2008 Project Approvals

In 2008 the State Coastal Conservancy supported 147 projects along California’s coast and around San Francisco Bay with awards totaling more than $102 million. The Conservancy’s support for these projects is leveraging more than $178 million from the federal and local governments and private organizations. The funds are being used to protect natural lands, improve wildlife habitat, support local economies, and help people enjoy the coast and the Bay Area. The majority of the Conservancy’s funding came from resources bond acts approved by the State’s voters in 2000, 2002, and 2006.

To accomplish its goals the Conservancy relies on partnerships with local communities and more than 100 nonprofit organizations based in all parts of the coast and around San Francisco Bay. This network ensures that local residents inform the Conservancy about coastal needs and opportunities and are actively involved in the Conservancy’s work.

For Public Access along the length of the coast the Conservancy

• awarded $600,000 to Coastwalk to sign and map existing and new segments of the California Coastal Trail and to provide information about the trail to the public. The trail’s emblem will be placed on 300 miles of the trail and maps will be posted on Coastwalk’s website. The maps will assist in the planning for new trail segments. (November)

For Stewardship of Coastal Waters the Conservancy

• provided $600,000 to Trout Unlimited to prepare a feasibility study of water conservation recommendations for between five and eight key watersheds along California’s coast. Part of the study is being directed toward the design of agricultural water-storage facilities that would help maintain year-round instream flows for the benefit of salmon, steelhead trout, and other wildlife. (April)

South Coast

For the length of the South Coast the Conservancy

• provided $275,000 to the Department of Fish and Game for planning and permitting necessary for restoration of State Ecological Reserves at the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles and Buena Vista and San Elijo lagoons in northern San Diego County. The three reserves offer significant opportunities for improving some of the most important remaining wildlife habitats on the South Coast. (December)

• provided $50,000 to Environment Now to continue its management of the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project’s Local Assistance Program. The Program supports local organizations engaged in wetlands protection and restoration through technical assistance, regional coordination, and public outreach. (September)

For San Diego County the Conservancy

• awarded $680,000 to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for planning and permitting necessary for restoration of San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas. The work will lead to improvements in the lagoon’s water circulation and wildlife habitat and provisions for long-term maintenance and management. Although severely degraded, the lagoon is a valuable component of the network of habitats for birds and fish along the South Coast. (December)

• approved use of $600,000 for planning and permitting necessary for restoration of Buena Vista Lagoon State Ecological Reserve in Carlsbad and Oceanside. Urban development around the lagoon has constricted its habitat, and flows of sediments that settle in the lagoon threaten its continued existence. The lagoon supports a wide diversity of wildlife and is a prized amenity to the community. (December)

• awarded $297,000 to the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation to continue periodic openings of the lagoon mouth at Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, adjacent to Torrey Pines State Reserve in the City of San Diego. The lagoon openings—funded by the Conservancy since 1985—are necessary to maintain water quality in the lagoon, which is home to several endangered and threatened species of wildlife. (April)

• awarded $425,000 to the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association to study how sediments are transported in the coastal nearshore at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The study will assist in the review of current policies regarding sediment discharge and deposition in California and may well lead to lower costs for restoration projects and better use of sediments for beach nourishment and other purposes. (September)

• granted $380,000 to the City of San Diego for final designs, permit applications, and environmental review for improvements to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park on the western edge of Point Loma. The proposed improvements include trail construction and repair, restoration of native plant communities, and control of water runoff that is severely eroding bluff terraces. (September)

• provided $238,000 to San Diego EarthWorks to complete a detailed assessment of the Rose Creek watershed in the City of San Diego and to develop alternatives for the watershed’s restoration. The watershed serves as a wildlife corridor between Poway and Mission Bay and is a major contributor of pollutants to the Bay. The grant follows $150,000 contributed by the Conservancy for the project in 2005. (January)

• granted $150,000 to the San Diego River Conservancy to prepare plans for a system of public trails in tributary canyons of the lower San Diego River in the City of San Diego. The new trails will replace hazardous, erosion-prone footpaths and provide upland communities with safe hiking and bicycle access to river amenities, including a community park being planned for the Qualcomm Stadium area. (June)

• awarded $76,000 to the San Diego State University Foundation to develop a plan for data collection and restoration in the San Diego River watershed. The goals of the plan are to identify causes of poor water quality, flooding, and habitat degradation and to engage individuals and organizations in the watershed’s restoration. (December)

• provided $22,000 to the Endangered Habitats Conservancy for planning and permitting necessary for the restoration of native plant communities in Swan Canyon in the City of San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood. As part of a larger goal of integrating the canyon into the life of the neighborhood, the project aims to replace invasive vegetation, particularly giant reed, with plants that are native to the area. (September)

For Orange County the Conservancy

• awarded $1 million to Crystal Cove Alliance to improve public access and recreational opportunities at the Crystal Cove Historic District of Crystal Cove State Park. Slated improvements include refurbishment of four cottages for an Educational Commons and two cottages for overnight rental, conversion of one cottage to a house museum and lifeguard station, addition of pathways, and restoration of Los Trancos Creek. (September)

• provided $854,000 to the City of Laguna Beach for its acquisition of two properties totaling 15 acres for addition to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The purchases are the latest in a series of Conservancy-funded park additions since 2002 that have protected almost 250 acres of scenic wildlife habitat and added to the park’s extensive network of trails. (April and September)

• granted $120,000 to the Laguna Canyon Foundation for costs associated with future acquisitions of properties near Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park and for restoration of existing trails on recently acquired parkland properties in Laguna Beach. The parks are part of the 20,000-acre South Coast Wilderness Park system, a greenbelt surrounding the highly urban landscape between Newport Beach and Dana Point. (April)

