2011 Project Approvals

In 2011 the State Coastal Conservancy supported 79 projects along California’s coast and around San Francisco Bay with awards totaling more than $64 million. The Conservancy’s support for these projects is leveraging $121 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.

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

  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the California Coastal Trail in San Diego, Monterey, San Mateo, San Francisco, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties—information about these projects is provided in the county listings that follow. The Coastal Trail will one day run the entire length of the coast, linking the varied urban, rural, and wilderness areas that together make up California’s world-renowned coastline. More than half of the trail is now in place, with new segments and support facilities, such as parking areas and restrooms, being added every year.

For stewardship of coastal waters the Conservancy

  • provided staff for the Ocean Protection Council, a State organization established to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient, and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. In 2011, the OPC:
    • provided $1.96 million for continued monitoring of the State’s system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established under the Marine Life Protection Act. The MPA Monitoring Enterprise—a program of the California Ocean Science Trust—is using the funding to: (1) advance the development of scientific approaches to monitoring; (2) manage and share information, including monitoring data and scientific analyses; and (3) communicate monitoring results and support adaptive MPA management. California Sea Grant also awarded funds for baseline data collection for the newly designated South Coast MPAs, using $4 million made available by the OPC in 2008. (March)
    • adopted a resolution on Sea Level Rise (SLR) calling for State agencies to: (1) assess vulnerabilities of projects and programs over the full range of SLR projections; (2) avoid high-risk decisions, based on the SLR projections; and (3) coordinate use of the same SLR projections among agencies working on a particular project or program. (March)
    • awarded $990,000 to prepare a Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan. Spiny lobsters are a popular commercial and recreational fishery and are subject to an unknown level of illegal take. Basic studies of population ecology and habitat use are ongoing, but more information is needed to understand population size and habitat requirements to support a sustainable commercial and recreational harvest. (May)
    • awarded $222,000 to the California State Lands Commission to review and update its offshore geophysical permit program. The funding will allow the Commission to incorporate up-to-date science regarding the potential impacts of geophysical surveys on marine life and the coastal environment and conduct an environmental analysis, with public review, of the permit program. (August)
    • adopted a protocol for the California Voluntary Sustainable Seafood Program for commercial fisheries, as directed by the Legislature in 2009. Program elements include establishment of a process and standards for sustainable certification, grants and loans (pending legislated funding) to assist fisheries in becoming certified, design of a label to identify certified seafood, and marketing assistance. (December)
    • recommended a policy to the California Energy Commission on test and pilot projects for marine renewable energy and prepared an accompanying white paper containing guidance for permitting. (December)
    • authorized development of an agreement with the California Technology Agency to support the integration of California’s coastal and marine geospatial data into a statewide Internet-based “geo portal” to improve access to these data by interested parties, including the general public. (December)
    • approved four scientific research projects that will be conducted by the State’s two Sea Grant programs using funds from a $1.08 million OPC grant awarded in 2010. The projects are grouped under three areas—sustainable fisheries, climate change, and coastal and marine spatial planning—and will assist the OPC in making management and policy decisions. (December)

