On May 5, 2020, in its first-ever virtual Board meeting, the California Coastal Conservancy authorized $8.2 million in grant funding for projects to restore, protect and increase access to the California coast and San Francisco Bay.
Due to state and local Shelter-In-Place orders, members of the Conservancy’s Board, staff and the public convened via teleconference to discuss and approve 20 projects.
Among the grants awarded was $1,000,000 to the National Wildlife Federation to prepare engineering designs and construction specifications for a wildlife crossing that will connect the Santa Monica Mountains to the Sierra Madre Range over US-101 and Agoura Road, west of Liberty Canyon Road in the City of Agoura Hills.
The wildlife crossing’s primary beneficiary will be the mountain lion (Puma concolor) population in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. There are approximately 10 to 15 mountain lions remaining in this area, and the habitat fragmentation caused by US-101 causes inbreeding, territorial fighting, decreased genetic diversity, and declining health among the mountain lions. Scientists and wildlife managers predict the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains will be extinct in the next 50 years without a safe US-101 crossing at Liberty Canyon.
The Board also approved a grant of up to $500,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to prepare plans, designs, environmental review documents and a public works plan for a campground and associated amenities at the Malibu Bluffs in the City of Malibu.
One of the biggest barriers for low and middle-income Californians to accessing and enjoying the coast is the lack of affordable overnight options. Nearly 60% of Californians never spend the night when they visit the coast. This project will help expand coastal camping in Southern California. When constructed, the Malibu Bluffs Campground would add 50 campsites ranging from platform tent cabins/yurts to pop-up tent campsites, nearly doubling the number of campsites in the City of Malibu, which receives 15 million visitors annually.
- A grant of up to $94,700 to the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to improve and expand the Mattole Beach Campground, increasing access to low cost accommodations along the California coast.
- A grant of up to $1,300,000 to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy for the acquisition of the 113-acre Mill Bend property and preparation of an integrated resource management plan for the property, located at the mouth of the Gualala River in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
- Consideration and possible authorization to amend the January 18, 2018 authorization to disburse funds to the Marin County Resource Conservation District for restoring coho salmon habitat in San Geronimo Creek, to allow the Marin Resource Conservation District to use $25,000 of those funds for procurement, transportation, and storage of large woody debris for future use on in-stream coho salmon habitat restoration projects within the greater Lagunitas Creek watershed in Marin County.
- A grant of up to $150,000 to Sonoma County Regional Parks to prepare a master plan addressing resource protection and public use, including a segment of the California Coastal Trail and lower cost accommodations for the Carrington Coast Ranchin coastal Sonoma County.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
- A grant of up to $428,875 to The Watershed Project to finalize designs and construct green infrastructure and signage to improve water quality, prevent flooding, increase climate resiliency at a city park in Richmond, Contra Costa County, and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- A grant of up to $1,413,200 to MarinLink for the Novato Baylands Stewards to restore or enhance approximately 177 acres of wetlands through engaging local communities in Marin County.
- A grant of up to $970,000 to the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District to implement the North Reach of the Lower Walnut Creek Habitat Restoration Project, Contra Costa County, and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- Consideration and possible adoption of a Labor Compliance Program to allow disbursement of Proposition 84 funds for the Bel Marin Keys Unit V Phase I component of the Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project, City of Novato, Marin County.
- A grant of up to $440,620 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to restore 9.9 acres of wetland and upland habitat at Watsonville Slough Farms in Santa Cruz County, and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- A grant of up to $750,000 to the Carmel Area Wastewater District to develop plans, engineering designs, permit applications and environmental review documents for relocation of a wastewater pipeline in the Carmel River Lagoon, which will help facilitate the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement project in Monterey County.
- A grant of up to $194,689 to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County for construction of cattle grazing fencing and a water distribution system at the Pismo Ranch Preserve located adjacent to the City of Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
- A grant of up to $4,200 to the California Department of Parks and Recreation to acquire new beach wheelchairs at Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan State Beaches along the Gaviota Coast, Santa Barbara County.
- A grant of up to $130,000 to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to prepare designs, plans, permit applications, and environmental review documents for an all-access trail and improvements to associated visitor-serving amenities at Antonelli Pondlocated in the City of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County.
- A grant of up to $80,000 to the County of Santa Barbara for preparation of design plans, technical studies, and a County permit pre-application package for the addition of campsites, relocation of campground support facilities, and site improvements at Jalama Beach County Parkin Santa Barbara County.
- A grant of up to $186,024 to Trout Unlimited to remove a fish passage barrier on Potrero Creek, in the Carmel River watershed, in Monterey County and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- A grant of up to $1,000,000 to the National Wildlife Federation to prepare engineering designs and construction specifications for a wildlife crossing that will connect the Santa Monica Mountains to the Sierra Madre Range over US-101 and Agoura Road, west of Liberty Canyon Roadin the City of Agoura Hills.
- A grant of up to $500,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to prepare plans, designs, environmental review documents and a public works plan for a campground and associated amenities at the Malibu Bluffs in the City of Malibu.
- A grant of up to $177,000 to the University of California Los Angeles to conduct dune restoration performance monitoring for the Cardiff State Beach Living Shoreline Project, County of San Diego; this authorization will augment funding previously authorized by the Conservancy for Project implementation which totaled $2,899,332 and included $83,289 specifically for dune restoration performance monitoring.
- A grant of up to $15,000 to the Center for Natural Lands Management to complete a Property Analysis Record (PAR) for the Hobo Aliso Ridge propertyin Laguna Beach, Orange County.
- A grant of up to $50,000 to the Orange County Coastkeeper to prepare a business plan, evaluate design options, and prepare permit applications for the purchase and installation of ten prefabricated lower-cost bungalows at the Waterfront RV Parkin Huntington Beach, Orange County.
Photo of Bay area volunteers courtesy of California Coastal Conservancy.