The Conservancy at 40: Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project
Wetlands were the cradle of life on the earth’s surface. They are still among the planet’s richest environments and offer countless benefits to people. Acre for acre, wetlands are one of the most productive wildlife habitats on earth. They are nurseries for fish, including important commercial species, and are necessary for the survival of many migratory and resident birds. They improve water quality and recharge groundwater aquifers. They help protect coastal communities from flooding that results from storms and sea level rise while capturing and storing a significant amount of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. And finally, they provide opportunities for education and public recreation while boosting local economies. For more than a century, most of California’s wetlands were filled and converted to other uses. Almost half of estuarine wetlands have been completely lost, while 75% of vegetated estuarine wetlands have been lost. And many more have been converted to a different wetland type. Along California’s South Coast a number of key patches remain. Some are in excellent shape, while others are in desperate need of repair.
The Coastal Conservancy’s work on coastal wetlands goes back to our very beginning in 1978. In order to increase regional coordination and communication among public agencies, nonprofit organizations and community members who had a vested interest in Southern California’s wetlands, the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) was created in 1997 and has been working to re-establish a healthy mosaic of wetlands, rivers, and streams from San Diego to Santa Barbara counties. The WRP—chaired by the California Natural Resources Agency and staffed by the Coastal Conservancy—is made up of 18 State and federal agencies working with scientists, local governments, conservation groups, businesses, and educators, a true collaboration. Over the past 15 years more than $631 million has been invested in 206 wetlands projects. The State of California has contributed more than half of that funding.
The WRP’s workplan identifies the priority projects for the region, projects like the Ormond Beach Wetlands in Ventura County. The goal of the Ormond Beach Wetlands project is to acquire and restore at least 1,200 acres and integrate these wetlands with the 3,000-acre Mugu Lagoon dunes and wetlands complex. Public ownership will allow for restoration of most of the historic extent of the coastal wetlands, beach, dunes and associated uplands that were there before conversion to industry and agriculture. A future final restoration design would restore historical lagoons, including related ecotones and grasslands, and allow room for sea level rise and storm erosion in accordance with climate change models.
And we don’t just work on the South Coast. The Coastal Conservancy has worked with public and private partners to protect and restore more than 50,000 acres of wetlands in coastal areas and around San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy has supported hundreds of wetlands projects and has been a leader of the State’s largest restoration efforts for the last 40 years!
- Notice of Intention to amend the Conflict of Interest Code of the State Coastal ConservancyThe Coastal Conservancy proposes to amend its conflict of interest code to include employee positions that involve the making or participation in the making of decisions that may foreseeably have a material effect on any financial interest, as set forth in subdivision (a) of section 87302 of the Government Code. The amendment carries out the […] (Read more on Notice of Intention...)
- Press Release: State Coastal Conservancy Awards $84 Million for Climate Resilience, Public Access, Habitat Restoration, and Wildfire ResilienceLast week, the Board of the State Coastal Conservancy authorized funding totaling $84 million for projects to protect and restore coastal lands, increase coastal resilience to climate change, improve public access to the coast, and reduce the impact of wildfire on coastal lands. Grants awarded include: $5,552,800 to the Redwood Community Action Agency to restore 350 […] (Read more on Press Release: State...)
- San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Implementation Meeting #41 – September 29, 2023, 10am – 12pmAGENDA September 29, 2023 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. HYBRID MEETING Zoom Meeting Information: Please join us on Zoom at this link: https://scc-ca-gov.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkf-GtrDgjGtwqmo305QFC6HGMco5kob-0 Physical Meeting Location: Claremont Room, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco CA 94105 If you are planning to attend in person, please email Ben.firstname.lastname@example.org in advance so we know to expect you. We […] (Read more on San Francisco Bay...)