Coastal Conservancy Grants
Each year, the Coastal Conservancy issues tens of millions of dollars in grants to non-profit organizations, public agencies, and federally-recognized tribes for projects that restore and protect the California coast, increase public access to it, and increase communities’ resilience to climate change.
On September 23, 2021, Governor Newsom signed a budget bill that includes a total of $500 million for coastal resilience to be appropriated to the State Coastal Conservancy in Fiscal Years 2022-23 and 2023-24. This coastal resilience funding is part of the larger climate resilience budget package that demonstrates the State of California’s commitment to preparing for climate change impacts, including wildfire, extreme heat, drought, and sea level rise.
The State Coastal Conservancy will undertake a strategic planning process starting in late 2021 to identify priority projects and programs, desired measurable outcomes, and the process we will use for soliciting, evaluating, and recommending projects to the Conservancy Board for funding. This strategic planning process will include multiple meetings with public agencies, tribes, nonprofits, community groups, and the public to seek ideas, input, and feedback. If you want to stay informed of opportunities to weigh in, please sign up for our email list by clicking here.
This funding provides an unprecedented opportunity to move the needle on coastal resilience. The State Coastal Conservancy recognizes the urgency and importance of preparing the coast, and the people and wildlife that depend on the coast, for sea level rise and other climate change impacts. We look forward to working with many partner organizations to make a difference for the health of the coast.
Applying for a Grant
Grants are awarded through a standing pre-proposal solicitation and through scheduled grant rounds with specific submission deadlines. Information on the grant application and award process can be found here.
The first step in determining whether your project is eligible for Conservancy funding is to get in touch with the Regional Manager for your project area. The Regional Manager can give early feedback and help guide your project through the submittal process and can let you know which of the grant programs below could work best for your project.
The Regional Managers are:
North Coast (Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, coastal Sonoma, and coastal Marin counties)
- Karyn Gear – karyn.gear (at) scc.ca.gov
San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, bayside Marin, bayside Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and bayside San Mateo counties)
- Moira McEnespy – moira.mcenespy (at) scc.ca.gov
Central Coast (Coastal San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties)
- Trish Chapman – trish.chapman (at) scc.ca.gov
South Coast (Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, as well as Riverside and San Bernardino for the Santa Ana River Conservancy)
- Megan Cooper – megan.cooper (at) scc.ca.gov
- Greg Gauthier – greg.gauthier (at) scc.ca.gov for inquiries about the Santa Ana River
Ongoing Funding Opportunities
The Coastal Conservancy accepts grant applications on an ongoing basis for projects that benefit public access, natural resources, working lands, and climate resiliency on the California coast.
To find out how to access our ongoing funding opportunities for your project, please contact the Regional Managers above.
After contacting a Regional Manager, if your project is eligible for Conservancy funding, you will either be asked to fill out a pre-proposal application (approx. 3 pages) or advised to apply during one of our scheduled grant rounds (see below).
The pre-proposal for the Explore the Coast Overnight program can be found here.
Scheduled Grant Rounds
The Conservancy also holds periodic grant rounds related to specific programs or fund sources. Information on those grant rounds and their deadlines are be posted on this page when they are open. You can also sign up to be notified of scheduled grant rounds by registering for our mailing list at this link.
What We Fund
The Coastal Conservancy funds a wide variety of projects along the California coast, San Francisco Bay, and in coastal watersheds to increase availability of beaches, parks and trails for the public, protect and restore natural lands and wildlife habitat, preserve working lands, and increase community resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The Conservancy has used Project Selection Criteria for the past twenty years to communicate priorities to potential applicants and project partners, to evaluate grant applications, and to select projects for funding. Our Project Selection Criteria (updated in 2021) can be found here.
Our jurisdiction runs the length of the California coast and includes the San Francisco Bay, the Santa Ana River corridor and coastal watersheds. It is almost 50,000 square miles — approximately 30% of California’s area — and is home to 75% of the state’s population.
Projects that achieve multiple objectives will receive higher priority for funding. Projects that serve disadvantaged communities, as defined by the funding source, will also receive higher priority for funding.
The Conservancy will fund most stages of a project including: pre-project feasibility studies, property acquisition, project planning including community involvement, design, environmental review, permitting, construction, and project-related monitoring. We typically do not fund operation and maintenance activities.
For more information about projects funded by the Conservancy, please visit:
Who is Eligible for Funding
The Conservancy can make grants to government agencies (federal, state, local, and special districts), federally-recognized tribes, and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with purposes consistent with Division 21 of the Public Resources Code.
There are no established minimum or maximum grant amounts for most Conservancy programs. The Coastal Conservancy will base the size of awards on project needs, benefits and competing demands for existing funding. (Exception: $50,000 is the maximum amount for the Conservancy’s Explore the Coast Grants.)
- Resources for Grantees page
- Pre-proposal application
- Full Proposal instructions
- Full Proposal Application (fill out only if requested, after pre-proposal stage)
- Nonprofit questionnaire (please download before filling in)
- Request for Disbursement Form (and RFD instructions). The RFD form is also available as a downloadable spreadsheet here. Either version is fine to use.
- Pre-proposal for Explore the Coast Overnight
- Proposition 68 Grant Guidelines
- Proposition 68 Grant Guidelines for the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program Climate Adaptation Funds (“Prop 68 SF Bay Climate Funds”)
California has a statewide grants portal (grants.ca.gov) where applicants can search all California state grants.
- Sea Otter Recovery Grants – Deadline August 5, 2022The California State Coastal Conservancy announces the availability of grants to public agencies, tribes and nonprofit organizations for projects that facilitate the recovery of the southern sea otter along California’s coasts. Background The Coastal Conservancy (“Conservancy”) is a California state agency, established in 1976 to work with local communities to implement multi-benefit projects that protect […] (Read more on Sea Otter Recovery...)
- FY ’23 Request for Partnership Proposals/Letters of Interest for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant ProgramNOTE: This is a call-for preproposals for projects who would like to partner with the California State Coastal Conservancy in order to apply for US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant (NCWCG) Program funding. a) This is NOT the official NCWCG call for applications. b) Projects hoping to receive NCWCG funding are […] (Read more on FY ’23 Request...)
- 2022 Explore the Coast Grants Application Period Now OpenThe California State Coastal Conservancy announces the availability of grants to public agencies, federally-recognized tribes and indigenous communities, and nonprofit organizations for programs that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore California’s spectacular coast and San Francisco Bay shoreline. The ocean, coast, and beaches have long been recognized and used as spaces of joy, […] (Read more on 2022 Explore the...)