SOUTH COAST

For San Diego County the Conservancy

  • awarded $2.5 million to the San Diego Association of Governments to design and construct nearly three miles of the Bayshore Bikeway and California Coastal Trail along San Diego Bay. On its south end the new trail will link to an existing section of the bikeway at National City’s Pepper Park and run northward along the National City Marina and through much of the Naval Base San Diego. The Bayshore Bikeway, about half complete and aligned with the Coastal Trail, will one day encircle the bay. (March)
  • contributed $1,445,000 to the City of Santee’s purchase of the 105-acre Walker Property along the San Diego River to protect and restore natural habitats and provide compatible public access. The property had been used for sand mining but contains high quality habitat for resident and migratory birds, including two endangered species. A portion of the funding will be used to design a new section of the San Diego River Trail, which is planned to run from the river’s headwaters to the ocean. (May)
  • provided $650,000 to the City of Del Mar to construct a pathway to Del Mar Beach and replace dilapidated public restrooms as part of the new 17th Street Beach Safety Center. The new pathway from Coast Boulevard at 17th Street will be wheelchair accessible and enable beachgoers to avoid passing through a busy parking lot. The 2.5-mile Del Mar Beach attracts an estimated two million people annually. (May)
  • awarded $450,000 to the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation for the design and construction of a 1½-mile section of the Sweetwater River Trail in Sweetwater Valley Regional Park in Bonita. The new trail section will be the final link connecting the Sweetwater Loop Trail System on the east side of the park to the Bayshore Bikeway and the California Coastal Trail to the west. The trail will accommodate hikers, bikers, wheelchair riders, and equestrians and replace an informal dirt pathway that is occasionally inaccessible. (July)
  • granted $286,000 to the San Diego Unified Port District to revitalize commercial fishing facilities at Driscoll’s Wharf on San Diego Bay. The funding is being used for structural improvements to the offloading pier, purchase and installation of an ice machine and live seafood holding tanks, installation of interpretive signs, and planning for an on-site fisherman’s market. The funding follows $450,000 provided by the Conservancy in 2007 for preparation of a comprehensive commercial fisheries revitalization and public access plan to counter the decline in the region’s commercial fishing industry and improve public access and visitor-serving facilities on the bay’s waterfront. (September)
  • awarded $150,000 to the San Diego History Center to prepare plans to update the exhibits and use of the Junipero Serra Museum and make it a focal point for presentations about the history and significance of the San Diego River. Although a recognized San Diego landmark, the museum is currently underutilized, drawing fewer than 20,000 visitors per year and housing exhibits that are 15-20 years old. The museum is near the mouth of the river on Presidio Hill, right above Old Town San Diego, and first opened to the public in 1929. (September)

For San Diego and Orange Counties the Conservancy

  • provided $70,000 to the Maritime Museum of San Diego to plan and coordinate the Tall Ships Festivals of 2011 to be held in September at the ports of San Diego, Dana Point, and Chula Vista. The events will feature visits from historic tall ships and working craft from around the world together with multi-cultural educational and recreational activities highlighting the three waterfronts.

For Orange and Riverside counties the Conservancy

  • provided $2 million to Orange County and $3.4 million to Riverside County for design and permitting of the remaining sections of the Santa Ana River Parkway in the two counties. The Parkway—more than half complete—will one day run for about 100 miles from the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains to the coast near Huntington Beach. The Conservancy’s funding will be directed at a planned three-mile section of the Parkway in Orange County and an adjoining 22½-mile section in Riverside County. (May)

For Orange and Los Angeles counties the Conservancy

  • provided $225,000 to the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority to prepare a comprehensive conceptual restoration plan for the Los Cerritos wetlands complex in the cities of Long Beach and Seal Beach near the mouth of the San Gabriel River. The 450-acre study area contains about 200 acres of mostly degraded wetlands in public and private ownership. The authority holds title to more than 170 acres and is looking to expand its holdings. (September)

