2014 Project Approvals

In 2014 the State Coastal Conservancy supported more than 80 projects along California’s coast and around San Francisco Bay with awards totaling almost $23 million. The Conservancy’s support for these projects is leveraging more than $46 million from the federal and local governments and private organizations. The funds are being used to help people enjoy the outdoors, protect and improve natural lands, support local economies, and prepare for climate change. 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 Recreation along the length of the coast the Conservancy

  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the California Coastal Trail in San Diego, Orange, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, 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 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.
  • approved use of $275,000 for development of an “Explore the Coast” web application to help residents and visitors get to and enjoy California’s coast. The app will include information to help people find sections of the California Coastal Trail, public beaches, and other coastal recreation sites and provide information about an area’s natural and cultural resources. The Conservancy is collaborating with the California Coastal Commission and the California Coastal Trail Association on the app’s development. (July)

For Climate Change throughout the coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $3 million to 20 cities, counties, and nonprofit organizations to give them a jump on reducing local risks from a warming climate, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and extreme weather. In its first grant round, the Climate Ready Program funded projects from San Diego to Humboldt counties to help communities identify and plan for areas vulnerable to flooding, erosion, increased fire risk, and reduced water availability. Several of the projects are promoting reduced emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and examining ways to remove those gasses from the atmosphere. Information about each of these projects is provided in the county listings that follow. (January)

SOUTH COAST

For the length of the South Coast the Conservancy

  • approved six Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program projects with awards totaling $141,000. The projects involve community participation and education in the restoration of coastal wetlands and other natural areas from San Diego through Santa Barbara counties. The program is administered by Earth Island Institute and is part of the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a partnership of 18 State and federal agencies working in concert with local governments, conservation organizations, and the business community to acquire, restore, and improve coastal wetlands and natural areas. Information about each of the projects is provided in the county listings that follow. (May)

For San Diego County the Conservancy

  • awarded $200,000 to the City of Solana Beach to reconstruct the Del Mar Shores beach stairway at the City’s southern end. The original stairs—one of only four spots to reach the beach in the City—were closed in 2012 for safety reasons. The City reopened the 112-step stairway in October 2014. (January)
  • provided $156,000 to the San Diego River Conservancy to complete plans for the San Diego River Trail at Grant Park in the City of San Diego. The 17-acre site is in the heart of Mission Valley, surrounded by urban development and easily reachable by foot, bicycle, trolley, bus, and car. It will house the San Diego River Discovery Center and a section of the San Diego River Trail, which one day will run for 50 miles between the ocean and the river’s headwaters. (January)
  • awarded $100,000 to the County of San Diego to develop a feasibility study to improve the public’s use and enjoyment of Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. Goals of the study include identification of a suitable location for a campground facility and improvements to the existing trail system. (October)
  • awarded $100,000 to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, for planning and construction of an addition to the Scripps Coastal Trail on the Scripps campus. The new blufftop trail will run between two coastal overlook sites and fill a 350-foot gap in the Campus Meander Trail. It will also provide an alternate route for the California Coastal Trail, which currently runs along the shoreline and is occasionally impassible due to high tides. The award follows $250,000 provided by the Conservancy in 2013. (December)
  • provided $460,000 to the San Diego Audubon Society to develop a conceptual plan to protect, improve, and restore 170 acres of wetlands and adjoining uplands in Mission Bay. Only about 5% of the historic Mission Bay wetlands remain, and increasing that amount would benefit water quality and wildlife habitat while providing protection for adjacent neighborhoods against sea level rise. The plan will also examine appropriate ways to open the wetlands for scientific research and access by the public. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $300,000 to the City of Imperial Beach to assess the vulnerability of its outer coast to sea level rise and identify adaptation strategies to protect natural areas and human communities. The study will analyze risks from flooding, storm surges, and erosion related to expected SLR and help the City develop plans for improved resilience. The work will complement similar studies for San Diego Bay/Otay River on the City’s northern boundary and the Tijuana River and Estuary on its south. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $150,000 to the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research to restore 25 acres of endangered coastal sage scrub habitat near the western shoreline of Lake Hodges. The restoration will increase the area’s resilience to expected effects of climate change by reducing the frequency of fires and providing a corridor for wildlife to migrate to more favorable climatic environments. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of fires in the area, and the restored habitat will be far less susceptible to fires than the non-native grasslands it will replace. The protected land surrounding Lake Hodges is an important wildlife corridor between the natural environments of coastal Del Mar and the rural mountains to the east. (January)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $29,000 to The Earth Discovery Institute for a project to integrate grade-level science curriculum with hands-on restoration of a wetlands site in San Diego Bay and an upland site within the San Diego River watershed. The 450 fourth- and fifth-graders participating in the program will engage in classroom ecological studies followed by two field trips that will include plantings of native vegetation. (May)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $26,000 to the California Invasive Plant Council for its project to survey, map, and control populations of five non-native plants that threaten San Diego wetlands habitats. The project is a key component of a regional early detection and rapid response program established to eradicate invasive plants from the natural environment. Much of the work will be done by volunteers from local communities along with professional consultants and County workers. (May)
  • awarded $25,000 to the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to continue its work on the Historical Ecology Study of North San Diego County Coastal Wetlands. Working with the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project and California State University, Northridge, SFEI has been analyzing historical documents to characterize changes in water flows, habitats, and the plants and animals found in eight wetlands from Torrey Pines State Reserve to Camp Pendleton. The information will be used to develop restoration strategies geared to each of the wetlands. The funding follows $345,000 provided by the Conservancy since 2010. (January)