For Los Angeles County the Conservancy

• provided $5.5 million to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for its purchase of 219 acres of undeveloped land for addition to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. The purchase will protect wildlife habitat, provide trail connections and habitat links to existing portions of the Preserve, and further the City’s Natural Communities Conservation Plan. (September)

• awarded $1 million to the City of Los Angeles for a pilot program to manage stormwater in residential areas within the Ballona Creek watershed. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from residences and improve the quality of water flowing to Santa Monica Bay. The Conservancy also awarded $600,000 to the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation to prepare a historical ecological study of the watershed, identify locations and volumes of water flows, and complete plans for the Ballona Greenway. The studies and plan will help guide ongoing work to improve the watershed’s natural and recreational resources and water quality. (April)

• provided $675,000 to the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation to collect and review physical, chemical, and biological data and collect native seeds as part of the ongoing planning effort for restoration of the Ballona Wetlands south of Marina del Rey. The Conservancy also awarded $175,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to complete final design and permit applications for access improvements that will open the perimeter of the wetlands to the general public. (June)

• provided $500,000 to the City of Los Angeles to retrofit one block of Riverdale Avenue, a residential street abutting the Los Angels River, with demonstration planters that will capture and infiltrate stormwater and urban runoff. The planters will help prevent polluted water from entering the river, contribute to groundwater recharge, improve neighborhood amenities, and serve as a model for infiltration technology standards being developed by the City. (June)

• provided $322,000 to Community Conservancy International for Phase II of the Green Solution Project. The goal of the project is to develop a network of parks and natural lands in which soil and plants capture and filter stormwater to reduce pollution entering Santa Monica Bay. (April)

• provided $268,000 to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to restore wildlife habitat on the bluffs at Point Vicente and in McCarrell’s Canyon. Both projects will include the replacement of invasive plants with native vegetation to benefit wildlife and reduce soil erosion. (April)

• awarded $200,000 to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to restore three acres of the El Segundo dunes and bluffs on either side of the Youth Development Center at Dockweiler Beach. The work will restore habitat for the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly and provide opportunities to increase public awareness of the area’s ecology. (April)

• awarded $250,000 to California State Parks for the Malibu Creek Environmental Restoration Study being prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study will evaluate alternatives for removal of Rindge Dam, which blocks the migration of endangered southern steelhead trout to several miles of historic spawning habitat. (April)

• awarded $300,000 to Heal the Bay for its volunteer-based Stream Team program to restore wildlife habitat and collect information about water quality and biological conditions in the northern Santa Monica Bay watershed. The restoration is primarily being done within Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu Lagoon State Beach. (January)

• provided $53,000 to the Mountains Restoration Trust for removal and control of giant reed, Arundo donax, and other invasive plants along Malibu Creek. This will be the second phase of an effort that began in 2000 to eradicate the creek’s Arundo, which is one of the most significant causes of habitat degradation along Southern California rivers and streams. (January)

• provided $40,000 to Santa Monica Baykeeper to enlist the community in the restoration of Malibu Creek and Malibu Lagoon. Outreach efforts will inform local residents about the watershed’s environment to build public support for the larger restoration of the lagoon, which will begin in the summer of 2009. For hands-on participation, local volunteers—particularly middle and high school students—will be recruited to replace exotic vegetation with native plants along a portion of the creek. The Conservancy also augmented, by $20,000, a previous Conservancy grant to the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains for the first phase of the lagoon’s restoration, which began in 2006. (April and December)

• granted $100,000 to Santa Monica Baykeeper to restore a portion of Stone Canyon Creek on the UCLA campus. The restoration will use student and community volunteers to replace invasive plants with native vegetation and maintain one of the few natural areas remaining on the campus. (April)

• awarded $100,000 to California State Parks to perform surveys and habitat assessments aimed at restoring populations of the California red-legged frog, a threatened species, within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. (April)

• provided $75,000 to Access for All to prepare site designs and complete the planning for development of three public coastal accessways at Latigo Shores, Carbon Beach, and Las Tunas Beach in Malibu. This is the third Conservancy grant to AFA since 2004 to open pathways to Malibu beaches. (December)

• provided $28,000 to augment a previous Conservancy grant to the San Gabriel & Los Angeles Rivers Watershed Council for planning to enhance wildlife habitat and build trails along Compton Creek. The Conservancy has been working with the local community and conservation organizations since 2000 to improve habitat and public access along the creek, which flows to the Los Angeles River. (January)

For Ventura County the Conservancy

• awarded $5.25 million, including $750,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to The Nature Conservancy to purchase 228 acres for addition to the Santa Clara River Parkway. The purpose of the parkway is to protect farmland, manage floodwaters, and restore the natural environment along the lower 23 miles of Southern California’s largest river. (April)

• provided $4.5 million to the Ventura County Watershed Protection District to purchase the nine-acre Matilija Hot Springs property and design two bridge improvements in preparation for removal of the obsolete Matilija Dam. The dam’s removal will enable endangered southern steelhead trout to reach historic spawning and rearing habitat in the upper Ventura River watershed and allow downstream flows to carry sand for replenishment of coastal beaches. (June)

• provided $1.5 million to the City of San Buenaventura for the Surfers Point Managed Retreat Project, which will widen Surfers Point Beach and relocate its parking lot and bicycle path. Within the last 20 years portions of the popular beach, located at the mouth of the Ventura River, have eroded inland by as much as 60 feet. (June)

• awarded $96,000 to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to acquire and prepare a stewardship plan for the 53-acre Drapeau property on the Ventura River. The property contains valuable wildlife habitat, and its purchase is another step toward the protection of the river’s 15-mile corridor between Matilija Dam and the coast. (November)

