About the Conservancy

The California Coastal Conservancy, established in 1976, is a state agency that uses entrepreneurial techniques to purchase, protect, restore, and enhance coastal resources, and to provide access to the shore. We work in partnership with local governments, other public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners.

To date, the Conservancy has undertaken more than 1,800 projects along the 1,100 mile California coastline and around San Francisco Bay. These projects often accomplish more than one Conservancy goal. Through such projects, the Conservancy:

  • protects and improves the quality of coastal wetlands, streams, watersheds, and near-shore ocean waters;
  • helps people get to coast and bay shores by building trails and stairways and by acquiring land and easements. The Conservancy also assists in the creation of low-cost accommodations along the coast, including campgrounds and hostels;
  • works with local communities to revitalize urban waterfronts;
  • helps to solve complex land-use problems;
  • purchases and holds environmentally valuable coastal and bay lands;
  • protects agricultural lands and supports coastal agriculture;
  • accepts donations and dedications of land and easements for public access, wildlife habitat, agriculture, and open space.

The Coastal Conservancy has a staff of about 75 and a current annual budget of $50 million. Since 1976, the Conservancy has put more than $1.5 billion to work for the coast and the people of California. The Conservancy has been funded primarily by state general obligation bonds approved by California voters.

The Legislature created the Coastal Conservancy as a unique entity with flexible powers to serve as an intermediary among government, citizens, and the private sector in recognition that creative approaches would be needed to preserve California’s coast and San Francisco Bay lands for future generations. The Coastal Conservancy’s non-regulatory, problem-solving approach complements the work of the California Coastal Commission, a distinct agency that regulates land use along the coast and issues development permits. The Coastal Conservancy also coordinates its work with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, an agency created to protect and enhance San Francisco Bay and encourage the responsible use of its resources.

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