California Management of Coastal Environmental Issues – A Primer

  • Posted on 11 September 2021
  • By Everette Phillips
Worried about a coastal issue?  Confused about who has authority? The various Conservation Committee entities are a great resource. For coastal issues in LA and Orange Counties, it is important to start learning about the Coastal Act, Coastal Commission, and Coastal Conservancy. Where to start? Here is a quick primer:
The California Coastal Commission was created from a law in the 1970s that we commonly refer to as the “Coastal Act”.  This law outlines lands along the coast influenced by tides and under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission. Although the Coastal Act is important for protecting important habitats, its main purpose is to prioritize coastal use and development while preserving aspects and rights for all Californians, even those living far from the ocean.
Along with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and the California Coastal Conservancy, the Coastal Commission is one of California's three designated coastal management agencies for the purpose of administering the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in California. Under California's federally-approved Coastal Management Program, the California Coastal Commission manages development along the California coast except for San Francisco Bay, where the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission oversees development. The third agency, the California Coastal Conservancy, purchases, protects, restores, and enhances coastal resources. The primary authorities for the Coastal Program are the California Coastal Act, McAteer-Petris Act, and Suisan Marsh Preservation Act.
Last year’s article on the Coastal Commission in the Southern Sierran by Eric Yoon is still relevant and worthy of a read. Due to COVID19, the Coastal Commission meetings are still virtual. You can review the Coastal Commission September agenda is here.
If you have more questions, search our website, or join our monthly Conservation Committee meeting and ask questions. There are many people who want to help you.

Cover photo: Laguna Beach, CA Joshua Sukoff via unsplash


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