements, acquired with bond funds may be used as security for debt or transferred to another owner without the prior approval of the Conservancy.