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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Chapter Chair's Column
Budget cuts threaten coastal protection
December 2008

The sinking economy in California is hurting our environment, especially in the coastal zone. Upcoming state budget cuts for 2008-09 will reduce funding for the Coastal Management Program of the California Coastal Commission by $956,000 and have eliminated over 17 Coastal Commission staff positions so far this year. (There will be a final report after January 10, 2009). These cuts will make our coastline even more vulnerable to development and pollution.

Some of the Coastal Management Program activities and objectives include:

1. Review and approval of Local Coastal Plans, port master plans, university long range development plans, and any amendments to such plans for consistency with the Coastal Act.

2. Monitoring and enforcement of coastal development permits.

3. Protecting and expanding opportunities for public coastal access and recreation.

4. Implementing a coastal water quality protection program.

5. Providing technical information and assistance to support effective coastal management.

6. Implementing a coastal and ocean resource public education plan.

As a coastal chapter we have focused on coastal resources as a priority for our legal battles. Recently, the Santa Cruz Group successfully sued and stopped the expansion of Luers Barn near Davenport, and the Chapter won an appeal to the Coastal Commission to stop the Pebble Beach Company’s golf course and housing plans in Del Monte Forest. There have been many other efforts to curtail development and degradation of coastal resources through the years.

Currently, the Group is studying the toxins at the Cemex plant in Davenport and is pressuring Caltrans to replace the single span bridge at Waddell Creek with a more fish-friendly full-span bridge. The Chapter will be weighing in on the Cemex plant in Marina and plans for a mega-resort in the dunes west of Highway 1 in Sand City. North Monterey County residents are working on the Moss Landing Local Coastal Plan.

Members continue to work on coastal trail opportunities and general development issues in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Drastic budget cuts that affect the Coastal Management Program can impact the outcome of the work we and the Coastal Commission do. We need your help to do whatever you can to ensure that efforts to protect the coastline are not diminished by these budget cuts.

—Rita Dalessio

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