The Conservancy will disburse funds to specific projects for the protection of Monterey Bay and its watersheds. Projects will be developed by Conservancy staff working in close consultation with local government agencies and non-profit organizations. Conservancy staff will use a number of planning initiatives and processes, such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Marine Protected Area Action Plan, the Integrated Watershed Restoration Program for Santa Cruz County, the Elkhorn Slough Watershed Conservation Plan, the Carmel River Watershed Assessment and Action Plan, the California Coastal Trail Plan and others to set priorities for project development and eventual funding.
Before project phases are brought forward for funding they will be evaluated by the Conservancy staff to be consistent with the Conservancy`s Statutory Authorities, 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): Projects undertaken by the Conservancy with Proposition 84 funds will be carried out pursuant to one or more of the following authorities:
Natural Resource Restoration and Enhancement (reference: Public Resources Code Sections 31053, 31251, 31251.2):
The Coastal Conservancy is authorized to undertake projects to enhance coastal resources that, because of indiscriminate dredging and filling, improper location of improvements, natural or human-induced events, or incompatible land uses, have suffered loss of natural or scenic values. Under this authority, the Conservancy preserves and increases fish and wildlife habitat and other resource values through public actions including acquisition of resource areas, restoration of degraded sites, and avoidance of incompatible uses.
Integrated Coastal and Marine Resources Protection (reference: Public Resources Code Section 31220):
In order to improve and protect coastal and marine water quality, the Conservancy is authorized to undertake projects that protect and restore coastal watersheds and coastal and marine habitats. The Conservancy may undertake projects directly or may award grants for these purposes in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and regional water quality control boards.
Public Coastal Access (reference: Public Resources Code Sections 31400, 31400.1):
The Coastal Conservancy is authorized to identify and implement a comprehensive system of public access to and along the shoreline, including acquisition of necessary rights-of-way, installation of appropriate recreational support facilities, and provision of management and operation funding. The Conservancy has the principal role in ensuring that interests in property that are required and recorded pursuant to Division 20 for approved development to occur, are accepted and opened to the public.
California Coastal Trail and Inland Trail Systems (reference: Chapter 446, Statutes of 2001, and Public Resources Code Sections 31408, 31409)
The Conservancy is required to coordinate the development of the California Coastal Trail. As required by statute the Conservancy has completed a plan for the trail. The Conservancy may also award grants and undertake projects to expand inland trail systems that may link to the Coastal Trail.
Urban Waterfront Development (reference: Public Resources Code Sections 31301, 31305):
The Coastal Conservancy is authorized to restore the State`s urban waterfronts into environmentally sound areas through the creation of parks, open space and visitor serving facilities and to preserve, restore and enhance urban coastal watersheds. Pursuant to this chapter, the Conservancy may award grants for projects that encourage tourism, public access, and coastal-dependent private-sector development. In awarding such grants, the Conservancy gives priority to projects which promote excellence of design and the sensitive integration of buildings into the natural coastal environment.
Agricultural Preservation (reference: Public Resources Code Sections 31050, 31051, 31150, 31151):
The Coastal Conservancy is authorized to protect agricultural lands within the coastal zone, to preserve and expand agricultural economies and to prevent the loss of agricultural land to other uses. The Conservancy may assist in resolving conflicts between agriculture and urban uses and/or between agriculture and protection of sensitive habitat areas, through the maintenance of appropriate buffer areas and the development of projects demonstrating means of resolving specific issues. In acquiring property interests in agricultural lands under this authority, highest priority must be given to acquiring agricultural lands in urban fringe areas where the impact of urbanization on agricultural lands is greatest.
Solving Land Use and Development Controversies (reference: Public Resources Code Sections 31052, 31200, 31203):
The Coastal Conservancy may undertake projects for the purpose of restoring areas that, because of scattered ownerships, poor lot layout, inadequate park and open space, incompatible land uses, or other conditions are adversely affecting the coastal environment or are impeding orderly development. The Conservancy is authorized to assist local governments to direct new development to appropriate sites through public actions including transfer of development, lot consolidation and re-subdivision, hazard mitigation, and open-space acquisition financing.
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.
Each of these areas is broken down into specific programs with goals and objectives. Within the framework of overall goals and objectives, this plan also provides information on regional goals and objectives within the Conservancy`s four administrative regions:
- North Coast (Del Norte through coastal Marin counties)
- San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy (nine Bay Area counties)
- Central Coast (coastal San Mateo through Santa Barbara)
- South Coast (Ventura through San Diego counties)
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.