2012 Project Approvals

In 2012 the State Coastal Conservancy supported 87 projects located in every county along California’s coast and around San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy’s awards totaled more than $46 million and leveraged almost $70 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

  • awarded $125,000 to Access Northern California to complete its online guide to wheelchair accessible coastal parks and trails, which provides detailed information for wheelchair riders heading to the coast. The interactive guide, found at www.wheelingcalscoast.org, developed from the Conservancy’s wheelchair rider’s guides for the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles/Orange County areas. The new funding is being used to complete the guide’s coverage of the entire California coast and to update previously published information. (March)
  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the California Coastal Trail in Santa Barbara, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte 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. The Conservancy also awarded $300,000 to the nonprofit organization Coastwalk California to develop a California Coastal Trail Association, continue the Coastal Trail signing program, and promote public use of and support for the Coastal Trail. (October)

For Natural Resources Conservation along the coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $200,000 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to coordinate and prepare at least three in-depth case studies of the economic value and community benefits of conservation projects in Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. The work is part of the Healthy Lands & Healthy Communities Initiative, a comprehensive planning effort to identify priority, multi-benefit conservation projects and potential new funding sources and mechanisms to pay for them. (December)
  • awarded $721,000 to Trout Unlimited to improve habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout through construction of off-stream storage facilities in four coastal watersheds. The facilities will allow water to be stored in the winter, when streamflows are plentiful, to substitute for water that is currently diverted in the summer, when low flows can be deadly to fish. The watersheds are those of the Mattole River in southern Humboldt County, San Gregorio and Pescadero creeks in San Mateo County, and Little Arthur Creek, a tributary of the Pajaro River in Santa Cruz County. The projects build on Trout Unlimited’s success with similar projects in other parts of the coast. (January)


For the length of the South Coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $650,000 to Earth Island Institute for the Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program, which supports community-based restoration of coastal wetlands and other natural areas from San Diego through Santa Barbara counties. Typical projects include replacement of invasive vegetation with native plants, trash removal, and trail construction. All projects must involve community participation and education. On average, the program provides a total of about $300,000 for 10 or so projects per year. The program 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. (August)

For San Diego County the Conservancy

  • awarded $950,000 for planning and construction of three new segments of the San Diego River Trail, which one day will link communities and parklands along the 52-mile length of the river. The County Department of Parks and Recreation will use the funding to construct the 2½-mile Flume Trail segment and the San Diego Association of Governments will prepare plans for the Carlton Oaks and Qualcomm Stadium segments. The San Diego River Trail is a key component of the developing San Diego River Park, envisioned as a greenbelt running from the river’s headwaters in the Cleveland National Forest to its outfall at Ocean Beach. The Conservancy also provided $55,000 to The Trust for Public Land to prepare a plan for the protection and restoration of the San Diego River area and the completion of the park. (December)
  • provided $450,000 to the County to construct a ¾-mile trail in Tijuana River Valley Regional Park for use by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, and wheelchair riders. It will link two existing trails, allowing visitors to travel more than five miles through the park. The park contains a variety of wildlife habitats, including dunes, marshlands, and sage scrub, and the 22 miles of trails planned for the park will enable people to visit those areas without threatening the health of the natural environment. (May)
  • awarded $440,000 to the San Francisco Estuary Institute to prepare the Historical Ecology Study of the Tijuana River and Estuary. SFEI will collect historical information about lands along the Tijuana River and how they have changed since the early days of Spanish settlements. The information will help guide the many efforts by both the United States and Mexico to restore and manage the Tijuana River Valley. (March)
  • granted $130,000 to the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association to continue its study of how sediments are transported in waters at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The study will assist in the review of current policies regarding sediment discharge and deposition in California and may well lead to lower costs for restoration projects and better use of sediments for beach replenishment and other purposes. The grant adds to Conservancy funding provided in 2008 and 2009. (May)
  • awarded $250,000 to the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association to continue, for at least five years, its ongoing monitoring of the physical and biological characteristics of Los Peñasquitos Lagoon adjacent to Torrey Pines State Reserve. The monitoring, which began in 1987, has been essential to understanding the dynamic processes that affect the health of the lagoon and the effectiveness of restoration and management efforts. (May)
  • granted $77,000 to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for continued technical studies and environmental documentation necessary for restoration of San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas. The work will lead to improved water circulation and wildlife habitats and a program for the lagoon’s long-term maintenance and management. Although severely degraded, the lagoon is a valuable component of the network of habitats for birds and fish along the South Coast. The grant adds to almost $1.9 million of Conservancy funding awarded since 2008. (December)

