Summary of the California Coastal Act
- Basically, the CCA defines the "coastal zone" as the area of the state which extends three miles seaward and generally about 1,000 yards inland. In particularly important and generally undeveloped areas where there can be considerable impact on the coastline from inland development, the coastal zone extends to a maximum of 5 miles inland from mean high tide line. In developed urban areas, the coastal zone extends substantially less than 1,000 yards inland. The Coastal Commission's jurisdiction does not extend into or around San Francisco Bay, where development is regulated by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. (Pub. Res. Code §30103)
- Almost all development within the coastal zone, which contains many wetlands, requires a coastal development permit from either the Coastal Commission or a local govenment with a certified Local Coastal Program.
- The CCA defines wetlands as:
"...lands within the coastal zone which may be covered periodically or permanently with shallow water and include saltwater marshes, swamps, mudflats, and fens. (Pub. Res. Code §30121)
- The CCA also:
1) sets forth specific uses, including restoration, for which diking, filling or dredging of wetlands may be permitted in the coastal zone,
2) provides for additional review and approvals for proposed actions within designated sensitive coastal areas, and
3) directs each city or county within the coastal zone to prepare a Local Coastal Program (LCP) for Coastal Commission certification.
- Parties seeking Coastal Commission permits involving wetlands should carefully review the Coastal Commission document titled: Procedural Guidance for the Review of Wetland Projects in California's Coastal
Zone. Also, an excellent Coastal Commission resource for those intending to develop and implement compensatory wetland mitigation projects is the Coastal Commission document titled: Procedural Guidance for Evaluating Wetlands Mitigation Projects in California's Coastal Zone. Both of these documents are also available from Coastal Commission offices.
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