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Eyes On California's Coastal Commission

2016-01-12 07.29.38 San Diego, North County

Keeping up with California's Coastal Commission is imperative for those who understand the value of California's coast. From recreation to conservation, development to access, the Commission is tasked with upholding the Coastal Act – a piece of legislation that arguably defines who we are as a state more than any other.

(For a great read on the history of the Coastal Act, check out KCET's "Why California's Beaches are Open To Everyone.")

But tracking projects through the application and permitting process, much less attending the Commission's public meetings, which take place during the standard work week, isn't easy for the average citizen unfamiliar with the wonky language and unable to take time off to sit through hours of discussion for a few minutes of comment. That's one of the reasons we're so grateful for all the committed activists who do manage to read through agendas, staff reports and various applications, and who show up at the meetings to speak out on bad projects and support better ones – thank you.

We also appreciate ActCoastal, a campaign to protect California’s coast by bringing "transparency and accountability to the actions of the California Coastal Commission." Readers can quickly find out the biggest issues at the most recent meetings and assess the conservation voting record of each individual commissioner. ActCoastal also hosts a blog – check out a recent entry by Bill McLaughlin, longtime Surfrider member and manager of the San Francisco chapter's Restore Sloat campaign, on how seawalls and other temporary measures to slow erosion end up destroying our beaches.

Slowing coastal erosion is a topic that comes up at nearly every Coastal Commission meeting – and one in which short-term "solutions" often override long-term planning. This month, the Commission will vote on a project requesting sea caves at Solana Beach to be filled in with concrete, for example. Our San Diego chapter is sending representatives to speak – stay tuned! And don't forget to check ActCoastal. It's a great resource for tracking how well your Commissioners are defending California.