For Los Angeles County the Conservancy

  • awarded $1.5 million to the City of Long Beach to develop a 1¼-mile-long park and restore native wildlife habitats in the Deforest Wetlands, a 39-acre flood-control detention basin along the lower Los Angeles River. Almost four miles of public trails will be constructed in the site along with a bicycle staging area. Besides benefitting wildlife, the habitat restoration will improve the river’s water quality and increase flood protection for nearby neighborhoods. The project will be a significant step forward in the creation of the planned 52-mile Los Angeles River Greenway. (November)
  • provided $991,000 to the City of Long Beach to dredge, treat, and dispose of contaminated sediments from the west arm of Colorado Lagoon. The project is part of a larger effort to improve the lagoon’s water quality and wildlife habitats. About two-thirds of the Conservancy’s funding came from a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (January and November)
  • awarded $500,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for design and construction of Compton Creek Natural Park in Compton. The park will be built on a four-acre, publicly owned vacant lot adjacent to Washington Elementary School. It will be designed to highlight the creek’s natural environment and will include a gateway to the Compton Creek Regional Garden Park Trail, which will lead to the Los Angeles River Trail. (March)
  • provided $280,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for site improvements and planning to provide for public access, community stewardship, and educational programs at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The project is targeting 300 acres of State-owned land north of Ballona Creek that has been closed to the public but suffers from dumping and other illegal activities. Site improvements will include garbage removal and new gates, fences, and educational signs. (July)
  • provided $89,000 to California State University Fullerton Auxiliary Service Corporation to restore and monitor a native oyster bed using community volunteers for the Alamitos Bay Oyster Project in Long Beach. The funding will support the establishment of a 60-square-meter bed of Olympia oysters—California’s only native oyster—and apply what is learned to future restoration efforts in Southern California. Community participation is expected to stimulate the public’s interest in the natural environment and similar restoration projects. (November)
  • granted $20,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to manage public beach accessways in Malibu. Most of the funding will be directed to the management of a stairway to the beach in the Latigo Shores neighborhood, but a portion is expected to assist in the management of an additional four access easements held by the Authority. (September)

For Ventura County the Conservancy

  • contributed $500,000 to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s acquisition of 70 acres of the Hollingsworth Ranch property along the Ventura River. The purchase protects 1.3 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for endangered southern steelhead trout and links already protected lands upstream and downstream. The purchase is part of a greater effort to create the Ventura River Parkway on the lower 15 miles of the river. (January)
  • awarded $405,000 to the County to replace a four-barrel culvert crossing with a 520-foot bridge along the Ojai Valley Trail at the confluence of San Antonio Creek and the Ventura River. The project will greatly improve passage for steelhead trout to and from 15 miles of streams in the creek’s watershed and allow the trail to remain open to users year-round. The culverts have filled with sediment in years with high rainfall, blocking passage for the trout and washing out the trail. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provided $190,000 of the Conservancy’s funds. (March and September)

CENTRAL COAST

For the length of the Central Coast the Conservancy

  • provided $164,000 from the California sea otter tax check-off fund to the University of California, Santa Cruz, for an investigation into the effects of coastal contaminants and other human-caused stressors on California sea otters. The otters suffer from early mortality and low birth rates and evidence suggests that causes include infectious diseases, parasites, and toxins resulting from human-related activities. The funding follows $319,000 awarded by the Conservancy for the study in 2008 and 2009. (January)

For Santa Barbara County the Conservancy

  • awarded $3 million to The Trust for Public Land for its purchase of the 63-acre Ocean Meadows property in Devereux Slough. The purchase will complete a 650-acre assemblage of properties permanently protected for wildlife habitat, scenic views, recreation, and education, and allow for future restoration of the property’s wetlands. The Conservancy’s award includes $500,000 received from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant. (May)
  • provided $250,000 to the University of California, Santa Barbara, for public access improvements at the Coal Oil Point Reserve adjacent to Devereux Slough. The improvements will include new and repaired fencing, new entrance structures, and a seasonal boardwalk over a flooded section of the trail. A primary objective of the improvements is to protect the reserve’s fragile wildlife habitats. (January)

For Monterey County the Conservancy

  • made $4.5 million available for the removal of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River. 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 for the dam’s removal since 2000 with several government agencies, conservation organizations, and California American Water, which owns the dam and is contributing $49 million to the project. (May)
  • awarded $250,000 to the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea to construct public access improvements and restore dune wildlife habitat at the popular Carmel Beach. The access improvements will include changes to the parking layout, installation of a blufftop boardwalk and view platform, and construction of a 550-foot section of the California Coastal Trail that will connect the beach to more than 20 miles of the trail that extend northward. The dune restoration will include replacement of invasive, exotic vegetation with plants native to the area. (November)

For Monterey and Santa Cruz counties the Conservancy

  • awarded $60,000 to O’Neill Sea Odyssey for California Ocean Stewards, a new marine education program serving underserved elementary school children in the Monterey Bay area. Program components include lessons in navigation, sailing, conservation, and marine science aboard a 65-foot catamaran in Monterey Bay; classroom instruction utilizing website materials; community service; and follow-up projects at the O’Neill Sea Odyssey Marine Education Center in Santa Cruz. (May)

For Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo counties the Conservancy

  • provided $600,000 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to design and permit eight to ten watershed restoration projects as part of Phase 3 of the Integrated Watershed Restoration Program. 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. The grant augments $900,000 awarded by the Conservancy for the program in 2008. (May)

For the Coastside of San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • provided $2.65 million to the Coastside Land Trust to acquire a 50-acre bluff-top portion of the Wavecrest property in Half Moon Bay, design an extension of the California Coastal Trail through the property, and produce a conceptual design for extending the Coastal Trail south about ½ mile to Redondo Beach. The property supports a greater number and diversity of raptors than any other site in the County and was long threatened with development. (September)
  • awarded $500,000 to the County to purchase and install bathrooms and other visitor facilities at both ends of the planned Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail and for planning and permitting to extend the trail one mile southward to Montara and Gray Whale Cove State Beaches. The Devil’s Slide portion of the California Coastal Trail will be located on the existing route of Highway 1 that will be closed to motor vehicles when Caltrans completes the Devil’s Slide bypass tunnel. The Conservancy is also involved in the planning effort to extend the Coastal Trail northward of the tunnel into Pacifica. (July)
  • provided $250,000 to the City of Pacifica to acquire the six-acre Tronoff parcel at the Pedro Point Headlands just south of Pacifica as a site for the California Coastal Trail. The new Coastal Trail segment will connect to publicly owned land on the headlands and the future Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail. The hoped-for future acquisition of a neighboring property would allow the new segment to be linked to the existing length of the Coastal Trail that runs along the City’s coastline. (November)
  • provided $250,000 to the County to build a ¼-mile segment of the California Coastal Trail and replace a deteriorating bridge over San Vicente Creek at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. The new 60-foot bridge will cross the creek near the reserve parking lot and link to dirt bluff-top trails and the Coastal Trail, which will run southeast to the reserve boundary at Cypress Avenue. The bridge and the trail will accommodate hikers, wheelchair riders, bicyclists, and equestrians. (May)
  • approved the transfer of the historic Purisima Townsite, a five-acre Conservancy-owned property about three miles south of Half Moon Bay, to the Coastside Land Trust. The Conservancy also awarded the land trust a $45,000 grant to improve and manage the property for public use. The planned improvements include fencing, signs, and a gravel parking area that could be used by visitors to the nearby Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail, which was recently opened. (July)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

For the Greater San Francisco Bay Area the Conservancy

  • made $5.9 million available for the ongoing effort to stem the spread of invasive Spartina, fast-growing varieties of cordgrass that threaten native wildlife habitats in the Bay. The Conservancy has been working since 1999 to eradicate the noxious weeds, and the effort has succeeded in reducing the range of the infestation from a high of 800 acres to fewer than 100 acres at the end of 2010. Formerly infested sites are now being replanted with native vegetation. The Wildlife Conservation Board is providing $4.1 million of the funding and an additional $267,000 is coming from the federal government. (March and September)
  • made $2.5 million available to plan for Phase II of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, the West Coast’s largest tidal wetlands restoration project. The planning will position future work for receipt of matching funds from the federal government and other sources. Of the six habitat restoration and five public access projects undertaken under Phase I, only two remain to be completed. The Wildlife Conservation Board is providing $475,000 of the planning funds. (November)
  • awarded $1 million to the Association of Bay Area Governments to establish the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, a planned network of launching and landing sites around San Francisco Bay for small non-motorized boats. Working closely with the Conservancy, ABAG will use the funding to develop and improve water trail sites, provide information about the trail, promote safe boating practices and wildlife protection, and plan for the trail’s continued development. (March)
  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the San Francisco Bay Trail in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Alameda counties—information about these projects is provided in the county listings that follow. The Bay Trail will one day encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays with a continuous 500-mile network of bicycling and hiking trails along or near the shoreline. About 310 miles of the trail—over 60 percent of its ultimate length—have been completed.
  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the Bay Area Ridge Trail in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties—information about these projects is provided in the county listings that follow. The Ridge Trail will one day contain a continuous 550-mile network of hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails on the ridgelines encircling San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. More than 325 miles of the trail are now open to the public.
  • provided $100,000 to the Association of Bay Area Governments to organize and present the tenth State of the Estuary Conference in the fall of 2011. The biennial, conference brings together scientists, managers, interest groups, and the public to address the protection and restoration of the Bay-Delta Estuary. (March)
  • awarded $50,000 to Greenbelt Alliance to produce the 2012 edition of At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt, which will contain maps of risks to open space lands in the San Francisco Bay area, an evaluation of policy measures to conserve open space, and information about the resource values of these lands. The report has been produced since 1989 and is well used by conservationists and elected officials. The new edition will contain extensive data presented in an interactive online map. (September)
  • provided $50,000 to Bay Area Clean Water Agencies, a joint powers authority, to administer funding for Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan projects. The plan is addressing the region’s needs and objectives for water supply, water quality, and floodwater management and sets forth a strategy to meet those needs and objectives. Considerable funding is available for projects in the region and the costs to administer that funding is being shared by several government agencies. (November)