For San Diego and Orange Counties the Conservancy

  • provided $70,000 to the Maritime Museum of San Diego for the Festival of Sail held at the Port of San Diego and the Tall Ship Festival held at Dana Point Harbor in 2012. The highly popular festivals featured visits from historic tall ships and working craft from around the world together with educational activities and live entertainment that called attention to the importance of the two waterfronts. (May)

For Orange County the Conservancy

  • awarded $1.5 million to the City of Laguna Beach for its purchase of the 56-acre McGehee property for addition to the adjacent Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, a 3,873-acre County park just east of Laguna Beach. The property features a hiking trail that connects to the adjacent parkland and to regional trails within the South Coast Wilderness system of canyons, parks, and preserves. The property offers sweeping views of the coast and inland hills and contains habitat for a variety of native wildlife. The Conservancy also provided $160,000 to the Laguna Canyon Foundation to design and install signs for the park that will provide more than 120,000 annual visitors with directions to and along the park’s many miles of trails together with information about park resources and regulations. (August and October)
  • granted $14,000 to the Crystal Cove Alliance to purchase four beach wheelchairs for use by visitors to Crystal Cove State Park. The wheelchairs have large balloon tires for traveling over sand and can be pushed by most adults. Similar wheelchairs have been available for several years and are well-used by the public. (December)

For Los Angeles County the Conservancy

  • made $6.5 million available for engineering and technical studies necessary for restoration of the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve along Santa Monica Bay. The studies will lead to improved habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, better flood protection, and opportunities for people to experience a coastal wetland in the heart of urban Los Angeles. This is the most recent step in decades of restoration efforts by many government agencies, private conservation organizations, and the local community. (January)
  • provided $2.92 million to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to purchase five adjacent undeveloped lots on Las Tunas Beach in Malibu. The purchase preserved unrestricted ocean views from Pacific Coast Highway and offers an opportunity to develop the lots into a new public beach. The Conservancy has a long history of helping people get to and enjoy the world famous beaches of Malibu. (March)
  • awarded $470,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to prepare a comprehensive plan for development of new public accessways to Malibu beaches. The plan will focus on 12 potential access points located along the length of Malibu’s shoreline. (December)
  • provided $715,000 to The River Project, a nonprofit organization, to develop standard plans for capturing rainwater on residential properties. The Rainwater Harvesting Project will recruit at least two dozen San Fernando Valley homeowners to install and maintain a variety of rain-harvest demonstration projects on their properties for a minimum of two years, with the resulting information used to guide similar water conservation efforts throughout greater Los Angeles. The project is part of the City of Los Angeles Green Streets Initiative, which aims to capture and use storm water and reduce flows of polluted water to the ocean. (January)
  • awarded $300,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to construct Milton Street Park along the Ballona Creek Bike Path east of Marina del Rey in the City of Los Angeles. The 1.2-acre park will serve as a gateway to the popular trail and a rest area for hikers and bikers using the trail. (December)

For Ventura County the Conservancy

  • awarded $111,000 to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to prepare a feasibility study and preliminary designs for an Education and Conservation Center at the Ventura River Steelhead Preserve. The center is proposed for an old residence on the historic Hollingsworth Ranch, purchased in 2011 with funding, in part, from the Coastal Conservancy. Proposed uses for the center include a visitor center, environmental research and education, and community meetings and events. (May)


For the length of the Central Coast the Conservancy

  • awarded $60,000 to UC-Santa Cruz to research the effects of shark attacks on the population of southern sea otters. Earlier Conservancy-funded research investigated risks to sea otters caused by human behavior, and those studies discovered a sharp rise in the frequency of lethal shark attacks. The new research is attempting to provide better understanding of the causes of these attacks. (May)

