Even as the state's beaches face an existential threat with up to two-thirds of Southern California beaches likely to be underwater by 2100, the agency most likely to ensure their survival was inexplicably been denied any new or restored funding in Governor Gavin Newsom's “May Revise” budget, despite the state's $100 billion surplus – but on Tuesday, July 13, Governor Newsom signed into law an updated version of the state's budget that includes $40M for the agency's sea level rise and Whale Tail grant programs!
Healthy Beaches vs Beach-Killing Seawalls
This will make a tangible difference for preserving California's coast and ability for all people to enjoy it. One of the primary ways the Coastal Commission protects our beaches and coastal access is by overseeing and approving “local coastal programs” (LCPs). While the acronym and general wonkiness might discourage engagement, the fact is that these local coastal programs are the tool that city and county governments use to regulate Coastal Act-compliant development, land uses, environmental protection, public access and preservation of marine resources in their jurisdictions. Since the Coastal Act mandates maximizing coastal access for all people while protecting our coastal habitats and the creatures that depend on them, requiring compliance makes all the difference between healthy, accessible beaches and an overdeveloped coast consisting primarily of beach-killing seawalls.
Without adequate funding, this critical work would remain undone. We applaud the leaders of the California state legislature, the Natural Resources Agency and Governor Newsom's office for coming together to ensure a brighter and more equitable future for California's coast – and all our activists who helped make it happen!