For San Francisco the Conservancy

  • awarded $650,000 to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to improve segments of the California Coastal Trail and Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio of San Francisco. The improvements will affect more than a mile of trails south of the Golden Gate Bridge and include a new link to the Rob Hill Campground. The improvements are part of a greater effort to create a loop of trails allowing hikers and bikers to explore the Presidio forest, historic districts, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay shore, and ocean overlooks. (September)
  • provided $150,000 to Island Conservation, a nonprofit organization, to plan for the eradication of invasive house mice in the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the Farallon Islands. The islands host the largest seabird breeding colony in the United States outside of Alaska and Hawaii, providing habitat for thirty percent of California’s breeding seabirds. The non-native house mice have altered the islands’ ecosystem and are predators of eggs and chicks, making them a significant threat to populations of seabird species. (January)
  • authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $70,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to the Port of San Francisco to construct a ¾-mile section of the San Francisco Bay Trail along Cargo Way in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point District. The trail section will run from Jennings Street at the entrance to Heron’s Head Park to Third Street near Islais Creek, closing a significant gap in the Bay Trail between the City’s southeast waterfront and a principal gateway to downtown. Trail users will be separated from auto traffic by a curb and fencing, particularly benefitting cyclists who now must contend with industrial truck traffic. (May)

For Bayside and Inland San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • awarded $1.85 million to Ducks Unlimited for the restoration of wetlands at Middle Bair Island. The project will restore tidal flows to 571 acres and improve an additional 307 acres of existing wetlands. The restoration follows a decades-long public campaign to save the wetlands on Inner, Middle, and Outer Bair Islands and restore their marshes, which are home to a wide variety of waterfowl and other wildlife. The funding is available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State Department of Water Resources. (May)
  • contributed $500,000 to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s purchase of the 97-acre Silva property for addition to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve near the town of La Honda. The purchase will greatly improve the public’s ability to get to Mindego Hill, a prominent 2,143-foot peak, and provides an excellent opportunity to develop a parking lot on Alpine Road. The property is in the midst of 5,000 acres of protected land in the Santa Cruz Mountains and supports a wide variety of wildlife, including mountain lions, coyotes, badgers, and raptors. (May)
  • provided $250,000 to the County to improve a 0.84-mile section of the Crystal Springs Regional Trail adjacent to Crystal Springs Reservoir to accommodate hikers, bikers, wheelchair riders, and equestrians. The improvements will include repaving, culvert repair, and installation of benches, signs, information kiosks, fencing, and a restroom. The regional trail is mostly complete and will one day run for 17½ miles between San Bruno and Woodside. (July)
  • authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $245,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to East Palo Alto to construct a 0.92-mile trail around the perimeter of the planned Cooley Landing Park on the San Francisco Bay shoreline. The trail will connect to the San Francisco Bay Trail and accommodate hikers, bikers, and wheelchair riders. Cooley Landing is a nine-acre peninsula that the City has targeted for a park since 2003. (July)

