Critical Coastal Areas

A Project of the Water and Land Use Studies Program at ABAG

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is committed to ensuring the success of the State's Critical Coastal Areas Program, an innovative program to foster collaboration among local stakeholders and government agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, to better coordinate resources and focus efforts on coastal watersheds in critical need of protection from polluted runoff. A multi-agency statewide CCA Committee has identified an initial list of 101 CCAs along the coast and in San Francisco Bay.

ABAG has formed a partnership with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, the California Coastal Commission and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission in a pilot project to evaluate three critical coastal areas and their respective watersheds, and to provide technical assistance to local governments, non-governmental organizations and others involved in controlling land based sources of pollution entering these special areas of the California coast.

New
  • New watershed documentation is available from Phase I and Phase II of the pilot program. Please refer to SFEI web site
  • Public workshop in FMR Critical Coastal Area.
    Saturday, October 4, 2008 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
    The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (RCD), on behalf of the Steering Committee for the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Critical Coastal Area Pilot Project, invites you to "Protecting Water Quality in Our Critical Coastal Area." This public workshop is for people to find out more about the pilot project and help develop a plan to reduce pollution into the Reserve from surrounding lands.

    WHERE: Pillar Ridge Manufactured Home Community 164 Culebra Lane, Moss Beach, CA 94038
    RSVP: (650) 712-7765 or renee@sanmateorcd.org by September 24th Refreshments will be provided.
  • New watershed planning documents available from out-of-region CCA pilot project in Trinidad, California. Click on ICWMP
Study Areas Background

The Critical Coastal Areas (CCA) Program is an innovative program to foster collaboration among local stakeholders and government agencies, to better coordinate resources and focus efforts on coastal watersheds in critical need of protection from polluted runoff. A multi-agency statewide CCA Committee has identified an initial list of 101 CCAs along the coast and in San Francisco Bay.

The Problem of Polluted Runoff

Throughout California's diverse 1,100-mile coast, there is a growing awareness of the problem of polluted runoff in our coastal waters-our rivers and estuaries, lakes and lagoons, bays and ocean. Polluted runoff is generated by a variety of land use activities, including urban development, agriculture, and forestry. Many of our coastal waters are degraded or threatened by polluted runoff-also known as Non-point source (NPS) pollution-which harms aquatic ecosystems, public health, and the local economy.

How Does the CCA Program Work?

The CCA Program, part of the state's NPS Plan, is a non-regulatory planning tool to coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies and stakeholders, and direct resources to CCAs. The program's goal is to ensure that effective NPS management measures are implemented to protect or restore coastal water quality in CCAs. CCA identification supports the acquisition of grant funding by prioritizing protection efforts.

CCA Action Plan

Beginning with five pilot CCAs, the CCA Program will form teams of local stakeholders (watershed groups, special interest organizations, and community members) and government agencies (state, federal, and local) to develop community-based CCA Action Plans for addressing polluted runoff that threatens coastal resources within these CCAs.

The Action Plan will integrate and build on existing local watershed protection and restoration efforts, identify needs and available resources, focus the attention of responsible agencies, and coordinate with other relevant water quality protection programs.

ABAG is assisting with the development of web-based GIS tools and training, watershed management assessment, environmental and land use planning, and government relations. Our Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Critical Coastal Area (FMR CCA #29), San Mateo County: Preliminary Watersheds and Shoreline Assessment was made available to stakeholders on May 10, 2007. Additional GIS tool concepts are under development and policy analyses are in preparation to assist with pilot development and implementation.

Please see our sub-consultant's collection of web-based technical tools for watershed assessment.

For more information, contact: Kathleen Van Velsor, Senior Environmental Manager, ABAG
KathleenV@abag.ca.gov 510-464-7959


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