For Orange County the Conservancy

  • awarded $550,000 to the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association for a pilot project that will add a layer of sediment to a portion of  the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge in the City of Seal Beach to determine if the addition will improve habitat quality and resistance to the effects of sea level rise. Eight-to-ten inches of dredge materials will be layered on a 10-acre portion of the refuge and monitored for five years. The monitoring will examine if the addition improves habitat for the endangered light-footed Ridgeway’s rail and if similar sediment augmentation might be an effective means to conserve salt marsh habitat threatened by sea level rise in other areas along California’s coast. (October)
  • provided $300,000 to The Ocean Foundation to develop a restoration plan for the Aliso Creek estuary in Laguna Beach. In its current condition the estuary is a degraded lagoon that suffers from seasonal fluctuations in water level, obstructed discharge to the ocean, and frequent episodes of poor water quality. The estuary, however, is strategically located between 15,000 acres of natural habitats in the San Joaquin Hills and the Laguna State Marine Reserve, so it has the potential to be developed into a valuable habitat linkage between freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems. The study is expected to have broader use in restoration planning for other small lagoons and estuaries in southern California. (October)
  • awarded $100,000 to the City of San Clemente for design and permitting of a one-third-mile southward extension of the San Clemente Coastal Trail. The new wheelchair-accessible trail will run on the inland side of the railroad tracks between Calafia State Beach and San Clemente State Beach and will include an undercrossing to allow safe access to the shoreline. The existing three-mile section of the trail is one of the most used portions of the California Coastal Trail, attracting an estimated 1.8 million users annually. (December)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $15,000 to Orange County Coastkeeper for its project to involve the public in the restoration and preservation of eelgrass in Upper Newport Bay. The multi-year project brings together students, local divers, local business employees, and other community volunteers to restore historic eelgrass beds, a critical element of a healthy environment for the bay. (May)
  • granted $32,000 to Orange County Coastkeeper for continued maintenance of the Conservancy’s public access easement at Portofino Cove in Huntington Harbour. The easement allows the public to use a sidewalk that runs along the Harbour’s main channel between Seabridge Park and a public parking lot. Orange County Coastkeeper has managed the Portofino Cove easement since 2007 and the new funding is expected to provide for an additional five years of maintenance. (December)

For the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway the Conservancy

  • awarded $400,000 to San Bernardino County to continue its engineering and design of a bikeway with pedestrian shoulders along a 3½-mile length of the Santa Ana River Trail in the City of Redlands. The funding follows $100,000 provided by the Conservancy for the project in 2013. At 110 miles the Santa Ana River Parkway will be one of the longest river parkways in the United States, connecting 14 cities in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties and linking the San Bernardino National Forest and other wilderness areas to the California Coastal Trail near Huntington Beach. (October)

