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The California Coastal Coalition (CalCoast)  is a non-profit advocacy group comprised of 35 coastal cities; five counties; SANDAG, BEACON and SCAG; private sector partners and NGOs, committed to protecting and restoring California's coastline through beach sand restoration, increasing the flow of natural sediment to the coast, wetlands recovery, improved water quality, watershed management and the reduction of marine debris and plastic pollution.

CalCoast has sponsored or supported legislation, budget requests and bond measures (Propositions 12, 13, 40, 50 and 84) that have raised billions of dollars in state and federal funding for beaches, wetlands, clean water and parks. In 1999, we sponsored the California Public Beach Restoration Act (AB 64-Ducheny), which created the state’s first fund for beach nourishment projects.
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Editor's Notes - April 29, 2016

by Steve Aceti on 04/28/16

Congratulations to CalCoast members Encinitas and Solana Beach for reaching an important milestone in a the process to restore its beaches in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State Parks' Division of Boating & Waterways.

Tuesday (April 26, 2016), the USACE submitted to Congress a "Chief's Report," which is necessary for the projects to be funded and constructed beyond engineering and design. Congress authorized studies of the Encinitas project in 1993 and the Solana Beach project in 1999 and the studies were funded in the Energy and Water  Development  Appropriations Act (WRDA) of 2000.

The Encinitas project includes the construction of a 50-foot-wide beach along a 7,800-foot-long stretch of shoreline using 340,000 c.y. of sand, with renourishment every five years with approximately 220,000 c.y. of sand over a 50-year period. for a total of nine additional projects.

The Solana Beach project includes construction of a 150-foot-wide beach along a 7,200-foot-long stretch of shoreline using 700,000 c.y. of sand, with renourishment 10 years, with approximately 290,000 cubic yards of sand over a 50-year period for a total of four additional projects. nourishments.

Material for the projects will be dredged from a borrow site identified off the coast of San Diego County. Physical monitoring of the performance of the project will be required annually throughout the 50-year period of federal participation.

The projects will provide coastal storm damage reduction and maintain existing recreational beaches in the two cities. Next up: obtaining construction funds from Congress - hopefully in WRDA 2016 - a version of which was passed by the U.S. Senate this week.  
Highlights from the articles and information below:

  • Revealed: inside the tug-of-war to run Donald Trump's California campaign
  • How El Nino sidestepped Southern California
  • 2 San Diego-area water projects win international recognition
  • Coastal Commission steps into Mission Beach battle
  • The most influential person on the coastal commission may be this lobbyist
  • The Latest: Dead whale being cut up on California beach
  • Santa Clara County looks at bond measure for affordable housing
  • New sea level rise study calls Delta Tunnels into doubt
  • Stillwater Sciences opens new Los Angeles Office
  • CASQA's 2016 Annual Conference

Editor's Notes - April 22, 2016

by Steve Aceti on 04/22/16

Coastal Commission in the News
This week's WAVE includes almost a dozen articles involving the California Coastal Commission. For example, the city of Solana Beach has sent the CCC a proposal for charging a new fee for the construction seawalls. SeaWorld San Diego's parent company announced this week that it would drop a lawsuit against the CCC over SeaWorld's attempt to expand its orca tanks. The suit is no longer warranted because SeaWorld has decided it will not breed orca whales and that orca entertainment shows will be phased out over the next few years.

The most controversial article is about a lawsuit the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a property rights non-profit law firm, has brought on behalf of a San Clemente homeowner who is challenging a coastal development permit condition that prevents him from repairing a seawall that existed before he replaced a beachfront mobile home with a new one. The condition is often included in CDPs issued for beachfront or bluff top development up and down the coast, but PLF argues that, among other things, the permit condition violates Coastal Act section 30235, which gives its client and other oceanfront property owners the right to safeguard their property with a seawall or other protective device when required to "protect property from erosion and storms". Click here for more information about the lawsuit, including a copy of the petition and supporting documentation.
Highlights from Articles and Information Posted Below:  
  • California water agencies to urge regulators to ease drought restrictions
  • Extreme and exceptional drought decline in California    
  • Congressman Rohrabacher now sees foe in longtime friend Scott Baugh
  • Op-Ed: Is the California drought America's water wake-up call? 
  • Marin OKs coastal program amid disagreement with state staff
  • Measure X passes but hotel still faces hurdles
  • West Coast fisheries are at risk as climate change disturbs the ocean's chemistry
  • Online System Launched to Help Californians Report Environmental Problems

