Our Coast at Risk

California's 1,100 miles of coastline are revered around the world, bringing more than a million visitors per year to the Golden State's shores to marvel at our surf, wonder at our wildlife and revel in our iconic sunsets. That our coastline remains accessible to all is thanks to over 40 years of Coastal Act enforcement. Whether or not California's coast remains public and protected rests in the hands of 12 people: California's Coastal Commissioners

Want to know how those Commissioners are doing at protecting our coast? Check out the ActCoastal accountability project, which tracks how Commissioners vote on items of exceptional concern each month and produces an annual evaluation of each Commissioner, as well as pressing issues facing our state's coast.

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How to #SaveOurCoast:

1. Demand strong leadership! 

Hold Commissioners and staff accountable to the letter and spirit of California's Coastal Act, which ensures that all Californians have a right to access our coast. 

2. Follow and use #SaveOurCoast on Instagram and Twitter to draw attention to our efforts and broaden the reach of our collective voices.

3. Work with Surfrider staff to keep updated on California Coastal Commission meetings and agendas, then attend and participate!

4. Sign up for updates through ActCoastal, the Coastal Commission accountability site.

Campaign Updates

Stay up-to-date on what's going on with our coast

ActCoastal is a campaign to help protect California’s coast by bringing transparency and accountability to the actions of the California Coastal Commission. The ActCoastal coalition alerts readers to hot issues coming before the Commission and provides tips on actions that coastal defenders can take to ensure that the Commissioners – and those who appoint them – are accountable to the public and upholding the Coastal Act.

Never be in the dark on what's happening with our coast – get updates from ActCoastal today

The Coastal Act: The law protecting your rights and our coastline

The California Coastal Commission was established by voter initiative in 1972 (Proposition 20) and later made permanent by the California State Legislature through adoption of the California Coastal Act of 1976. The Coastal Act protects public access and recreation, ensures "lower cost" visitor accommodations, prioritizes habitat protection and covers a broad range of other land and water uses in the Coastal Zone.

Development activities, which are broadly defined by the Coastal Act to include (among others) construction of buildings and other activities that intensify land use or impact public access to the coast, generally require a coastal permit from either the Coastal Commission or the local government.

It is in the application for these permits that the inherent conflicts between private development and public use arise, and the Coastal Act is supposed to serve as the guiding document to resolve those conflicts. Coastal Commission staff makes recommendations based on it and Coastal Commissioners are obligated to uphold it. We, the public, must insist that they do. 

Learn more about the California Coastal Commission
Protecting our coasts

Easy ways to get involved

  • Track Commissioners' votes through
  • Get to know the issues and speak up through letters or public comment at the Commission's monthly hearings. 
  • Share Surfrider and ActCoastal #SaveOurCoast posts on social media to help alert others to threats.
  • Tell your local state electeds to insist on support for California's Coastal Act.

Find Your Local Chapter

Upcoming Events

Mar 8-Mar 9: Coastal Commission Meeting
Ventura Board of Supervisors Chambers 800 S. Victoria Avenue Ventura, CA 93009
May 10-May 12: Coastal Commission Meeting
San Diego Board of Supervisors Chambers 1600 Pacific Hwy. San Diego, CA 92101
Jun 7-Jun 9: Coastal Commission Meeting
North Coast

Looking for more information?

Resources Contact More Info

Learn more about the California Coastal Commission

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