For Los Angeles County the Conservancy

  • contributed $1.5 million to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s purchase of an undeveloped 703-acre property in Puerco Canyon adjacent to Corral Canyon Park and Malibu Creek State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. The purchase protected several types of habitats and critical corridors needed by wildlife to migrate between protected lands near and far. It will also allow construction of a key section of the Coastal Slope Trail, whose planned alignment runs for 70 miles between Point Mugu Lagoon and Topanga State Park. Without this purchase, the property would likely have been developed for as many as 24 residences. (May)
  • awarded $45,000 to the Catalina Island Conservancy to serve hikers and bikers on more than 200 miles of trails on Santa Catalina Island. The signs will include six welcome signs at entry points to the island and trail system and interpretive signs at six locations focusing on the plant and animal communities and natural resources unique to the island. (May)
  • provided $297,000 to Community Conservation Solutions for Phase IV of the Green Solution Project to evaluate the potential of using public sites to capture stormwater for re-use and reduce flows of pollution to the upper Los Angeles River. Information from the project could be used to create a local water source for the County. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $169,000 to Heal the Bay, working with Green LA Coalition, to compile information on the benefits, costs, and feasibility of three Living Streets programs in the City of Los Angeles that address causes and expected effects of climate change. The three programs are Complete Streets, which encourages use of streets by bicycles, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Green Infrastructure, by which street designs and materials help capture rainwater for reuse and prevent its runoff; and Cool Streets, through which reflected materials embedded in asphalt reduce the absorption of solar heat and lower the ambient air temperature. The information will inform the City of the costs and benefits of Living Streets programs and help guide street maintenance and utility policies. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $161,000 to the nonprofit organization North East Trees to work with Los Angeles County to transform a derelict two-acre parcel of land in the Highland Park area. The parcel will become a community park planted with drought-tolerant plants and native trees and containing features that capture and control stormwater runoff. The project site is owned by the City of Los Angeles and located between the Arroyo Seco and the 110 freeway. A primary purpose of the project is to demonstrate landscaping practices that can counter expected effects of climate change and reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $150,000 to the Council for Watershed Health to study the feasibility of large-scale capture of rainfall in the Los Angeles area for storage in underground aquifers. Four large groundwater basins in the County with over one million acre-feet of additional capacity could potentially store the over 380,000 acre-feet (1.23 billion gallons) of rainfall that flows unimpeded to the ocean in an average year. Capture of a significant portion of this rainfall would augment local water supplies, reduce reliance on imported water, and help move the Los Angeles region toward water independence. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $100,000 to the City of Hermosa Beach to assess the vulnerability of the City’s infrastructure to sea level rise and identify adaptation strategies. The assessment will include monitoring of shallow groundwater levels and salinity to determine how future SLR is likely to affect sewage systems and stormwater management, water lines, utilities, and below-grade structures. Results of the assessment will be used to develop plans to prevent and manage floodwaters, protect against rising groundwater levels, and protect ocean water quality. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $70,000 to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors to assess the vulnerability of the County’s coastal beaches to sea level rise and plan for their protection. The world-renowned beaches are immensely important to the region’s culture and economy, but rising seas and storm surges resulting from climate change threaten their continued existence. The County manages 17 beaches between Malibu and San Pedro that attract more than 50 million visitors annually. The ultimate goal of the project is to prepare an adaptive management plan for those beaches with a range of strategies for their preservation. (January)
  • provided $25,000 to the University of Southern California Sea Grant Program to provide surveys of beach profile changes and high-water mark data along the shores of Santa Monica Bay. The information will be used to assess risks and prepare for flooding that may result from storms and high tides. (October)
  • provided $21,000 to the University of Southern California Sea Grant Program to provide climate change training that will help coastal communities in Los Angeles County understand and plan for the effects of climate change. (March)
  • awarded $17,000 to The Bay Foundation for the Southern California Abalone and Kelp Forest Habitat Restoration Project to restore green abalone populations at three sites offshore of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Project work will include testing of a potential spawning method for green abalone and to assess and monitor potential sites for abalone outplanting. The work is an attempt to counter the precipitous population declines that all species of southern California abalone have suffered in the last few decades. The awarded funds are available through a grant to the Conservancy from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (December)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $11,000 to TreePeople to involve students and other local volunteers in replacing invasive plants with trees, shrubs, and other native vegetation along Topanga Creek in Topanga State Park. The work will improve the habitat of the creek, one of only three creeks draining to Santa Monica Bay that contains the endangered southern steelhead trout. (May)

