California Wetlands Information System

State Coastal Conservancy Resource Enhancement and Agricultural Programs

While the programs of the State Coastal Conservancy were set up to achieve public purposes, public and private benefits often coincide in Coastal Conservancy projects. For example, where there is a willing seller (or donor), the Conservancy can acquire conservation easements or other interests in land for the protection or enhancement of significant natural coastal resources. It can also acquire interests in coastal agricultural land threatened by urban encroachment or in sites that affect significant coastal resources downstream. The Conservancy can pay the landowner up to fair market value for such acquisitions.

Public and private interests may also converge in the preparation of river corridor or watershed enhancement plans. Typically, the goal of these plans is to guide economic and other uses of river systems so that natural values can be both protected and enhanced. All Conservancy enhancement plans are influenced by the needs and concerns of affected landowners, and contain recommendations for specific measures to restore or improve degraded natural functions.

The measures identified in an enhancement plan may affect both public and private land. Description of recommended enhancement projects in a plan does not obligate either the landowner or the Conservancy to implement them. Indeed, unless some means exists to protect the state's investment, such as a conservation easement, the Conservancy's ability to fund projects on private property is limited. Nevertheless, development of a restoration project designed specifically for a landowner's site does offer a number of opportunities. For one thing, projects that are part of a system-scale plan will be very attractive to agencies offering financial assistance; this may prove helpful to a landowner who would like to see a project completed but needs backing from an outside funding source. Alternatively, if the landowner has both the desire and the means to carry out the restoration himself, he benefits from the technical project design work done at no cost to him. Finally, as happens on occasion, the Conservancy or its grantees can enter into agreements with private landowners to provide funding for projects identified in Conservancy-sponsored enhancement plans, even if the property is not encumbered by a conservation easement. In these arrangements (similar to the management agreements described above) the landowner typically makes a contribution of in-kind services or funds and agrees to maintain improvements made to the property.


The Coastal Conservancy works within the coastal zone as delineated in the California Coastal Act. In general the coastal zone extends 1,000 yards inland from the mean high tide line, or to the lesser of five miles or the first major ridgeline paralleling the sea in areas of significant coastal estuarine, habitat, and recreational resources. Managers or staff of the Coastal Conservancy's Resource Enhancement or Agricultural Programs can provide more information and can be reached at (510) 286-1015.

This page is an exerpt from Options for Wetland Conservation: A Guide for California Landowners, a publication of the California State Coastal Conservancy. To obtain a copy of the guide or for more information about the Coastal Conservancy contact:

California State Coastal Conservancy
1330 Broadway, Suite 1100
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 286-1015
FAX: (510) 286-0470

Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2007 State of California