Safeguard our Coast Day

Big Sur Beach by Jeff Chou Flickr Creative Commons

Big Sur Beach by Jeff Chou Flickr Creative Commons

Thanks to State Senator Mark Leno and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a state resolution (SJR 20) passed through the legislature in August of 2014 that salutes the 50th anniversary of the state’s leadership and innovation in coastal planning and management and proclaims February 16, 2015, and each third Monday in February thereafter as “Safeguard Our Coast Day”.

Ann Notthoff of the Natural Resources Defense Council put it well: “Our coast defines us Californians.  We have the best coastal management system in the world.  Thanks to that and strong public support, California’s coast is beautiful, our tourism economy is booming and the marine life that call it home have a healthy future.  Constant pressures will always mean the coast and ocean are never “saved,” but we are lucky to have a coastal program that gives us the tools to keep our coast as healthy as possible. “

The state’s innovative coastal planning and management program emerged almost 50 years ago with the establishment of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in 1965 to address the increasing and competing demands on Bay resources occasioned by population growth and economic development. The same mounting pressures along the state’s coastline led to creation of the California Coastal Commission by voter initiative in 1972 and to the State Coastal Conservancy by the Legislature in 1976. The three agencies, departments of the California Natural Resources Agency, comprise the state’s federally recognized coastal management program under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. Their mission:  to balance economic development with the need to preserve, protect, enhance and restore the nation’s coastal resources.

California’s coastal waters, waterfronts, wetlands, harbors, estuaries, bays, ports, marinas, beaches, riparian areas, and agricultural resources are important environmental and economic resources of the state. The coastal economy contributes $96 billion annually to the state. Eighty percent of the state’s 38 million residents live and work within 30 miles of the coastline.  The three coastal management agencies are working to help coastal communities adapt to sea level rise and climate change, which pose new and increasing threats to our coastal resources and economy.  SJR 20 recognizes the contributions of the state’s coastal management program in enhancing our coast, our economy and our quality of life as well as the state’s ongoing responsibility to manage and conserve the public trust in coastal and ocean ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

Read the full resolution: Senate Joint Resolution 20.

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