California Wetlands Information System

Open Space Districts

Open space districts vary in purpose and jurisdictional extent, but in general they are local public agencies that acquire land or interests in land from willing sellers to protect open space. Some may concentrate on agricultural land as a focus for preservation, while others may emphasize public access and recreation. The activities of most are guided by the open space elements of the local land use plan, in which it is not uncommon to find wetlands identified as important areas for protection. Property owners who convey interests in their land to open space districts can receive direct payment and/or tax benefits. Like many conservation organizations that deal with interests in land, open space districts generally have the flexibility to negotiate transactions that achieve the goals of all involved.


Not all areas of the state have open space districts. In the San Francisco Bay Area there are several; landowners can contact the Bay Area Open Space Council, through the Greenbelt Alliance at (415) 543-4291, to find out how to get in touch with them. In other regions of the state, the local board of supervisors or the local parks department can usually tell you whether there is an open space district in the area and what its emphasis is.

This page is an exerpt from Options for Wetland Conservation: A Guide for California Landowners, a publication of the California State Coastal Commission. 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



This file last modified on: Wednesday, November 27, 2002.
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