Editor's Notes - April 15, 2016

by Steve Aceti on 04/14/16

CCC Discusses Process for Hiring an ED and Continues Hearing on State Parks' Proposal to Charge Parking Fees in Sonoma County
The Coastal Commission is meeting in Santa Rosa this week. Wednesday's meeting included a workshop on wetlands delineation given by staff and a discussion about the process of selecting a new executive director. Chief Deputy Director Susan Hansch is the lead on this issue. The first step in the selection process will be hiring an executive search firm via an RFP. Staff (and maybe two commissioners) will present to the commission a draft RFP at next month's meeting in Newport Beach and the commission will develop an RFP review process, a method for scoring proposals and a timeline. Environmental groups, environmental justice groups and other stakeholders that are actively engaged with the commission have requested that they be involved in the hiring process. Commissioners discussed the possibility of coastal stakeholders, including the regulated community being involved in the selection process, although commissioner Shallenberger did not think the regulated community should be involved in the hiring process. Stakeholder participation could take place through the formation of an advisory committee, a meeting with the search firm to discuss a job description and hiring criteria, or providing input to the search firm via the Internet. It does not appear that coastal stakeholders will be allowed to interview executive director candidates. Staff and the search firm will present to the commission 2-5 executive director finalists and the entire commission will interview each of those candidates. At present, it is estimated that the search for a new executive director will be concluded by next November.
The most controversial matter before the commission this week was Wednesday's six-hour hearing on a proposal by State Parks to begin charging a daily $8 fee to park at beaches in Sonoma County. State legislators and local elected officials joined dozens of speakers from the public to testify in opposition to State Parks' plan. Staff urged commissioners to reject the plan, but the matter was continued for 60 days to give commission staff, State Parks and the county additional time to reach an agreement. More information about the State Parks hearing is available here.
Yesterday's meeting included a workshop on ESHA.
SD County Water Authority Sues MWD Over Newly Adopted Rates
The San Diego County Water Authority today filed its fourth lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, alleging that MWD's newly adopted rates for 2017 and 2018 are illegal. MWD adopted the rates at its Tuesday, April 12 meeting. A Superior Court judge ruled in November 2015 that MWD's rates for 2011-2014 were illegal. In his ruling, the judge also ordered MWD to only set legal rates in future years. The water authority's press release about the lawsuit is available here.

Editor's Notes - March 18, 2016

by Steve Aceti on 03/17/16

Say Goodbye, Shamu: It was going to take a "really huge" announcement to interrupt the 24/7 media fixation with all things Trump and the parent company of SeaWorld delivered yesterday, announcing that it would no longer breed orcas at any of its theme parks and that orca shows at the parks would be phased out. SeaWorld's stock and park attendance have taken a beating since the release of "Blackfish," a 2013 documentary that exposed a variety of dangers to orcas and their trainers from SeaWorld's theatrical shows. California played a major role in SeaWorld's decline and yesterday's decision. Two years ago, Assembly Member Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, introduced legislation that would have ended captive breeding and orca performances at in California. The bill died in committee, but Assembly Member Bloom announced yesterday that he will re-introduce his bill to codify what SeaWorld has said it will do. In addition, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, has authored legislation to phase out the captivity of orcas and a few months ago the Coastal Commission issued a permit to SeaWorld for the expansion of its orca tanks in San Diego as long as the company ended its captive breeding program.  SeaWorld plans to replace its theatrical shows with "natural orca encounters," starting in San Diego next year, then in San Antonio and Orlando in 2019.

Congrats to the City of Santa Cruz: The city's Beach Area Roundabouts Project was named Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project from the League of California Cities. The award recognizes the project's exceptional achievements to preserve and protect the public's investment in local street and road systems with the construction of two roundabouts at complicated beach intersections. 

Editor's Notes - March 11, 2016

by Steve Aceti on 03/11/16

New Era for the CCC - The California Coastal Commission (CCC) on Wednesday held its first meeting after Charles Lester was ousted as executive director (ED). Lester is on leave, but he's still a CCC employee and he will be reassigned to a position with the CCC in some capacity. During Wednesday's meeting the CCC appointed an interim ED and discussed the hiring process for a new ED. On an 11-1 vote, the CCC appointed Senior Deputy Director Jack Ainsworth, a 27-year veteran of the CCC, as interim ED. Commissioner Uranga opposed the motion, stating that to be fair to future applicants he felt Ainsworth should step down if and when he decided to apply for the permanent position. Commissioners discussed the process for hiring a new ED, but no action will be taken on that issue until next month. Some commissioners called for a subcommittee of the agency to be involved in the hiring process, while others were opposed to that idea. In addition, commissioners wrestled with issues such as criteria for the new ED and how to involve the public in the hiring process. Options discussed included the formation of an advisory committee comprised of coastal stakeholders or holding public meetings up and down the coast. The CCC will issue an RFP for an executive search firm. It is estimated that the search for a new ED could take eight months or more at a cost of approximately $100,000.  

New Bill Would Require CCC Staff to Report Communications - The firing of the CCC's executive director has spawned another bill (in addition to AB 2002) designed to increase transparency in the way the CCC works. Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) has introduced AB 2658 which would require CCC staff to report ex parte communications in writing. The bill would also require that testimony given at a hearing or other official proceeding of the CCC and written comments for the record on a matter before the commission be promptly posted on the commission's website to allow for public comment. The bill has been assigned to the Natural Resources Committee where it may be heard on March 22.

New Bill Would Add Three Members to CCC - The issue of diversity was discussed at length during last month's CCC meeting.  To address this issue, Assemblymember Burke has introduced AB 2616 which would require that three representatives who work with communities in the state that are most burdened by high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice, as defined in the Government
Code, including, but not limited to, communities with diverse racial and ethnic populations and communities with low-income populations. The Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, and
the Speaker of the Assembly shall each appoint one of these members. The bill has been assigned to the Natural Resources Committee where it may be heard on March 22.

California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.