Central Coast

For the length of the Central Coast the Conservancy

• provided $900,000 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County for Phase 3 of the Integrated Watershed Restoration Program in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Mateo counties. The IWRP, which began in 2003 in Santa Cruz County, established a voluntary, non-regulatory approach to watershed restoration by funding project designs and permit applications and forming a technical advisory committee drawn from federal, State, and local resource and permitting agencies. Phase 3 will introduce the highly successful program to San Mateo and Monterey counties and enable its continued operation in all three counties. (December)

• awarded $225,000 to the University of California, Santa Cruz, to investigate the effects of coastal contaminants and other human-caused stressors on California sea otters and identify reasons that sea otter populations are not expanding. Early mortality and low birth rates among otters have been observed in recent years, and evidence suggests that causes include infectious diseases, parasites, and toxins resulting from human-related activities. (September)

For Santa Barbara County the Conservancy

• contributed $1.27 million to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County’s purchase of 143 acres of scenic dunes along Paradise Beach at Point Sal. The property is within an area particularly rich in native plant species and Native American cultural sites. The Land Conservancy intends to transfer the property to Santa Barbara County, which owns other park and conservation properties in the area. (January)

• awarded $538,000 to The Nature Conservancy to restore natural habitat, eradicate invasive species, and prevent the introduction of new invasive species on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the eight Channel Islands off the coast. TNC began this multi-million-dollar effort in 1978 and recently announced a rebound in the population of the island’s endangered fox, one of 12 species on the island found nowhere else on earth. (December)

• provided $290,000 available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Earth Island Institute for removal of fish barriers on Carpinteria Creek in the southern Santa Ynez Mountains. The creek’s watershed may offer the best opportunity in the region for restoring a significant run of endangered southern steelhead trout. The funding augments $510,000 awarded by the Conservancy in 2005. (September)

• granted $90,000 to Audubon California to plan for restoration of the lower Santa Ynez River and estuary on Vandenberg Air Force Base. The plan will identify the first phase of efforts to improve habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife, including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and southern steelhead trout. (September)

For San Luis Obispo County the Conservancy

• provided $5 million to the American Land Conservancy for its purchase of 2,400 acres known as Wild Cherry Canyon in the Irish Hills between Avila Beach and Port San Luis. The purchase will protect a variety of wildlife habitats, allow for a major expansion of Montana de Oro State Park, and provide the opportunity to build a critical link in the Coastal Trail. After the purchase, ALC will convey its interests to California State Parks in a phased transfer. (November)

• (1) granted $1 million to the Morro Coast Audubon Society to acquire an eight-acre property for addition to the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve on the south shore of Morro Bay; (2) authorized transfer to the Audubon Society of ten contiguous undeveloped lots owned by the Conservancy in the area; and (3) granted $100,000 to the Audubon Society to manage and restore these properties. The actions will expand the conservation of wetlands and protect water quality in the Morro Bay estuary. $500,000 of the Conservancy’s funding came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program. (January)

• provided $550,000 to the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers to renovate the historic Point San Luis Lightstation and to reconstruct an accessway between the lightstation and a sandy beach. The work will significantly enhance educational opportunities and public access to the lightstation and surrounding area. (January)

• granted $250,000 to the City of Morro Bay for construction of a pedestrian and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and bike path along the Morro Bay waterfront, extending from the City’s commercial district to Morro Rock and the south end of Morro Strand State Beach. The grant follows $500,000 awarded by the Conservancy for the project in 2004. (January)

• provided $100,000 to the Port San Luis Marine Institute to prepare and install marine education displays in the Avila Beach Marine Research and Education Center. The new displays—including shark and bat ray tanks—will bolster the Center’s growing stature as a community-based marine science research and education facility. The grant follows $120,000 awarded by the Conservancy for the Center in 2005. (January)

For Monterey County the Conservancy

• authorized use of $6 million, of which half will be contributed by California American Water, to develop final design plans and prepare permits for the removal of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, and awarded $120,000 to the Planning and Conservation League Foundation for the project. The obsolete dam poses a significant threat to downstream lives and property and is a barrier to the migration of steelhead trout. The Conservancy has been working since 2000 with California American Water, which owns the dam, and several government agencies and conservation organizations for the removal. (June and September)

• provided $500,000 to the Big Sur Land Trust for its purchase of the 12-acre McWhorter Property for addition to the Carmel River Parkway. The property contains portions of the river channel and forested floodplain and offers excellent opportunities for public access and habitat restoration. Long-term plans for the Parkway call for protection and restoration of lands within the river’s ecosystem, development of educational facilities, and installation of a trail network connected to neighboring public lands. (January)

• awarded $250,000 to the Big Sur Land Trust to prepare plans for the Lower Carmel River Floodplain Restoration Project. Key objectives of the project include restoring 90 acres of wildlife habitat in the river’s historic floodplain, recharging groundwater, reducing flood flows in urban areas, reconnecting the east and west sides of the floodplain, and improving the quality of water entering the Carmel River Lagoon. (June)

• authorized acceptance of an estimated $550,000 annually from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and award of these funds to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to continue its work for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. The foundation has been working since 1982 to protect and restore Elkhorn Slough, the largest estuary of Monterey Bay and one of the most ecologically rich environments in California. (December)

For Santa Cruz County the Conservancy

• awarded $7,180,000 to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County for its purchase of four parcels totaling 486 acres along Watsonville Slough. The purchase will protect farmland and wildlife habitat and link two existing preserves in one of the Central Coast’s largest areas of freshwater wetlands. After the purchase, farming will continue on upland portions of the property and the remainder will be managed to benefit wildlife and improve water quality. (November)

• provided $1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Board for its purchase of the 64-acre Willow Canyon property near Aptos. The purchase will protect habitat for the endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander and several other rare and threatened species of animals and plants. (June)

