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This web site is intended to serve agencies, watershed groups, and individuals interested in helping to protect and restore water quality along California's coast.

The Critical Coastal Areas (CCA) Program is an innovative program to foster collaboration among local stakeholders and government agencies, to better coordinate resources and focus efforts on coastal watersheds in critical need of protection from polluted runoff. A multi-agency statewide CCA Committee has identified an initial list of 101 CCAs along the coast and in San Francisco Bay.

The Problem of Polluted Runoff

Throughout California’s diverse 1,100-mile coast, there is a growing awareness of the problem of polluted runoff in our coastal waters—our rivers and estuaries, lakes and lagoons, bays and ocean. Polluted runoff is generated by a variety of land use activities, including urban development, agriculture, and forestry. Many of our coastal waters are degraded or threatened by polluted runoff—also known as Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution—which harms aquatic ecosystems, public health, and the local economy.

Seeking Solutions to Pollution

What’s being done to find solutions to polluted runoff along California’s coast? Myriad local and regional interest groups are active in water quality protection and restoration efforts in coastal watersheds. Many cities have urban runoff control programs, and at least 28 state agencies have responsibilities in carrying out the state’s plan for controlling NPS pollution (NPS Plan).

How Does the CCA Program Work?

The CCA Program, part of the state's NPS Plan, is a non-regulatory planning tool to coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies and stakeholders, and direct resources to CCAs. The program’s goal is to ensure that effective NPS management measures are implemented to protect or restore coastal water quality in CCAs. CCA identification supports the acquisition of grant funding by prioritizing protection efforts.

CCA Action Plan

Beginning with five pilot CCAs, the CCA Program will form teams of local stakeholders (watershed groups, special interest organizations, and community members) and government agencies (state, federal, and local) to develop community-based CCA Action Plans for addressing polluted runoff that threatens coastal resources within these CCAs.

The Action Plan will integrate and build on existing local watershed protection and restoration efforts, identify needs and available resources, focus the attention of responsible agencies, and coordinate with other relevant water quality protection programs.

How are Critical Coastal Areas identified? Click here.


Which criteria were used to identify specific CCAs? Click here.

 

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