For Santa Barbara County the Conservancy

  • awarded $300,000 to the City of Santa Barbara to improve passage for steelhead trout in the lower channel of Mission Creek. The project will modify two concrete flood-control channels that currently block migrating southern steelhead—an endangered species—from historic spawning and rearing habitat upstream. The work is necessary for the success of other fish-passage projects in the creek. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contributed $100,000 of the awarded funds. (October)
  • provided $200,000 to the City of Santa Barbara to reconstruct the lower portion of the public stairway to Mesa Lane Beach. For more than 30 years, the Mesa Lane stairs, a part of the California Coastal Trail, have enabled countless beachgoers to reach the sandy beach at the bottom of a 140-foot bluff. The lower stairs, however, have deteriorated to the point that they are becoming hazardous and could wash away in a powerful storm. The new stairs have been designed to survive 50 years of heavy use, winter storms, and sea level rise. (May)
  • awarded $100,000 to the Santa Barbara Trails Council for design and permitting of a 2.1-mile segment of the California Coastal Trail through the Sperling Preserve on Ellwood Mesa in Goleta. The trail will connect Goleta neighborhoods to the north, UC Santa Barbara and Coal Oil Point Nature Preserve lands to the east, and the scenic rural lands along the Gaviota Coast to the west. The Sperling Preserve attracts many visitors but the existing informal trails and beach pathways are in poor condition and in some areas harmful to wildlife habitats. (March)
  • granted $50,000 to the City of Santa Barbara to update the Goleta Slough Management Plan by adding a study that examines ways to adapt to sea level rise. Rising sea levels could dramatically affect the area of the low-lying slough, which contains valuable wildlife habitat surrounded by a regional airport, two district sanitary facilities, many roads, and a variety of other facilities critical to the community. Without advance planning, the slough could be subject to devastating loss of wildlife habitat along with hundreds of millions of dollars of direct damages to structures and facilities and resulting losses to the local economy. (January)

For San Luis Obispo County the Conservancy

  • made $400,000 available to prepare final design, permit, and environmental review documents for development of a campground at Port San Luis Harbor overlooking San Luis Obispo Bay. The campground will provide low-cost accommodations—scarce along most of California’s coast—for up to 300 visitors at a time. The Port San Luis Harbor District will lease the site and the Conservancy will share in future campground revenues. (December)
  • provided $40,000 to California State Parks for the design and permitting of a planned campground at the site of the former Piedras Blancas Motel within Hearst San Simeon State Park on the coast. The site offers an ideal opportunity to provide low- and moderate-cost tent and RV camping to visitors at the southern end of Big Sur. (October)

For Monterey County the Conservancy

  • made $27.5 million of new funding 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. The bulk of the Conservancy’s award comes from a number of State and federal agencies and private sources. (August)
  • contributed $1 million to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s purchase of the 317-acre Whisler Wilson Ranch east of Point Lobos for addition to the 4,350-acre Palo Corona Regional Park. The purchase will greatly increase the public’s ability to reach that park and will also enable the opening of the neighboring Point Lobos Ranch State Park, acquired in 2004 but closed to the public for lack of access. The ranch offers spectacular views of Carmel Bay and inland mountains and contains a variety of habitats that are home to threatened and endangered wildlife. (October)
  • provided $600,000 to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation for design and permitting prior to the restoration of tidal marsh and adjacent uplands in Elkhorn Slough. The marshlands of the slough are disappearing at a rapid rate because of diking and draining, increased tidal flooding, and bank erosion, resulting in losses of highly productive fish and wildlife habitat. The planned restoration will raise the elevation of 50 acres of marsh through addition of sediments and restore 50 acres of grasslands to create a buffer between the estuary and farmland. (May)
  • awarded $404,000 to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to reconstruct a damaged levee and relocate and expand a dock at Whistlestop Lagoon in Elkhorn Slough. The damaged levee restricts water flow to and from the 13-acre lagoon and interferes with movements of fish and wildlife between the lagoon and neighboring waters. The project will replace a portion of the levee with a bridge that will greatly improve water flows and quality and allow people to safely cross to the popular Hummingbird Island and the slough’s main channel. A floating dock will also be relocated and lengthened to reduce disturbance to lagoon wildlife habitats. (August)

For Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties the Conservancy

  • provided $100,000 to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation to produce a study that examines how shoreline areas may be vulnerable from future sea level rise in Monterey Bay. Some of the State’s highest rates of shoreline erosion are already found around Monterey Bay and the expected rise in sea levels will only exacerbate the resulting damage. The study will help local communities plan for and protect against future flooding and coastal erosion. (January)

For Santa Cruz County the Conservancy

  • awarded $156,000 to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to plan for the restoration of natural resources in the Watsonville Slough area. The goals of the planning are to improve and protect wetlands, manage floodwaters, protect farmland, and help people get to and enjoy the area. The funding comes from a grant received by the Conservancy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant program, and it follows many years of work by the Conservancy and other State, federal, and private agencies and organizations. (January)

For the Coastside of San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • awarded $200,000 to the California State Parks Foundation to produce detailed construction drawings for the restoration of the Pigeon Point Light Station south of Pescadero. Tours of the lighthouse were suspended in 2001 when chunks of brick and iron began falling 115 feet from the top of the lighthouse to the ground, and nothing short of a major restoration is needed to save the structure and re-open it to the public. The 150-year-old light station features the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast and attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually. (May)


For the Greater San Francisco Bay Area the Conservancy

  • provided $2.56 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the construction of tidal wetlands and pond habitats near Alviso in Santa Clara County. The work is part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, which aims to restore 15,100 acres of former salt ponds to tidal wetlands and ponds managed for wildlife habitat. The project 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 California Department of Water Resources provided $1.2 million of the Conservancy’s grant and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided $700,000. The Conservancy also made $546,000—most of which was provided by the U.S. EPA—available for research into the risks of environmental contamination by mercury at the former salt ponds. (January and October)
  • made $550,000 available for the Living Shorelines Project, which aims to restore underwater wildlife habitats in San Francisco Bay and help communities prepare for the rise in sea level that is expected to result from climate change. The funding follows $1 million awarded in 2010 and will be used for two pilot projects on the San Rafael shoreline in Marin County and offshore from Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, Alameda County. The projects will examine the ability of restored native oyster and eelgrass beds to protect shoreline areas that are vulnerable to seal level rise and shoreline erosion. The State Wildlife Conservation Board is providing $300,000 of the available funding. (March)
  • made $684,000 available for the ongoing effort to eradicate invasive Spartina, non-native varieties of cordgrass that threaten native wildlife habitats in and around San Francisco 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 an estimated 45 acres at the end of 2011. Formerly infested sites are now being replanted with native vegetation. The funding for this stage of the project came from the Port of Oakland. (August)
  • awarded $390,000 to the San Francisco Parks Alliance to conduct conservation planning in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, including outreach and coordination among public and private conservation organizations. Activities will be undertaken through the Bay Area Open Space Council, which includes more than 50 nonprofit conservation organizations and public land-management agencies that work throughout the Bay Area. (December)
  • granted $100,000 to the American Farmland Trust to complete the Bay Area Agricultural Sustainability Plan for the support of working farms in the San Francisco Bay Area. The objectives of the plan are to expand production on local farms, develop regional markets, and assist farmers in getting their products to consumers. (March)
  • approved funding for projects to extend and improve the San Francisco Bay Trail in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Sonoma 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 Mateo, Santa Clara, and Contra Costa 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. About 340 miles of the trail are now open to the public.