For Ventura County the Conservancy

  • provided $843,000 to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to acquire a 29-acre property and complete a stewardship plan for its addition to the Ventura River Parkway. The property is adjacent to the Land Conservancy’s Ventura River Preserve in the Meiners Oaks area and contains a section of the river’s floodplain. The purchase furthered the creation of a greenway along the river that will conserve wildlife habitat, manage stormwater, and provide trails and other recreational amenities. (May)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $30,000 to Fillmore Unified School District to support a continuing project that involves K-12 students and teachers, UC-Santa Barbara undergraduates, and other community volunteers in the restoration of the Santa Clara River. The project coordinates science education with hands-on restoration including removal of invasive plants and planting native vegetation. The project targets student groups that have traditionally been underserved by environmental education programs. (May)

CENTRAL COAST

For the length of the Central Coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $226,000 to the University of California and $12,000 to the City of Watsonville for projects to aid the recovery of the southern sea otter. UC-Santa Cruz is continuing its research on the behavior of otters in Elkhorn Slough and conducting a public education program on sea otter recovery. UC-Davis will complete its three-year study of how coastal contaminants affect the otters’ health and survival. The City is removing carp from Pinto Lake, in the Pajaro River watershed, to reduce levels of potent toxins that have caused the deaths of many otters in Monterey Bay. (January and December)

For Santa Barbara County the Conservancy

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $200,000 to the County, working with the cities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and Goleta, to assess the vulnerability of the County’s southern shoreline to expected effects of climate change and identify adaptation strategies. The assessment will include modeling to determine potential damage from sea level rise, intensified storm events, flooding, and shoreline erosion. It will also evaluate how wetlands, reefs, and other natural buffers can fit into shoreline defenses for protection of communities, critical infrastructure, beaches, and natural areas. (January)
  • approved a Community Wetland Restoration Program grant of $30,000 to the Santa Barbara Zoo to continue a project to replace dense stands of invasive vegetation with native plants in an area between the zoo and the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. At least 300 volunteers are expected to join in the work, which will greatly improve habitats for several threatened and endangered species of birds and other wildlife. (May)

For San Luis Obispo County the Conservancy

  • contributed $4 million to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County’s purchase of the 900-acre Pismo Preserve just above the city of Pismo Beach. The property—a historic cattle ranch threatened by development—offers sweeping views of San Luis Bay on one side and the Edna Valley on the other, along with excellent opportunities for miles of public trails. The purchase protected oak woodlands, a stretch of Pismo Creek, and other wildlife habitats and ensured that cattle grazing compatible with those habitats may continue. (May)
  • awarded $750,000 to the County for a comprehensive rehabilitation of the 982-foot-long Cayucos Pier. The seaward half of the pier—damaged over decades by storms, waves, and worms—was closed in July 2013 for public safety reasons. Many parts of the pier were 60 years old at the time and some appear to date back to its original construction in the 1870s. Although the resort town of Cayucos has only about 2,600 residents, in recent years the pier has attracted an estimated 400,000 visitors annually. (October)

For Monterey County the Conservancy

  • provided $75,000 to California State Parks for improvements to the California Coastal Trail in Garrapata State Park in northern Big Sur. The project will employ the California Conservation Corps to improve a 1,100-foot section of blufftop trail in the area of Soberanes Creek. The funding is available from a Coastal Commission-approved settlement following an enforcement action related to the Big Sur wedding of Sean and Alexandra Parker in 2013. (December)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $150,000 to the Nature Conservancy to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of strategies for adapting to sea level rise in southern Monterey Bay. The study will build on a 2012 report analyzing coastal erosion mitigation strategies and a recently completed study funded by the Coastal Conservancy that examined future SLR effects at the parcel level. The new study will incorporate climate change effects into the 2012 study and refine its spatial focus. It will also make use of social surveys and economics to motivate communities to consider climate change in local planning and regulatory programs. (January)
  • provided $50,000 to Alnus Ecological to assist the Conservancy in the development of projects in the Carmel River watershed that promote recovery of steelhead trout, federally listed as a threatened species (December)