• awarded $300,000 to the County to retrofit one Eureka Canyon Road culvert and replace another to restore fish passage in Shingle Mill Gulch, a tributary of Corralitos Creek. The work is part of a greater effort to retrofit several fish passage barriers in the Corralitos Creek watershed, which flows to the Pajaro River and supports one of the most robust runs of steelhead trout in the region. (June)

For the Coastside of San Mateo County the Conservancy

• provided $3 million to Peninsula Open Space Trust to construct and operate, for three years, a three-mile blufftop segment of the California Coastal Trail at Cowell Ranch and Purisima Farms, just south of Half Moon Bay. The trail will be accessible to pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs and will extend southward from a small State beach to a planned parking/staging area near Highway One. (June)

• awarded $500,000 to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to build segments of the Mori Point Coastal Trail and restore wildlife habitat on National Park Service property in the City of Pacifica. The trail work will complete the construction, which began in 2007, of four miles of the California Coastal Trail and connecting trails at Mori Point, including long sections of trails that will be wheelchair accessible. (January)

San Francisco Bay Area

For the Greater San Francisco Bay Area the Conservancy

• made $4,250,000 available for Phase I of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, the largest tidal wetlands restoration project on the West Coast, plus an additional $300,000 for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study. The funding will support the first major restoration of the 15,100-acre salt ponds, for which planning has been underway since 2003. The shoreline study will identify additional opportunities for flood control, habitat restoration, and public access in the South Bay. (November)

• awarded a block grant of $3 million to the Association of Bay Area Governments for projects to extend and improve the San Francisco Bay Trail within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Conservancy also approved funding for Bay Trail projects in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties—information about these projects is provided under the county listings below. Since 1998 the Conservancy has provided more than $21 million for Bay Trail projects along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. (December)

• continued its support for the Bay Area Ridge Trail by approving projects to extend and improve the trail in San Mateo, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, and Marin counties. Information about these projects is provided under the county listings below.

• made more than $2 million available to continue an aggressive effort to stem the spread of invasive Spartina, a type of fast-growing cordgrass that presents a serious threat to native wildlife habitat. The Conservancy has been working since 1999 to eradicate the noxious weed, which is now considered to be under control. $250,000 of the funding is available from the State Wildlife Conservation Board. (April and September)

• awarded $360,000 to Greenbelt Alliance to complete the Upland Habitat Goals report, update the Transit to Outdoors map, conduct workshops to improve the effectiveness of San Francisco Bay Area land conservation and stewardship measures, and further the natural resource and recreational goals of the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program. (April)

• awarded $225,000 to the San Francisco Estuary Institute for non-native oyster eradication in San Francisco Bay. The eradication effort began in 2006, when the fast-growing exotic oyster Crassostrea gigas was found in both southern and northern parts of the Bay. The establishment and spread of the oyster could seriously harm native habitats and food webs and interfere with habitat restoration. (June)

• provided $165,000 to the San Francisco Estuary Institute to study the feasibility of, and develop recommendations for, treating or removing creosote-treated pilings and similar structures in San Francisco Bay. The pilings are a source of environmental contaminants and can be a navigation hazard, but they also serve as bird perches and some have historical interest. The work is supporting the San Francisco Bay Subtidal Habitat Goals Project. (April)

• provided $100,000 to the Association of Bay Area Governments to organize and present the State of the Estuary Conference in the fall of 2009. The biennial, three-day conference brings together scientists, managers, interest groups, and the public to address the protection and restoration of the Bay-Delta Estuary. (December)

• granted $45,000 to the Coastal Conservancy Association to provide technical scientific services to the San Francisco Bay Subtidal Habitat Goals Project. The project is a public and private effort to establish a long-term management vision for the protection, restoration, and use of San Francisco Bay’s underwater habitats. The funding will be used to support members of the project’s science and restoration committees. (December)

• augmented by $20,000 an existing contract for environmental review of the plan for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, a proposed network of access sites enabling people in non-motorized boats to enjoy single- and multiple-day trips in San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy also awarded $20,000 to the Association of Bay Area Governments to prepare plans for water trail signs. (April)

For San Francisco the Conservancy

• provided $1 million to the California State Parks Foundation to restore tidal wetlands and other bay shoreline habitats at Yosemite Slough in the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. The project aims to improve the site’s degraded fish and wildlife habitat in conjunction with improvements to parkland adjacent to residential neighborhoods. The funding comes from the Wildlife Conservation Board and follows more than $3 million provided by the Conservancy and WCB in 2006. (December)

• awarded $500,000 to The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District to design improvements to the Golden Gate Bridge South Visitor Plaza, which serves many of the estimated 10 million annual visitors to the bridge. The District is working to improve the plaza’s restrooms, pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and landscaping at the site, which marks the convergence of three major trail systems—the California Coastal Trail, the San Francisco Bay Trail, and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. (December)

• awarded $204,000 to The Exploratorium to pave a 720-foot pathway and construct a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the wave organ next to the San Francisco Marina Yacht Harbor. Installed in 1986 at the end of the harbor’s jetty, the wave organ is a popular acoustic sculpture that creates sounds dependent on the site’s tides, weather, and water conditions. The access improvements are part of an overall renovation of the organ being conducted by The Exploratorium. (June)

For Bayside and Inland San Mateo County the Conservancy

• provided $7.5 million to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for its acquisition of the 1,000+ acre Mindego Hill property near La Honda. The property offers spectacular ocean views and opportunities for many miles of public trails, and contains wildlife habitat that includes streams, spring-fed lakes, and seasonal wetlands. Peninsula Open Space Trust purchased the property in 2007. (April)