For San Francisco the Conservancy

  • awarded $617,000 to the Port of San Francisco to improve public access to San Francisco’s southeast waterfront by removing creosote-treated pilings at Pier 84 in Islais Creek and preparing plans for the renovation of the Copra Crane as a waterfront/labor-history landmark. Pier 84’s pilings leach toxins into the creek, block views of San Francisco Bay and the creek, and are a navigational hazard. The deteriorating five-story crane is the last remaining artifact on the City’s waterfront from the days when longshoremen used hand-operated machinery to offload shipments from bulk cargo vessels. The funding comes from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and West Coast Recycling Company. (December)
  • provided $400,000 to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association to follow through with recommendations in the Ocean Beach Master Plan, in particular closure of the Great Highway south of Sloat Boulevard. SPUR will prepare plans to reconfigure roadways, extend public transit, and improve parking in the area. SPUR will also develop a joint management framework and agreement among the multiple agencies with management responsibilities for Ocean Beach. The five-mile length of Ocean Beach makes it one of the longest urban beaches in the country and it has the potential to become one of the most spectacular metropolitan beaches in the world. The Ocean Beach Master Plan was largely funded by the Conservancy and released in early 2012. (January)
  • granted $250,000 to The Exploratorium to construct indoor and outdoor exhibits highlighting the history and natural environment of San Francisco Bay at the museum’s new site on Piers 15 and 17. The exhibits will include a Bay History Walk along a section of the San Francisco Bay Trail and hands-on, interactive exhibits that make use of the immediate bayfront location. The funding will also support a series of public workshops that will bring experts in a variety of fields to explore ideas about the science and environment of the bay. (October)

For Bayside and Inland San Mateo County the Conservancy

  • awarded $282,000 to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to construct a 69-space parking lot, restrooms, connector trails, and other improvements to the San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail at El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve on Skyline Boulevard. The preserve’s dramatic scenery, rugged terrain, and 36 miles of interior trails make it a popular destination, but it has no formal parking area or trails that are accessible to the disabled. The work is the first of four phases of construction that will ultimately include a new two-mile section of the Ridge Trail through the preserve. (March)
  • provided $200,000 to Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands at Middle Bair Island in Redwood City. 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 marshlands, which are home to a wide variety of waterfowl and other wildlife. The funding follows $1.89 million awarded for the project in 2011. (August)

For Santa Clara County the Conservancy

  • contributed $500,000 to The Nature Conservancy’s purchase of the 1,155-acre Nolan Ranch on the side of Mount Hamilton east of San Jose. The ranch has since been added to Joseph D. Grant County Park and links the park to the lands of UC-Santa Cruz’s Lick Observatory, expanding a nearly 70-mile stretch of protected lands from Pleasanton to Pacheco Pass. The purchase preserves migratory routes for wildlife, protects drinking water in downstream reservoirs, and provides a site for public trails that will include an extension of the Bay Area Ridge Trail to Mount Hamilton. (May)
  • contributed $750,000 to the Peninsula Open Space Trust’s purchase of 490 acres adjacent to Mount Madonna County Park west of Gilroy. The property is slated for addition to the park and offers excellent opportunities to expand the regional trails network. A variety of high-quality wildlife habitats are found on the property including a portion of Little Arthur Creek, one of the County’s most productive spawning streams for steelhead trout. (October)
  • contributed $250,000 to the Peninsula Open Space Trust’s purchase of a scenic 358-acre property adjacent to Uvas Reservoir County Park near Morgan Hill. The County expects to manage the property as an addition to the neighboring parkland and eventually to assume ownership. The property is home to many native species of plants and wildlife and was once slated for large-scale residential development. (October)
  • awarded $169,000 to the County for construction and upgrade of segments of the Bay Area Ridge Trail at Sanborn Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Saratoga. The work will include a new 3.2-mile segment of the John Nicholas Trail and upgrades to 4.9 miles of the Skyline Trail—both part of the Ridge Trail—and will open the park to bicyclists for the first time. The project will create a continuous 22-mile Ridge Trail corridor from Lake Ranch in Sanborn Park northward to the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. (May)