For Santa Cruz County the Conservancy

  • provided $250,000 to the County to build pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists at Twin Lakes State Beach in the Live Oak neighborhood of Santa Cruz. More than 500,000 annual beachgoers currently share the adjacent East Cliff Drive with vehicles that park on the road shoulder and sandy beach. The pathways are part of a larger project to move part of East Cliff Drive inland, protect infrastructure, construct parking facilities, and improve traffic circulation. The pathways will become part of the California Coastal Trail and the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Trail. (October)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $163,000 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, working with the University of Santa Cruz, to investigate ways to capture stormwater and store it in underground aquifers to improve the reliability of water supplies. Changing rainfall patterns resulting from climate change, including less frequent but more extreme storm events, are expected to strain the County’s ability to supply water for residential and commercial use. Although construction of new surface reservoirs in the County has been deemed infeasible, it may be possible to significantly improve the capture of rainwater in underground aquifers. The study will analyze past, present, and projected runoff patterns to identify potential sites for underground water storage. Knowledge derived from the study is expected to be applicable to other regions of the State. (January)

For Monterey, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties the Conservancy

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $100,000 to the Sempervirens Fund to investigate the feasibility of establishing a carbon bank for the Santa Cruz Mountains that would provide an economic incentive to landowners for the protection of redwoods as an alternative to logging or development. Coast redwoods store considerable amounts of carbon and, in doing so, remove vast amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Through the sale of carbon credits, owners of forested lands in California can profit by protecting redwoods, but the development, verification, and monitoring costs of carbon offset projects can be very high. Aggregating many small properties could potentially achieve an economy of scale that would make a carbon bank economically viable for the small landowners that make up most of the Santa Cruz Mountains. (January)

For the Coastside of San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • contributed $500,000 to San Mateo County Department of Parks’ purchase of the 174-acre Loma Mar property on Pescadero Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The property contains Douglas fir/redwood forest habitat and a tributary to Pescadero Creek and is a promising site for a trail between the adjacent Memorial County Park and Pescadero State Beach. (May)
  • provided $246,000 to the Coastside Land Trust to construct a one-third-mile, wheelchair-friendly segment of the California Coastal Trail about one mile southwest of downtown Half Moon Bay. The trail is located above steep bluffs on a portion of the Wavecrest Property purchased by the land trust with Conservancy assistance in 2012. To the north the trail connects to the adjacent Bluff Top Coastal Park and four miles of the Coastal Trail. Plans are underway to extend the trail southward to meet up with the existing trail at Redondo Beach near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. (May)
  • awarded $200,000 to the City of Half Moon Bay to prepare designs and permit applications for replacement of the collapsed Pilarcitos Creek Bridge, a part of the California Coastal Trail at Half Moon Bay State Beach. After 20 years of heavy use, the bridge was closed for safety reasons in early 2014. The bridge, located near the center of a six-mile stretch of the Coastal Trail, was very popular with local residents and visitors to the State Beach. (December)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

For the Greater San Francisco Bay Area the Conservancy

  • awarded a block grant of $1 million to the Association of Bay Area Governments for projects to complete the San Francisco Bay Trail within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Conservancy also approved funding for projects to extend and improve the Bay Trail in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, and Napa 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 338 miles of the trail—more than two-thirds of its ultimate length—have been completed. Previous block grants from the Conservancy have supported 126 Bay Trail projects. (May)
  • made $1.2 million available for scientific studies, including a $230,000 grant to Ducks Unlimited, as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. The project is restoring 15,100 acres of former salt ponds to tidal wetlands and ponds managed for wildlife habitat. The work will improve the quality of bay waters, moderate the effects of storms and shoreline flooding, and assist bay communities in adapting to sea level rise. The studies are focused on a mercury-contaminated area near Alviso Slough in Santa Clara County and wildlife habitats in Eden Landing, Alameda County. $1 million of the funding is coming from the Santa Clara Valley Water District. (October and December)
  • made $1.8 million available for the Invasive Spartina Project, established to eradicate non-native varieties of cordgrass that threaten native wildlife habitats in and around San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy has worked 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 33 acres by 2014. The funding for this stage of the project—available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—is being used for planting of native vegetation and habitat improvements in 31 formerly infested sites. (May)
  • provided $185,000 to The Nature Conservancy to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to conduct technical analyses, perform outreach, and develop program guidelines for a pilot Bay Area Regional Advance Mitigation Program. Similar programs in other areas have improved the conservation results of transportation mitigation projects while facilitating planning and lowering costs for transportation agencies. (May)
  • authorized use of $65,000 to complete the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Technical Update for San Francisco Bay. The update is part of a long-term, multi-agency effort to assess and address the likely effects of climate change on baylands habitats. (May)