For Santa Clara County the Conservancy

  • awarded $68,000 to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to construct a 5.8-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve east of San Jose. The new segment offers sweeping views of the bay and surrounding mountain ranges and links to an existing trail from San Jose’s Alum Rock Park. The trail accommodates hikers, bikers, and wheelchair riders and is being considered for future use by equestrians. (July)

For Alameda County the Conservancy

  • contributed $1 million to the East Bay Regional Park District’s purchase of the 955-acre Owen property for addition to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. The property contains a mosaic of woodland, grassland, scrub, and creekside habitats and offers excellent opportunities for a new staging area and trails to existing portions of the park. The 6,500-acre park runs from Dublin to Sunol on the ridge separating the East Bay from Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley. (May)
  • authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $200,000 from an earlier Conservancy block grant to the City of Oakland for construction of a San Francisco Bay Trail segment between Fruitvale Avenue and High Street along the Oakland Estuary. The 0.1-mile segment will close a gap in the 6.6-mile Oakland Waterfront Trail portion of the Bay Trail that will one day run between downtown Oakland and Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline near the airport. The segment will be composed of concrete on steel piles at the edge of the estuary. (July)
  • awarded $190,000 to Zone 7 Water Agency, a special government district, for updating its Stream Management Master Plan for about 100 miles of stream corridors in the Alameda Creek watershed in eastern Alameda County. The updated plan will integrate designs for improved fish and wildlife habitats with measures to improve flood management, groundwater recharge, and water quality. The project will build on Conservancy-supported work in the lower reaches of Alameda Creek, which is widely considered to offer the best opportunity in the Bay Area to restore stream habitat for recovery of the threatened steelhead trout. (November)

For Contra Costa County the Conservancy

  • contributed $2.5 million to Save Mount Diablo’s purchase of the 1,080-acre Bertagnolli Ranch adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park. The purchase will protect a variety of wildlife habitats including blue oak and other woodlands, desert scrub, grasslands, and chaparral. The property has long been targeted for conservation and may one day become part of the State Park. (November)

For Solano County the Conservancy

  • contributed $3.1 million to the Solano Land Trust’s purchase of 1,500 acres of the Rockville Trails Estates property in the Vaca Mountains west of Fairfield. The property lies in the southern end of the 800,000-acre Blue Ridge-Berryessa Natural Area, a swath of biologically diverse habitats that is being assembled and protected by a consortium of government agencies and private organizations. The property contains native woodlands and grazing land along with a planned alignment for six miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. (May)
  • provided $140,000 to the City of Benicia to plan for the restoration of about 15 acres of the Benicia waterfront at the foot of First Street, two miles west of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. The area is lacking in visitor amenities but offers spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait, has a rich history of waterfront uses, and contains beaches, marshlands, and a community green. The Conservancy has worked with the City to improve its waterfront for more than 20 years. (September)

For Napa County the Conservancy

  • awarded $1.5 million to the Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District to create the Lake Berryessa Environmental Education Camp on the Putah Creek arm of Lake Berryessa. The camp will be built on the 15-acre site of a former Boy Scout camp and will be the County’s first outdoor environmental education camp. It will primarily target school-aged children and will offer opportunities for water recreation, hiking, horseback riding, and nature observation. (March)
  • provided $400,000 to the County to retrofit the Zinfandel Lane Bridge over the Napa River near St. Helena to remove a significant barrier to Chinook salmon and steelhead trout migrations. The retrofit—completed in October—made about 90 miles of historic spawning and rearing habitat upstream of the bridge much more accessible to the fish and improved the river’s environment for about 14 other native fish species. The project also improved the structural integrity of the historic bridge, which dates to 1913. (March)

