Coast & Ocean

California’s Coast and Ocean: Protecting a National Treasure

 

From Southern California’s sandy beaches to the majestic cliffs of Big Sur to the redwood forests in the North, the California coast is one of the most magnificent natural treasures in our nation.
 
It’s no wonder that it attracts more than 12 million visitors per year — to surf, swim, sail, fish, and dive in the Pacific Ocean; to explore rich tide pools and estuaries; to watch whales and take photographs; to hike and bike along unparalleled coastal trails. For many visitors, the coast is their most important connection with nature. It's also home to more than 100 endangered and threatened plants and animals, including the southern sea otter, western snowy plover, gray and blue whales, and leatherback sea turtles.
 
That’s why Sierra Club California is working on a campaign to increase protections for California’s coast.
 
More than 40 years ago the voters of California passed Prop 20, which established the California Coastal Commission. Over the past 40 years, our coast has benefited from the most comprehensive coastal program in the country.
 
Nevertheless, our coastline remains under threat of overdevelopment, oil and gas drilling and, more recently, inundation from the effects of climate change. The imperative to protect the coast remains as important as ever.
 
We are working up and down the coast to permanently protect valuable coastal areas and to enact policies that will create a resilient California coast.
 
This includes a campaign to permanently protect California’s central coast from oil drilling and other threats through designation as a National Marine Sanctuary; a campaign to permanently protect important habitat in California’s CoastRange; and efforts to enact statewide policies that will require local governments to adapt to climate change and preserve habitats.