For San Francisco the Conservancy

  • awarded $500,000 to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to complete a conceptual park plan for a city-owned bayfront property on Innes Avenue just south of India Basin Shoreline Park. The 1.9-acre property, purchased by the City in 2014, offers an opportunity to extend the San Francisco Bay Trail southward from the park and to construct small-boat facilities that would become part of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail. (May)

For Bayside and Inland San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • provided $519,000 to Ducks Unlimited for the final phase of wetlands restoration at Inner Bair Island in Redwood City. Work will include levee breaches and improvements to allow the island’s wetlands to evolve relatively quickly into a vegetated marsh plain that is especially hospitable to wildlife. The work will complete the restorations of Inner, Middle, and Outer Bair Islands that began in the late 1990s. The funding was available from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetland Conservation grant. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $200,000 to the San Francisco International Airport to convene a multi-agency working group to study the vulnerability of a shoreline area northwest of the airport to sea level rise and prepare adaptation strategies. The area, where San Bruno and Colma creeks meet the bay, contains residential neighborhoods that have been subject to severe flooding, habitat for threatened and endangered species, and substantial public infrastructure including two major highways, Caltrain and BART lines, two sanitary sewage treatment plants, and multiple flood control channels and pump stations. The study will complement the airport’s SFO Shoreline Protection Feasibility Study, whose purpose is to develop a shoreline protection system that will protect the airport from flooding and rising seas. (January)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $200,000 to the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority to design a pilot project to protect against flooding of a portion of the Bayfront Expressway (State Highway 84) between the Dumbarton Bridge and Ravenswood Slough. The project will incorporate restoration of wildlife habitat in adjacent former salt ponds as part of the flood-control measures, and the design will also provide for closing a gap in the San Francisco Bay Trail. Information from the project will be used to design similar flood-control/habitat-restoration projects needed in the area. (January)
  • provided $67,000 to American Rivers to prepare designs for three projects to remove barriers to migrating steelhead trout on two tributaries of San Francisquito Creek—Bear Creek and Los Trancos Creek—in the cities of Woodside and Portola Valley. San Francisquito Creek is one of a handful of Bay Area streams that continues to host wild steelhead populations and the three targeted barriers are the most significant impediments to steelhead migration in its lower watershed. The work will follow the successful fish-passage improvements made downstream at Bonde Weir in Menlo Park in 2013. (May)

For Santa Clara County the Conservancy

  • contributed $1 million to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority’s acquisition of the 1,831-acre UTC Coyote Ridge property southeast of San José in the Mount Hamilton Range. The property features almost four miles of trails, rare and endangered plant communities, heritage oak forests, and spectacular views. The Authority plans to eventually open the property to the public and connect its trails to the nearby Anderson Lake County Park and Coyote Creek County Park. (May)
  • provided $107,000 to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to construct a staging/parking area and ¼-mile trail connection to the Bay Area Ridge Trail at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve about seven miles northeast of downtown San José. The staging area is one of only a few places in the County that allows hikers, bikers, and equestrians to reach the Ridge Trail on the ridgeline, rather than from lower elevations. The new trail from the site connects to a six-mile section of the Ridge Trail opened by the Authority in 2011. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $63,000 to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council to work with the San Francisco Bay Trail Project to examine how public hiking and biking trails, together with mass transit, can most effectively be managed to reduce car usage and emissions of greenhouse gases. The study will focus on the South Bay Trail network, which includes the San Francisco Bay Trail, Ridge Trail, and several creek trails, and enlist the support of local governments, major businesses, and others already involved in transportation management programs. (January)