For Alameda County the Conservancy

  • contributed $750,000 to the East Bay Regional Park District’s acquisition of 1,368 acres for addition to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park north of Sunol. The rugged property contains a variety of wildlife habitats in excellent condition and offers opportunities to greatly expand the trail system on neighboring parkland. (October)
  • awarded $175,000 to the Alameda County Resource Conservation District to support the Alameda County Wildlife-Friendly Pond Restoration Program, which helps ranchers restore livestock ponds to benefit both cattle and wildlife. Many species of wildlife, including the threatened California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander, have long depended on stock ponds, but most of the 800-1,000 ponds in the eastern county rangelands are failing and the repair costs are not economical for ranchers. The program has been responsible for the restoration of 20 ponds since 2006. (October)
  • provided $150,000 to the East Bay Regional Park District to design and obtain permits for improvements to Albany Beach in Eastshore State Park. The planned improvements include a new section of the San Francisco Bay Trail, an enhanced sandy beach, restored dunes and other native habitats, and a parking lot, restrooms, and other facilities for visitors. Albany Beach lies between the Golden Gate Fields horse racing track and the bay—a location that is expected to become very popular with visitors to the bay shoreline. The funding came from Caltrans as mitigation required by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. (March)

For Contra Costa County the Conservancy

  • provided $2.17 million to the East Bay Regional Park District for wetlands restoration and trail construction at Breuner Marsh in the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The work will include removal of imported fill and hazardous materials, replacement of invasive vegetation with native plants, and dredging of channels to improve water circulation. A 1½-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail will also be constructed on the uplands portion of the 150-acre site, along with a parking lot, restroom, picnic area, and spur trail to an overlook. The Conservancy’s award included $920,000 of grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (August)
  • contributed $500,000 to the East Bay Regional Park District’s purchase of 51 acres of the Pacific Custom Materials Property to expand and improve Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline between Martinez and Port Costa. The property lies between two existing Regional Shoreline properties and offers opportunities for a campground, an extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail, and a landing site for the Bay Area Water Trail. (October)
  • awarded $1.37 million to the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust to acquire agricultural conservation easements over the 166-acre Stenzel property near Brentwood. The property contains highly productive farmland within the County’s designated Agricultural Core. The easements will limit any future division of the property and help to ensure that the farmland remains in production. (May)
  • awarded $500,000 to the City of Richmond to “daylight” and restore a 750-foot length of Baxter Creek and establish a four-acre greenbelt at the Miraflores Green Housing Project. The City will remove the culvert that now contains most of the creek at the site and restore the creek’s floodplain with natural meanders for the creek channel and native plants. The greenway will include a trail that links to the San Francisco Bay Trail along with a pedestrian bridge over the creek and community gardens. Local community groups, including Groundwork Richmond and Friends of the Richmond Greenway, will assist with the greenway’s maintenance. (October)
  • authorized the Association of Bay Area Governments to provide $198,000 of Conservancy funds to the East Bay Regional Park District to construct ½ mile of the San Francisco Bay Trail near the Bio-Rad Laboratories campus in the City of Hercules. The trail, named the Bio-Rad Bay Trail, will be built into the side of a bluff overlooking San Pablo Bay and extend from an existing section of the Bay Trail in the Victoria-by-the-Bay neighborhood. The trail will eventually be linked to the City’s planned Intermodal Transit Center and is expected to be well used by bicyclists and pedestrians. (March)
  • awarded $125,000 to the East Bay Regional Park District to construct three miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail known as Martinez Feeder Trail #1 west of Martinez. The funding will also be used to survey an additional 0.7-mile future segment of the same trail. When completed, the trail will run from Dutra Road to Pereira Road and cross or skirt large areas of protected natural lands. (October)

For Solano County the Conservancy

  • awarded $292,000 to the Solano Resource Conservation District to restore 53 acres of wildlife habitat along 1½ miles of Blue Rock Springs Creek in Vallejo. The project includes restoration of 25 acres of native oak woodland, creation of a 3½-acre native grassland demonstration site, and replacement of invasive weeds with native plants. Wardlaw Elementary School and Jesse Bethel High School are located along the creek and their students will be actively engaged in restoring and monitoring the site as part of an existing science education program supported by earlier Conservancy funding. Many other community volunteers will also be working on the project. (August)

For Napa County the Conservancy

  • provided $1 million to the County to restore portions of a one-mile stretch of the Napa River between St. Helena and Oakville. The project is part of a greater restoration of the river’s Rutherford Reach that aims to reduce erosion of sediments into the river’s channel, improve habitat for salmon and steelhead trout, expand and improve wildlife habitat along the river’s corridor, and assist with flood management. Vintners and growers along the river are actively participating in the project. (January)

