About the Conservancy

The California Coastal Conservancy, established in 1976, is a state agency that works collaboratively to protect and enhance coastal resources and to create opportunities for the public to enjoy them. We work in partnership with local governments, other public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners. The Conservancy was created to implement multi-benefit projects throughout the coastal region. Our jurisdiction includes the coastline, coastal watersheds and the entire nine county San Francisco Bay Area, encompassing one third of the state and 75% of its population.

The Conservancy was created to implement multi-benefit projects that advance state priorities and improve the quality of life of all Californians by:

  • improving the quality of coastal wetlands, streams, watersheds, and near-shore ocean waters;
  • helping 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;
  • revitalizing urban and working waterfronts;
  • helping to solve complex land-use problems;
  • purchasing valuable coastal and bay lands;
  • protecting agricultural lands and supporting coastal agriculture;
  • accepting donations and dedications of land and easements for public access, wildlife habitat, agriculture, and open space.

The Coastal Conservancy has a staff of about 65 and a current annual budget of about $50 million. Since 1976, the Conservancy has granted more than $1.5 billion for projects to improve coastal resources. These projects have protected more than 300,000 acres of land, restored more than 35,000 acres of habitat and built hundreds of miles of new trails. The Conservancy has been funded primarily by state general obligation bonds approved by California voters.

The Legislature created the Coastal Conservancy as part of the state’s Coastal Zone Management Program out of recognition that not all problems can be solved through regulation.  The Coastal Conservancy’s work complements that of the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission two agencies that regulate land use along the coast and around San Francisco Bay.

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