For Alameda County the Conservancy

  • awarded $500,000 to the City of Berkeley to construct an extension to the Berkeley Bay Trail—a spur trail of the San Francisco Bay Trail—and make improvements to the parking lot and windsurf staging area at the South Sailing Cove in the Berkeley Marina. The trail extension will connect to an existing trail section that leads to the main stem of the Bay Trail and will become part of a 1.3-mile trail along the southern and western areas of the marina. (May)
  • provided $168,000 to the City of Albany to plan for addition of the Albany Neck and Bulb to McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. Although already frequented by recreational users, the waterfront site contains trail hazards, lacks adequate service and emergency access, and requires environmental review before it could be added to the park. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $200,000 to the East Bay Dischargers Authority to study strategies for changes to regional wastewater discharge that would protect facilities from sea level rise and potentially use treated wastewater to enhance the growth of wetlands vegetation. The study will examine the costs and benefits of decentralizing discharge facilities, many of which are currently vulnerable to rising seas. It will also look at the possible use of treated but nutrient-rich wastewater in wetlands to build shoreline buffers and capture and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. (January)

For Contra Costa County the Conservancy

  • awarded $207,000 to the Muir Heritage Land Trust to design and construct public trails and undertake grazing and habitat improvements on the Franklin Canyon and Fernandez Ranch properties on the City of Hercules border. New trails will open to the public the Franklin Canyon property, acquired by the land trust with Conservancy assistance in 2010, and connect to existing trails on the neighboring Fernandez Ranch. Improvements to ponds will benefit wildlife and new fencing and water development will enable the land trust to lease Franklin Canyon for cattle grazing, resulting in improved conditions for native vegetation and reduced fire risk. (January)

For Solano County the Conservancy

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $150,000 to the City of Benicia to assess the vulnerability to rising seas of shoreline and community assets including the Port of Benicia, Benicia Industrial Park, recreational sites, and wildlife habitats. The City will then create an adaptation plan to mitigate risks identified by the assessment. The City’s goals are to better prepare the community to deal with future effects of climate change, to focus on how to make a key City asset–the Industrial Park–more resilient to climate change, and to evaluate how to integrate adaptation planning into City governance. (January)

For Napa County the Conservancy

  • authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $120,000 of Conservancy funds to the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District to construct 0.8 miles of multi-use trail between the cities of Napa and American Canyon. The new trail, finished in late 2014, became part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, the Napa River Trail, and the Napa Valley Vine Trail, and is one day expected to be part of a continuous trail linking the two cities. (March)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA AND NORTH COAST

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $100,000 to the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority to assess the vulnerability of North Bay lands to effects of climate change and identify ways to deal with those effects. The assessment will include analysis of expected changes in temperature, rainfall, water flows, and risks of fire and flooding. The work will be done in partnership with several local government agencies and private organizations and cover lands in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino counties. (January)

NORTH COAST

For the length of the North Coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $200,000 to the Northwest California Resource Conservation and Development Council to design four projects to improve fish passage and habitats in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties. The funding will support the Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program established in the late 1990s to boost populations of migrating salmon and trout. The program has opened more than 100 miles of historic spawning and rearing habitats that had been blocked by poorly constructed road-stream crossings. (October)

For Western Marin County the Conservancy

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $200,000 to the Marin Resource Conservation District to develop projects on three local farms to demonstrate management techniques that can decrease atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and methane, both potent greenhouse gases, while increasing drought resilience and agricultural productivity. The techniques are being developed through the Marin Carbon Project and will be based on improved methods to capture and sequester carbon in vegetation and soils. Widespread adaptation of the techniques could have a significant effect on surplus carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (January)

For the Coastside of Sonoma County the Conservancy

  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $167,000 to the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to help farmers and fish in western Sonoma County adjust to expected changes in rainfall patterns and water availability resulting from climate change. The expected changes include an extended and warmer dry season and a compressed rainy season that will threaten water supplies for farmers and habitats for salmon and steelhead trout. The RCD will design large-scale rainwater catchment and storage systems for five farming operations as demonstration projects and install structures within streams to make their habitats more resilient to climate change. (January)