For Bayside and Inland Sonoma County the Conservancy

  • contributed $750,000 to the purchase by LandPaths, a conservation organization, of a remainder interest in the 120-acre Ranchero Mark West property in the heart of the Mayacamas Mountains northeast of Santa Rosa. The current owners will retain a life estate in the property and continue to reside there and make the property available for public access and environmental education programs. LandPaths’ purchase will ensure that the property remains protected and available to the public in perpetuity. (May)
  • provided $55,000 to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to prepare plans and environmental documentation for the East-Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail. The proposed 1¼-mile trail will extend from Jack London State Historic Park and will be part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. (March)
  • awarded $152,000 to Sonoma County Regional Parks for the construction of a ¼-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail at Highway 12 on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa. The new segment will link existing routes of the trail that lead to Annadel State Park and Hood Mountain Regional Park and will provide a far safer crossing of Highway 12 than currently exists. (September)
  • provided $100,000 to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to plan and design a three-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve north of Glen Ellen. The plan will also include a staging area on the floor of Sonoma Valley and a three-mile trail connection leading to the Ridge Trail alignment on the rim of the Mayacamas Mountains. The design is the first step toward opening the 1,280-acre preserve to public use. (September)

For Bayside and Inland Marin County the Conservancy

  • provided $4 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the completion of the 648-acre Hamilton Wetlands restoration in Novato, one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects in San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy has been a leader in the effort to restore the wetlands since 1995 and the bulk of construction for the restoration is expected to be completed in 2012. The federal government is providing most of the project’s funding and the State Wildlife Conservation Board will reimburse the Conservancy for its current contribution. (March)

NORTH COAST

For the Coastside of Marin County the Conservancy

  • contributed $450,000 to the County’s purchase of a 21-acre forested property on San Geronimo Ridge near the town of Forest Knolls. The property contains valuable wildlife habitat and offers an excellent opportunity for a new public access route to the adjacent Gary Giacomini Open Space Preserve. The property has long been subject to development proposals and efforts to block recreational access. (September)

For the Coastside of Sonoma County the Conservancy

  • contributed $650,000 to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District’s purchase of a conservation easement over the 495-acre Bordessa Ranch on the Estero Americano. The easement will protect the property’s wildlife habitat and prevent its subdivision, helping to ensure its continued use as rangeland for cattle. The Conservancy also awarded a $50,000 grant to Sonoma County Regional Parks Department to develop a public access plan for the property. (November)
  • contributed $240,000 to Save the Redwoods League’s purchase of the 500-acre Raiche-McCrory property within the area known as The Cedars near Cazadero. The Cedars comprises a unique environment characterized by serpentine rock barrens, highly alkaline springs, Sargent cypress woodlands, and many species of rare and endemic plants. The League expects to transfer the property to the federal Bureau of Land Management for addition to its other holdings in the area. (March)
  • provided $150,000 to the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to research and design improvements to salmon and steelhead trout habitat at two sites within and along Green Valley Creek near Forestville. The creek—a major tributary of the Russian River—contains valuable fish and wildlife habitat that in some areas suffers from severe sediment deposition that results in frequent flooding and reduced stream flows. In addition to targeting that problem, designs will be prepared for the restoration of historic salmon and trout breeding habitat on a former agricultural property adjacent to the creek. (September)
  • awarded $140,000 to the Sotoyome Resource Conservation District to improve water quality and restore fish habitat in the watershed of Austin Creek, which flows into the Russian River near Duncans Mills. The project is aimed at reducing road-related erosion and resulting sediment flows that smother spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead trout. The project is the first phase of a landowner-supported program to restore the watershed of Austin Creek, one of the Russian River’s principal tributaries. (July)

