The Conservancy at 40: Urban Greening
The Coastal Conservancy was established with the core mandates of providing public access to California’s coastline and preserving endangered coastal habitats. Urban greening projects have emerged as an approach that blends the two goals in unexpected ways. Streets, medians, parking lots, and parks can bring nature to people and all the attendant benefits that come with having a respite from a heavily urban environment. They are also constructed in ways that benefit water quality, provide habitat for native species, capture and reuse stormwater, and provide shade and cooling that help reduce energy demand. Projects that incorporate those elements are referred to as urban greening projects. Green infrastructure helps restore the health of the watershed, which translates into a healthier coast, and a better environment in which people can recreate.
When first attempting to restore coastal wetlands back in the early 1980s, Conservancy staff quickly realized that most impacts were generated in the upper watersheds. Urbanization, agricultural practices, timber harvesting and other land uses in the watersheds affected the amount of sediment produced and transported, and the amount and quality of water in the streams feeding the coastal estuaries. Soon we were expanding our project scopes to include land use practices in the watersheds. In Los Angeles, the LA River became a focus of efforts to restore natural functions within the LA River watershed, and the Conservancy worked with California State Parks to create a natural park area within Rio de los Angeles State Park.
In 2008, the Coastal Conservancy worked with the City of Los Angeles Public Works Department to create the Riverdale Avenue Green Street Demonstration Project, from which the City adopted residential green street building standards. The project involved installation of infiltration tanks under the street to collect runoff, and bioswales in the parking strips. In 2012 the Conservancy gave a grant to The River Project to undertake the Los Angeles Rainwater Harvesting Project (aka Water LA) to work with homeowners in two different neighborhoods to redesign their front gardens to allow for stormwater capture and infiltration by creating bioswales and replacing concrete driveways with permeable surfaces.
Our work on climate change has increased since 2012, and several of our Southern California Climate Ready projects have focused on the water-energy nexus. Los Angeles in particular draws a huge amount of water from the State Water Project, which pumps water from northern California over the Tehachapi Mountains, into LA County. By reducing the amount of water pumped, less energy would be consumed and, by extension, fewer greenhouse gases emitted. Grants to the Council for Watershed Health and Community Conservation Solutions looked at Stormwater Capture as a Climate Adaptation Strategy and at Green Solutions for water capture and reuse on publicly owned land.
We look forward to a future where green streets are the standard, parks that provide multiple benefits to wildlife and humans are ubiquitous, and our coastal watersheds are healthy with clean water in streams and acquifers.
- Coastal Conservancy Adopts Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Guidelines; Awards $7.8 Million for Coastal Restoration, Preservation and Public AccessOakland, CA – This week, the Board of the California State Coastal Conservancy unanimously adopted guidelines for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) and awarded $7.8 million to 13 projects to protect and restore the California coast and San Francisco Bay, and increase public access to these natural resources. The JEDI Guidelines will steer […] (Read more on Coastal Conservancy Adopts...)
- San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Implementation Meeting #34 – September 18, 2020AGENDA 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Location – VIRTUAL MEETING Please click this URL to join Zoom webinar: https://zoom.us/j/92189490950?pwd=WGdYQ0RZeHlwZEZuMitweWJtWmZqZz09 Passcode: 870128 Or join by phone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): +1 669 900 6833 or; +1 253 215 8782 or; +1 346 248 7799 Webinar ID: 921 […] (Read more on San Francisco Bay...)
- Proposition 68, Tijuana River Border Pollution Control RFP, due October 15, 2020The Coastal Conservancy is a state agency, established in 1976, to work proactively with local communities to implement multi-benefit projects that protect and enhance coastal resources. The Conservancy’s enabling legislation is Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, which can be found here. Division 21 authorizes the Conservancy to undertake projects and award grants to […] (Read more on Proposition 68, Tijuana...)