For Mendocino County the Conservancy

  • awarded $350,000 to Save the Redwoods League to construct a 2.3-mile section of the California Coastal Trail on the Usal-Shady Dell Creek property adjacent to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The trail, to be named the Peter Douglas Coastal Trail in honor of the Coastal Commission’s long-time former director, will connect on the north to the Lost Coast section of the Coastal Trail and wind through a variety of scenic habitats including the spectacular Trees of Mystery. The League purchased the property in 2011 with assistance from the Conservancy. (December)
  • provided $65,000 to the City of Point Arena for its purchase of the 1.8-acre Point Arena Cove property on the shoreline of Point Arena. The property is just south of the Point Arena Pier and will offer visitors a new coastal overlook and expanded beach access. It also contains a wooded section of Point Arena Creek and is adjacent to habitat for the endangered Point Arena mountain beaver. (December)
  • granted $15,000 to the Moat Creek Managing Agency to continue for three years its operation and maintenance of a restroom, parking lot, and trails at Moat Creek Beach and along the Moat Creek segment of the California Coastal Trail south of Point Arena. The trails and facilities came about from an early and successful Conservancy project to reduce the density of the Whiskey Shoals subdivision west of Highway 1. (October)

For Humboldt County the Conservancy

  • provided $358,000 to the federal Bureau of Land Management to construct and upgrade trails, parking areas, and other visitor-serving facilities in the Lost Coast Headlands Management Area west of Ferndale. Work will include a new ADA-compliant trail and upgrades of two existing trails, a new parking area and upgrades of two existing lots, and installation of a picnic area, a scenic overlook, and permanent restrooms. BLM assembled the 463-acre management area through acquisition of six properties—in part with Conservancy assistance—since 2001. (October)
  • awarded $85,000 to the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust for its purchase of a 14-acre property at the mouth of Little River south of Trinidad. The purchase will protect coastal wetlands and an estuary that provide habitat for birds, salmon, and steelhead trout. The property also offers an opportunity to extend the California Coastal Trail northward from Little River State Beach and to build a trailhead at the southern end of Scenic Drive, which leads to Trinidad. A portion of the Conservancy’s award came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (October)
  • provided $600,000 to Trout Unlimited to remove a barrier to fish passage on Fish Creek, a tributary to the South Fork Eel River. The barrier is a 74-year-old box culvert, at the downstream edge of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, through which the creek flows under Avenue of the Giants near Miranda. The culvert prevents salmon and steelhead from reaching almost three miles of historic spawning and rearing habitat. It will be replaced by an arch culvert that will allow fish passage while increasing the integrity of the roadway and decreasing required maintenance. (October)
  • awarded $200,000 to the Mattole Salmon Group to improve degraded habitat for coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the 250-acre Mattole River estuary near Petrolia. The work will include planning for overall estuary restoration, installation of wood structures for immediate refuge and rearing habitat, and plantings of native trees and shrubs. The river’s fish populations have seriously declined in recent years and the estuary is important for their continued survival. (May)
  • awarded a Climate Ready grant of $86,000 to the City of Arcata to develop tools and programs to protect against rising sea levels that threaten shoreline lands and facilities, including the City’s wastewater treatment plant. The City will design a 22-acre “living shorelines” area on Arcata Bay to serve as a buffer against rising seas, investigate how private landowners might be enlisted for additional protection, and evaluate the potential of more than 900 acres of planned and existing marshlands to sequester greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. (January)

For Humboldt and Del Norte Counties the Conservancy

  • contributed $2 million to the Western Rivers Conservancy’s purchase of 4,063 acres of forested land in and around the Blue Creek watershed. Blue Creek flows to the Lower Klamath River and has been identified as essential for recovery of coho salmon. The property will join with other protected lands to form the 8,700-acre Blue Creek Preserve, which will be restored and managed by the Yurok Tribe for improved fish and wildlife habitat, water quality protection, and carbon sequestration. (December)

For Del Norte County the Conservancy

  • awarded $125,000 to the City of Crescent City to construct new facilities for visitors to Beachfront Park including a beach stairway and nearby parking spaces at the east end of the beach, a 50-foot ramp to the beach at the west end, and a paved picnic area. The stairway will provide a safe route to the beach in an area where visitors currently have to climb down an eight-foot-high rock revetment to reach the sand. The ramp will extend a wheelchair-accessible trail that now stops just short of the beach. The new stairway and ramp will connect to the section of the California Coastal Trail that runs between Battery Point Lighthouse and Crescent City Harbor. (October)
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