• awarded $243,000 to the City of Brisbane to acquire five parcels totaling more than six acres on the upper slopes of San Bruno Mountain. The properties are home to endangered butterflies and are now part of a 74-acre natural area being restored by the city and its partners. The Conservancy has worked with the City to protect undeveloped lots on the mountain since 2001. (April)

• provided $250,000 to the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Foundation for design and installation of environmental education exhibits at a new Interpretive Center at the Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve. The exhibits will convey information about the preserve’s geologic and biological significance and the stewardship needed to maintain its environmental resources. (June)

• granted $150,000 to Redwood City for design, fabrication, and installation of interactive exhibits for the Redwood Shores Community Library Interpretive Center on Belmont Slough. The exhibits will highlight three natural habitats—mud, water, and air—of southern San Francisco Bay. (April)

• awarded $185,000 to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to prepare plans, engineering designs, and environmental documents for the Southern Skyline Trail, a 4.7-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail within the upper Crystal Springs watershed east of Highway 35. The trail will open the southern watershed ridge lands to the public and join with existing trails to link parklands north and south of the watershed. The trail will be open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians during daylight hours, and a portion is expected to be wheelchair accessible. (June)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to use $152,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to reconstruct a portion of the San Francisco Bay Trail through the Coyote Point Recreation Area. The 1.2-mile portion of the trail will be resurfaced, realigned, and widened, making it safer and more accessible. (April)

For Santa Clara County the Conservancy

• granted $4.3 million to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority for its purchase of 868 acres of the Blair Ranch near Morgan Hill for addition to the Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. The acquisition is an important step in protecting the natural character of the County’s southwestern foothills, one of the most rapidly developing regions in the Bay Area, and providing an extensive network of public trails. The Authority will reimburse the Conservancy $2 million of its grant within three years. (January)

• provided $150,000 to the City of San José to construct a one-third-mile segment of the San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail along Penitencia Creek in the City’s Berryessa District. The construction will transform an informal dirt pathway into a wheelchair-accessible pedestrian and bicycle trail that will connect to other trails and provide access to transit, schools, and retail and residential areas. (June)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to use $63,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to build a 2.4-mile segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail near Moffett Field through the Alviso Pond complex of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The construction is an interim action designed to provide immediate public access to the area until a permanent trail is built on a future flood-control levee. (April)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to award $59,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to Environmental Volunteers for construction of a segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail in the Palo Alto Baylands. Two parallel, 370-foot pathways—for pedestrians and bicycles—will run on either side of the historic Sea Scout Ecocenter and link existing portions of the trail. (November)

For Alameda County the Conservancy

• provided $9 million to the City of Oakland to widen the Lake Merritt channel, create a tidal marsh along the channel’s edges, and install facilities to remove trash and other pollutants from waters flowing to the lake. The improvements will greatly improve the lake’s water quality, increase the numbers and diversity of the lake’s birds and other wildlife, and enable non-motorized boats to travel between San Francisco Bay and the lake. The funding comes from the Wildlife Conservation Board. (December)

• awarded $600,000 to the Tri-Valley Conservancy for its purchase of the 74-acre Bobba property in the South Livermore Valley area. The purchase offers excellent opportunities for new trails linking Del Valle State Park, Sycamore Grove Regional Park, Veterans Park, and Camp Arroyo. (December)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide the City of Oakland with $400,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to construct two segments of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the Oakland Estuary. One segment will connect Union Point Park to Dennison Street/Coast Guard Island Bridge, passing by the Cryer Boathouse. The other segment will connect the ends of Derby Avenue and Lancaster Street between the Park Street and Fruitvale bridges. Each segment will be about 450 feet long and both will be wheelchair-accessible. (June)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide the City of San Leandro with $300,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to construct a San Francisco Bay Trail crossing over San Leandro Slough and extend a nearby section of the trail. The slough crossing—a 350-foot-long wheelchair-accessible steel bridge—will close a critical gap in the Bay Trail, linking sections that run along the edges of Oyster Bay Shoreline Park and the Oakland International Airport. (September)

For Contra Costa County the Conservancy

• provided $1.4 million to the East Bay Regional Park District for its acquisition of the 333-acre Chaparral Spring property, which borders Mt. Diablo State Park and the District’s Clayton Ranch on Marsh Creek Road. The highly scenic property contains valuable wildlife habitat and offers significant opportunities to expand the area’s network of hiking trails. (September)

• provided $515,000 to the Muir Heritage Land Trust to restore portions of Rodeo, Fern, and Slot creeks on the Fernandez Ranch near Hercules and construct 1.4 miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and a parking/staging area on the ranch. The creek work will improve wildlife habitat and stabilize banks along 2,800 feet of stream corridors and the trail will become part of a system of ranch trails connecting to neighboring parklands on Franklin Ridge. (June)

• granted $150,000 to the City of Concord to complete a 600-foot gap in the historic California Riding and Hiking Trail by installing a 74-foot-long pedestrian bridge over Galindo Creek at Ygnacio Valley Road and extending a nearby section of the trail. The gap is the last uncompleted section of the trail, which runs for 20 miles between the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline and Lime Ridge Open Space Preserve on the east side of Walnut Creek. (September)

• awarded $97,000 to the City of Richmond to construct a 465-foot-long segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail along Canal Boulevard, connecting two existing portions of the trail that run along Canal Boulevard and Seacliff Drive. The award follows $53,000 for planning provided by the Conservancy in 2007. (November)

For lands straddling Contra Costa and Solano Counties the Conservancy

• provided $100,000 to the Delta Protection Commission to develop the first phase of the Great California Delta Trail Plan. Envisioned is a hiking and biking trail through the shoreline areas of Contra Costa and Solano counties that would link the San Francisco Bay Trail to planned Sacramento River trails. (September)