For Bayside and Inland Sonoma County the Conservancy

  • awarded $3.5 million to the Sonoma Land Trust to restore a variety of wildlife habitats and construct visitor facilities at the 2,327-acre Sears Point property on San Pablo Bay. The project will restore tidal marsh, seasonal wetlands, upland grasslands, and creeks that together are habitats for vast numbers of wildlife. A new 2½-mile section of the San Francisco Bay Trail will connect existing portions of the trail from the intersection of Highways 37 and 121 to the Sonoma Baylands site on the Petaluma River. The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reimburse the Conservancy with more than $2.2 million in grants for the project. (January and October)
  • provided $162,000 to Sonoma Land Trust for design and permitting necessary to remove three barriers to migration of steelhead trout on Stuart Creek, a tributary of Sonoma Creek, and to construct a public parking lot and trail to the creek. The project aims to restore 2.2 miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat for the fish and enable people to access the Land Trust’s 3½-acre Stuart Creek Run property near Glen Ellen. (October)

For Bayside and Inland Marin County the Conservancy

  • awarded $200,000 to PRBO Conservation Science for its Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) Program to establish native plants at the Hamilton Wetland Restoration Project in Novato. Much of the 150-acre project site was recently surfaced with large volumes of materials dredged from San Francisco Bay to create seasonal wetlands. The project is expected to involve 1,300 to 1,600 students and teachers from local schools, and the plantings and subsequent monitoring will be incorporated into the schools’ science programs. (August)
  • awarded $200,000 to the Marin Audubon Society to complete the restoration of tidal wetlands at Bahia Lagoon in Novato. The project site contains more than 400 acres of tidal and seasonal wetlands adjacent to oak woodlands and other protected wildlife habitats. The restoration will greatly expand habitats for fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife, and it follows the first phase of restoration that was completed in 2009. (August)


For the Coastside of Marin County the Conservancy

  • contributed $2.6 million to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust’s purchase of agricultural conservation easements over the 1,194-acre Barboni Ranch in Hicks Valley north of Nicasio. The easements will support the continued operation of the ranch’s grazing lands while protecting its natural resources and wildlife habitats. MALT already held conservation easements on neighboring properties, and this purchase resulted in a protected block of more than 9,000 acres of farmland. The California Department of Transportation contributed $1.6 million of the Conservancy’s funding. (March and October)
  • awarded $263,000 to the Marin Resource Conservation District to help ranchers reduce soil erosion and improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Tomales Bay watershed. The funding is supporting work on two ranches, one along Walker Creek and the other east of Dillon Beach. The work will conserve ranchland, prevent eroded sediment from entering creeks that drain to Tomales Bay, and improve habitats for a wide variety of animals including coho salmon, river otters, and mountain lions. The projects are part of the RCD’s Conserving Our Watershed (COW) program, and they benefit from the Marin Coastal Watersheds Permit Coordination Program, established with Conservancy funding provided in 2001. (October)

For the Coastside of Sonoma County the Conservancy

  • awarded $300,000 to the Endangered Habitats Conservancy to prepare a conceptual design for restoration of an abandoned gravel quarry on the Russian River floodplain near Windsor. The aim of the project is to restore the 357-acre Hanson Aggregates property to a complex of ponds, wetlands, and forested areas that would serve as habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife and reduce the risk of downstream flooding. (May)