For Mendocino County the Conservancy

  • contributed $3 million to Save-the-Redwoods League’s purchase of 957 acres known as the Shady Dell Creek Tract within the Usal Redwood Forest at the south end of Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The property lies along the coast and contains a popular visitor destination known as the Trees of Mystery—redwood trees that have been strangely contorted by wind over many decades. The purchase is part of a greater effort to conserve more than 50,000 acres of land in the Usal Creek and South Fork Eel River watersheds, most of which would be managed as a working forest while protecting fish and wildlife habitats. (January)
  • contributed $2.5 million to The Conservation Fund’s purchase of the 464-acre Smith Tract portion of the Ten Mile Ranch along Highway 1 north of Fort Bragg. The property contains a variety of natural communities including redwood/Douglas fir forest, coastal prairie, and freshwater, brackish, and salt marshes along Ten Mile River. The river’s estuary—much of which is found on the ranch—is critical habitat for Chinook and coho salmon. The purchase is the first of two planned phases of an effort to protect the entire 1,339-acre ranch through a conservation easement. (January)
  • contributed $2.21 million to the Trust for Public Land’s purchase of the southern 123 acres of the Point Arena Ranch in the City of Point Arena. The undeveloped property offers spectacular ocean views from high bluff tops, is immediately accessible from Highway 1, and provides an excellent site for extension of the California Coastal Trail. The remaining 409 acres of the ranch are targeted for acquisition in 2012 and the entire property is slated for conveyance to the federal Bureau of Land Management. (November)
  • awarded $46,000 to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy to plan and design trails on two blufftop parcels north of Gualala. One site, at Getchell Cove, is the target site for a half-mile section of the California Coastal Trail. The other site—the Milhollin parcel—will contain a short trail from the highway that will offer dramatic ocean views. (September)
  • provided $22,000 to the Coastal Land Trust to maintain and improve Seaside Beach, north of Fort Bragg, and the Heritage Trail, north of Albion. Seaside Beach straddles Highway 1 and contains natural areas and a sandy beach that attracts an estimated 175,000 visitors annually. The Heritage Trail leads from a small parking area on Highway 1 down a wooden stairway and boardwalk to Dark Gulch Beach. (May)

For Humboldt County the Conservancy

  • awarded $2 million to the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District for the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project near Ferndale for natural resource restoration and farmland protection. The project involves tidal marsh restoration on the 440-acre Riverside Ranch property, restoration of more than seven miles of the historic Salt River channel, erosion-reduction projects on private lands in the surrounding Wildcat Hills, and long-term adaptive maintenance and management of the project area. $1 million of the awarded funds was made available by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (May)
  • provided $525,000 to the City of Eureka for design and construction of the Truesdale Vista Point trailhead at the northern end of a planned 1.2-mile section of the Elk River Trail, a part of the California Coastal Trail. The trail will run through the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary and serve hikers, bikers, and users of nonmotorized watercraft. The trailhead’s amenities will include 23 parking spaces, a restroom, picnic facilities, and a wildlife viewing area. A portion of the funding will also be used for cleanup of homeless encampments in the vicinity and for a feasibility study aimed at additional trail development and wildlife habitat improvements on a nearby parcel. (January)
  • provided $315,000 to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire the 36-acre Senestraro property along Martin Slough on the Eureka city limits. The purchase will allow restoration of the property to improve water quality, manage floodwaters, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and protect and improve grazing land. Martin Slough flows to the Elk River and contains valuable but degraded habitat for coho salmon, waterfowl, and other wildlife. (May)
  • awarded $26,000 to the City of Arcata for the design and installation of interpretive and directional signs at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The signs will describe the marsh system’s rich and diverse natural resources and help guide visitors through five miles of walking and biking paths. The Conservancy’s work with the City to protect and improve the sanctuary dates to 1978. (September)
  • granted $15,000 to the County to design public access improvements and protect cultural resources at Big Lagoon County Park north of Trinidad. The planning covers improvements to allow people with disabilities to use park campsites, installation of a boat wash station, replacement of a floating dock, and protections for the O-púyweg Yurok village site. (May)

For Del Norte County the Conservancy

  • provided $145,000 to the National Park Service for initial planning and design work aimed at construction of a new Redwood National and State Parks hostel. The new facility will replace a hostel that operated from 1987 to 2010, providing low-cost accommodations to thousands of visitors. The old structure was built in 1877 and was closed because of concerns about its seismic safety and overall deterioration. The new hostel will be relocated to protect cultural resources significant to the Tolowa and Yurok peoples. (January)
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