For Solano County the Conservancy

• contributed $242,000 to the City of Benicia’s construction of a new pedestrian and bicycle overcrossing at the Rose Drive/State Park Road overpass of Interstate 780 to enable safe passage by users of the San Francisco Bay Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The project will provide a much-improved connection for the trails between Benicia and Vallejo and to points north. (September)

• contributed $150,000 to the City of Fairfield for construction of a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail along 1.65 miles of McGary Road, which parallels Interstate 80 but was closed in 1998 due to a landslide. The project will open a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrians between Fairfield and the end point of the Solano Bikeway at the Vallejo city limits. (September)

• authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $200,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, and added $75,000 to that award for construction of San Francisco Bay Trail and Bay Area Ridge Trail segments in Glen Cove Waterfront Park in southern Vallejo. The new pedestrian/bicycle trails will be important components of the planned 50-mile Carquinez Scenic Loop Trail, which will run on both sides of the Carquinez Strait and pass over the Carquinez and Benicia-Martinez bridges. (September)

For lands straddling Solano and Napa Counties the Conservancy

• awarded $350,000 to the California Land Stewardship Institute to restore wildlife habitat along Suisun Creek and two of its tributaries, White and Wooden Valley Creeks, whose waters flow from southeastern Napa County to Suisun Marsh. The 53-square-mile Suisun Creek watershed is considered one of the most promising San Francisco Bay drainages for restoration of steelhead trout habitat. (June)

• granted $55,000 to the Solano Transportation Authority to prepare a multi-jurisdiction plan for regional trails, including portions of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, along and across State Route 12 between Interstate 80 and State Route 29 in the Jameson Canyon area. The Authority will consult with local park and transportation agencies, Caltrans, and private landowners about feasible trail routes and will develop preliminary cost estimates and a funding strategy for building the trails. (June)

For Napa County the Conservancy

• awarded $1.65 million to the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District for its acquisition of the 673-acre Moore Creek property near Lake Hennessey. The property contains diverse plant and wildlife habitats and offers excellent opportunities for public trails and the County’s first new group and family camping facility in 30 years. (September)

• contributed $1 million to the Land Trust of Napa County’s acquisition of the 1,000-acre Duff Ranch near Calistoga. The rugged, scenic property contains valuable wildlife habitat and links Robert Louis Stevenson State Park to the 3,000+ acre Wildlake Ranch purchased by the Land Trust in 2006. The Conservancy also provided $250,000 to the Land Trust to prepare an interim plan for management of natural resources and public access on the three properties. (April)

• awarded $600,000 to Save-the-Redwoods League for its acquisition of interests in the Smith-Madrone property, adjacent to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. The League will acquire 55 acres of the property plus a conservation easement over 65 acres. The purchase will protect forested wildlife habitat and the headwaters of Ritchie Creek, prevent the conversion of farmland to residential development, and provide an opportunity for new trails leading to the State Park. The League expects eventually to transfer its fee interests to California State Parks. (January)

• provided $485,000 to the University of California for its acquisition of 157 acres for inclusion in the Quail Ridge Reserve on Lake Berryessa’s south shore. The purchase will help prevent development in the area, which contains some of the last intact native grasslands in northern California along with oak woodlands and chaparral. The UC Natural Reserve System manages the reserve for habitat protection and University-sponsored research and teaching. (January)

• granted $83,000 to the Napa County Resource Conservation District to develop plans for removing barriers to fish passage at 21 sites in the Napa River basin. The barriers block or impede the migration of chinook salmon and steelhead trout to historic spawning and rearing habitats. (November)

• granted $25,000 to the San Francisco Estuary Institute to develop the Napa Historical Ecology Atlas. The atlas will synthesize hundreds of historical data sources into information needed to plan for the restoration, enhancement, and protection of wildlife habitats within the Napa River watershed. (April)

For Bayside and Inland Sonoma County the Conservancy

• contributed $1.5 million toward the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District’s purchase of 283 acres on the summit of Sonoma Mountain. The property contains oak woodlands, redwood forests, grasslands, and other wildlife habitats and offers distant views of the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada. The purchase links the neighboring Jack London State Park to hundreds of acres of other protected lands on the mountain. (December)

• awarded $700,000 to the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation to construct the Laguna Interpretive Center at the Laguna de Santa Rosa near Sebastopol. The interpretive center will house educational programs about the Laguna and serve as the centerpiece of the Laguna Learning Center site, which is being developed as the gateway to the Laguna. The Laguna is the largest freshwater wetlands complex and the most biologically diverse area of the County. (November)

• provided $575,000 to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to construct 4¼ miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail on Sonoma Mountain westward from Jack London State Historic Park, plus a half-mile spur trail to the Bennett Valley overlook. The trails will greatly expand the public’s access to unique wildlife habitats and the panoramic views available on the mountain’s north slope. The construction follows several years of property acquisitions by the District on the mountain and a 2005 Conservancy planning grant for the trail. (April)

For Bayside and Inland Marin County the Conservancy

• awarded $150,000 to the Marin Municipal Water District to restore wildlife habitat and improve public access to a section of Lagunitas Creek off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the watershed of Mount Tamalpais. The project site includes the Leo Cronin Fish Viewing Area, the Bay Area’s most popular spot for viewing salmon during the spawning season. (April)

• granted $95,000 to the Marin Audubon Society to complete the restoration of wetlands at Bahia Lagoon in Novato. The 375-acre site, purchased in 2003, contains tidal and seasonal wetlands adjacent to oak woodlands and other protected wildlife habitats. The Wildlife Conservation Board will reimburse the Conservancy for its contribution, which will fill a critical funding gap. (November)