For Mendocino County the Conservancy

  • awarded $1.36 million to the City of Fort Bragg to build more than four miles of trails, restore native vegetation, and purchase the four-acre Soldier Point property for addition to Noyo Headlands Park on the former Georgia-Pacific Mill site. The new Ka Kahleh Coastal Trail—an addition to the California Coastal Trail—will enable the public to reach the majority of the City’s coastline for the first time in generations. The funding will also support the construction of parking areas and other visitor facilities. (October)
  • provided $220,000 to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council to construct two trails across the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in the remote Lost Coast. The trails—one running for about 1.2 miles and the other for about 0.5 miles—will provide inland links from Usal County Road to the California Coastal Trail in the State Park. Currently, the State Park can only be reached from its southern and northern boundaries. (October)
  • awarded $79,000 to Save the Redwoods League for planning and design of a new two-mile section of the California Coastal Trail on the Usal-Shady Dell Creek Property in the Lost Coast. The new trail will extend southward from the existing Lost Coast Trail in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, wind through the Trees of Mystery, cross Shady Dell Creek, and continue to the rugged coastline. The 957-acre property was purchased by the League in 2011 largely with Conservancy funding. (October)
  • contributed $66,000 to the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s purchase of the 65-acre Hunt property to add to the Inglenook Fen-Ten Mile Dunes Natural Preserve in MacKerricher State Park north of Fort Bragg. The property is a private inholding within the park that contains a large block of relatively pristine coastal dunes, coastal prairie, and wetlands along Ten Mile River. (December)
  • awarded $60,000 to the Mendocino Land Trust to construct ¾ miles of the California Coastal Trail to Hare Creek Beach on the southern boundary of Fort Bragg. The beach is now accessible only from an informal trail that is unsigned and frequently missed by hikers on the Coastal Trail. The new trail will connect to a parking area on Redwood Community College property and lead southward to the beach. The land trust purchased the Hare Creek Beach property in 2010 with Conservancy funding. (August)
  • granted $10,000 to the Moat Creek Managing Agency for its continued 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. (May)

For Humboldt County the Conservancy

  • awarded $250,000 to the Coastal Ecosystems Institute of Northern California to prepare a sea level rise adaptation plan for the Humboldt Bay Region. The plan will help the region’s communities develop and employ strategies to protect environmental and economic resources in the face of a changing climate. A working group convened through the County and the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District will oversee the plan’s preparation. The Conservancy also awarded $85,000 to the Harbor District to study the feasibility of using dredged materials to restore marshlands and adapt to sea level rise around the bay. Materials dredged to clear shipping channels, ports, and marinas have been invaluable for marshlands restoration and shoreline protection in other areas—most notably San Francisco Bay. (January and October)
  • provided $224,000 to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to purchase the 20-acre Freshwater Farms Nursery on Freshwater Creek just east of Eureka. The property adjoins 54 acres acquired by the land trust with Conservancy funding in 2005 that have been improved for salmon and trout habitat, agriculture, and public use. The new acquisition will allow expansion of the tidal marsh restoration, continuation of a native plant nursery, and extension of the neighboring site’s public trail. (January)
  • provided $210,000 to the Salt River Watershed Council for its purchase of the 23-acre Toste property on the Salt River near Ferndale. About one-third of the property will be returned to the river’s active floodplain and managed as part of the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project. Most of the property’s remainder will be dedicated to pasture or other farming uses, and a public trail or roadway is planned for visitors to the river and restoration site. The goals of the restoration project include improvements to habitat for salmon, trout, and other wildlife, management of floodwaters, and protection of the extensive farmland along the length of the river. (May)
  • awarded $235,000 to the City of Arcata to restore 212 acres of the McDaniel Slough wetlands along Arcata Bay. The work will restore tidal flows and migratory fish passage to former salt marsh and protect neighboring properties with new levees that will be topped with public trails. The project is the final step in a series of property acquisitions, planning, and restoration of neighboring areas that began in 1998. (October)
  • granted $90,000 to the Redwood Community Action Agency to prepare conceptual plans for a new section of the California Coastal Trail from the south end of Scenic Drive near Moonstone Beach County Park to the south bank of Little River at Little River State Beach. The new trail would close a 0.8-mile gap in the Coastal Trail that forces pedestrians and bicyclists onto the edge Highway 101. (October)

For Del Norte County the Conservancy

  • awarded $2.35 million to the Crescent City Harbor District to construct visitor-serving improvements, including a promenade around the Inner Boat Basin, at the Crescent City Harbor. The improvements will include a new ½-mile section of the California Coastal Trail that will link the harbor to the edge of downtown. The project is part of an effort to revitalize the City’s harbor and encourage tourism, an important component of the local economy. (October)

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