North Coast

For the length of the North Coast the Conservancy

• awarded $500,000 to the Northwest California Resource Conservation and Development Council for the design and permitting of at least ten fish passage improvement projects and five associated water quality improvement projects in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, and Siskiyou counties. The projects will follow similar work that has improved habitat and removed migratory barriers to many miles of historic spawning and rearing habitat for coastal salmon and steelhead trout. (December)

For the Coastside of Marin County the Conservancy

• provided $385,000 to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to reconstruct the portion of the Dias Ridge Trail lying within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just east of Muir Beach. The trail is a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail that connects Panoramic Highway to Shoreline Highway/Hwy 1 and offers spectacular vistas of Mount Tamalpais and the ocean. The new trail will be accessible to hikers and bicyclists, and a new trailhead at Golden Gate Dairy will greatly improve visitor safety and orientation. (June)

• awarded $230,000 to the National Park Service to construct additional visitor and staff accommodations at the Point Reyes Hostel and to bring the hostel buildings into compliance with current health and safety codes. The improvements will add 12 low-cost visitor beds to the current 44-bed capacity and enable the hostel, which is currently closed for part of the day between October and May, to remain open during daylight hours throughout the year. (September)

• granted $185,000 to the County to replace side-by-side culverts where Carson Road crosses Woodacre Creek with a wider, naturalized structure that will allow coho salmon and steelhead trout to reach 3,800 feet of good quality spawning and rearing habitat. The new structure will handle floodwaters better than the existing culverts and is enthusiastically supported by the neighboring landowners in the town of Woodacre. (June)

• awarded $109,000 to the Tomales Bay Watershed Council to prepare a restoration plan for lower Third Valley Creek and Chicken Ranch Beach in the town of Inverness. The plan will aim to improve water quality and wildlife habitat and to reduce erosion at the county-owned beach. (April)

• granted $100,000 to the County to prepare a plan to restore the watershed of San Geronimo Creek, a tributary of Lagunitas Creek that contains some of the region’s best habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout. The plan will be directed primarily at the creek’s upper watershed, where fish habitat is threatened by erosion and sedimentation, stormwater runoff, invasive species, and encroaching development. (June)

• granted $85,000 to the Point Reyes National Seashore for its Helping Hands Restoration Project to reduce erosion, construct livestock fencing, and carry out associated educational programs in the Tomales Bay watershed. The restoration aims to reduce the flow of pollution into Olema Creek and Tomales Bay. Part of the work will be done through the Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (“STRAW”) environmental education program, which involves the participation of students from local schools. (January)

For the Coastsides of Marin and Sonoma Counties the Conservancy

• awarded $639,000 to Ocean Song Farm and Wilderness Center to undertake a feasibility study for improvement of about 100,000 acres of endangered coastal prairie habitat. Coastal prairies support the highest plant diversity of all North American grasslands, and less than 10% of native coastal prairies remain between Big Sur and the Oregon coast. The study will include restoration of 35 acres on five sites to develop recommendations for future stewardship. (June)

• provided $155,000 to the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to improve water quality in the Estero Americano watershed through pasture and manure management improvements on five dairies. The improvements follow years of outreach, planning, and initial improvements on several local dairies and will support the economic viability of the region’s dairy industry. (September)

For the Coastside of Sonoma County the Conservancy

• awarded $495,000 to the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to restore fish passage to 3.4 miles of Dutch Bill Creek, improve the creek’s habitat for fish and wildlife, and install an 80-foot pedestrian bridge across the creek at Camp Meeker. Coho salmon and steelhead trout from the Russian River will be able to reach historic nursery and rearing habitat on the creek after removal of a dam in Camp Meeker and retrofitting of a culvert at Market Street in Occidental. (September)

• provided $290,000 to the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center to analyze water supply and demand in the Salmon Creek watershed, design a set of water conservation strategies, implement water conservation demonstration programs tailored for small coastal communities, and complete design and permitting for a large woody debris habitat enhancement project in the Salmon Creek Estuary. The project continues the Conservancy’s comprehensive approach to planning for improvements in the watershed that began in 2003. (April)

• granted $262,000 to the Sotoyome Resource Conservation District to improve critical habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout in Austin Creek, a tributary of the Russian River. The funding will be used for the planning and design of improvements to control sediment that washes into the creek and degrades fish habitat, continuing the RCD’s longstanding work with landowners to restore healthy populations of fish in the area. (September)

• provided $200,000 to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department for preliminary design and environmental documentation for a three-mile section of the California Coastal Trail in the community of Timber Cove between Fort Ross State Historic Park and Stillwater Cove Regional Park. The design work will include outreach to the community to identify potential trail alignments that address the needs and concerns of local residents. (December)

• awarded $125,000 to the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to work with landowners and prepare a watershed plan to improve fish habitat in Green Valley Creek, a tributary to the Russian River located between Occidental and Forestville. The creek’s fish habitat has severely deteriorated over the last several decades from sediment eroding from neighboring properties, but it still supports salmon and steelhead populations and offers excellent restoration opportunities. (January)

For Mendocino County the Conservancy

• provided $370,000 to the Mendocino Land Trust for its purchase and initial management of the six-acre Hare Creek Beach property just south of Fort Bragg on Highway 1. The purchase will enable the land trust to open and manage a public pathway to a sandy beach on a beautiful ocean cove, add a mile to the California Coastal Trail, and manage critical fish and wildlife habitats that are currently degraded by unregulated public use and invasive non-native vegetation. (September)

• authorized Trinity County’s Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program to use $105,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to remove a barrier to fish-passage in Ancestor Creek, a tributary of the Mattole River, at Briceland Road. A new bridge will replace culverts that prevent coho salmon and steelhead trout from reaching more than two miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat. (September)

• awarded $31,000 to the City of Fort Bragg for trail, fencing, and signage improvements along three public access easements at Pomo Bluffs Park above Noyo Harbor. The improvements will include a new pedestrian and bicycle accessway to the park from Highway 1 near the south end of the Noyo Bridge. (June)

• granted $24,000 to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy to assist with operation and maintenance of the Gualala Bluff segment of the California Coastal Trail in Gualala. The funding will support the work of a large number of volunteers who have been maintaining the popular trail, which offers panoramic ocean views directly behind the town’s commercial district. (June)

• provided $41,000 to the Coastal Land Trust to facilitate the transfer of about 74 public access easements from the American Land Conservancy to local nonprofit organizations and public agencies. Several organizations are interested in obtaining specific easements, and the funding will help the land trust manage those easements that are not accepted by other entities. (June)

• awarded $10,000 to the Moat Creek Managing Agency to operate and maintain public access improvements at Moat Creek Beach and along the Moat Creek segment of the California Coastal Trail south of Point Arena. The sites were created as part of an early and successful Conservancy effort to reduce the density of the Whiskey Shoals subdivision for the protection of scenic natural and recreational lands. (June)

• revised the Gualala Access Trails project approved by the Conservancy in May 2005 by eliminating the planned construction of cable steps and trail improvements to the beach at St. Orres Creek and adding construction of a trail and one or two viewing platforms with interpretive panels above the creek. A study of geological conditions made it apparent that the beach trail would be unsafe, but the revised construction will still enable visitors to reach a highly scenic beach overlook. (January)

For Humboldt County the Conservancy

• awarded $1,065,000 to the City of Arcata for final designs, environmental review, and permitting for the Arcata Coastal Rail with Trail project, which aims to build a 3.8-mile section of the California Coastal Trail between northern Arcata and Bracut Marsh, one mile south of the City. The proposed route of the pedestrian/bicycle trail would lie within or near the North Coast Railroad Authority right-of-way, with its southern section running close to Highway 101 near the shoreline of Humboldt Bay. (September)

• provided $900,000 to the Redwood Community Action Agency for the first phase of the Humboldt County Coastal Trail Program, enabling the Agency to assess the trail’s current alignment, prioritize and design potential projects to close existing gaps, and coordinate efforts of the many agencies and organizations working to create a continuous trail along the county’s coastline. About 90 miles of the California Coastal Trail in the county are in place, but an additional 64 miles need to be constructed or substantially improved. (September)

• provided $975,000 to the Friends of the Dunes to construct the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, creating a “gateway to the dunes” on the North Spit of Humboldt Bay, and to purchase two properties totaling 53 acres in the area. The center—scheduled for completion in 2010—will include visitor services and educational facilities and provide the public with a convenient entry to more than 1,000 acres of protected coastal dunes along four miles of the coast. Earlier Conservancy funding contributed to the protection of much of this area. (April, June, and September)

• awarded $770,000 to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust for its purchase of a 77-acre portion of the McNamara Dairy on Redwood Creek in Orick. The purchase will allow the restoration of highly degraded salmon and steelhead habitat while protecting farmland and providing for the continuance of a viable agricultural operation. (November)

• authorized acceptance of $150,000 in federal grant funds and use of $175,000, including a grant to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for Phase I of the Humboldt Bay Regional Invasive Spartina Eradication Project. The goal of the project is to develop a regional plan to eradicate invasive Spartina, a cordgrass that threatens the native plant and wildlife communities of tidal marshes in the estuaries of Humboldt Bay, the Eel River, and the Mad River. (June)

• accepted the Access Management Plan prepared by the Yurok Tribe for the 12½-acre Tsurai Village Site and awarded a grant of $30,000 to the City of Trinidad to manage creek runoff and hillside drainage that enters the site. The Tribe prepared the plan, using Conservancy funds, to help resolve land-use conflicts and improve the site’s management. The City will use the grant to install drainage improvements that will protect public trails and cultural resources. (June)

• authorized the Redwood Region Audubon Society to accept an open space easement offered by the City of Eureka ensuring the conservation of a 15-acre property adjacent to Humboldt Bay. The offer of the easement was a condition to the Conservancy’s funding for the City’s purchase of the adjacent Palco Marsh in 1985. (June)

For Del Norte County the Conservancy

• provided $641,000 to the County to construct almost two miles of the California Coastal Trail along Pebble Beach Drive just north of Crescent City. The pedestrian/bicycle trail will travel along a highly scenic part of the coast and connect to an existing bike path within the City. (June)

• awarded $100,000 to the Yurok Tribe to prepare a plan for public access in and around the Klamath River estuary. The funding will help the Tribe develop a river transit system and a trail network with interpretive signs highlighting the natural setting, Yurok traditions, and the Tribe’s conservation activities. (April)

• provided $164,000 to Smith River Alliance, working with Tolowa Dunes Stewards, to complete surveys and permitting prior to restoration of dune habitats in Tolowa Dunes State Park and Lake Earl Wildlife Area and to develop a public access strategy for Tolowa Dunes, Lake Earl Wildlife Area, and Point Saint George. The work will lead to improvements of natural areas, protection of cultural sites, and enhanced public access between Point St. George and the mouth of the Smith River. (June)

For Trinity County the Conservancy

• authorized Trinity County’s Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program to use $160,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to retrofit two roadway culverts that are barriers to fish-passage in Conner Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River near Junction City. The existing culverts block passage to about 2½ miles of spawning and rearing habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout. (September)

For the Klamath River Watershed the Conservancy

• augmented an existing contract by $150,000 to further study the likely water-quality and biological effects of removing dams on the Klamath River and to summarize that and other information in a comprehensive dam-removal plan. Earlier studies commissioned by the Conservancy indicated that removal of four dams on the river was feasible and affordable, and additional studies are underway to analyze the potential effects of dam removal on downstream habitats and existing reservoirs. (January)

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