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Coastal Restoration & Monitoring

Through collaborative partnerships with the California Coastal Commission, the Central Coast Wetlands Group, and others, the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation helps to coordinate and support projects that restore coastal habitats in urban and industrial areas to enhance biodiversity, reduce groundwater overdraft, and protect coastal lands.   

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Otay River Restoration Monitoring

The Otay River Estuary and Restoration Project is currently in the construction phase under the management of Poseidon Water LLC.  The project was designed to compensate for the loss of marine resources resulting from the operation of Poseidon’s desalination facility in Carlsbad, California, and the associated intake of ocean water.  The wetland design is governed by conditions set forth in a coastal development permit approved by the California Coastal Commission, including the establishment of an independent wetland monitoring program. 


In collaboration with the Commission, CMSF jointly administers the independent monitoring program and provides Commission staff with monitoring results to inform policy decisions relevant to the mitigation program, and also works with Poseidon Water to advise on project methods and develop adaptive management strategies.  Additional guidance is provided by regular meetings with a three-member Scientific Advisory Panel with expertise in coastal science applications within a regulatory context. 

Lower Salinas Valley Multi-Benefit Land Repurposing

In collaboration with the Central Coast Wetlands Group, the Salinas Valley GSA, and local land trusts, this $10 million California Department of Conservation-funded project will work with a broad coalition of partners from multiple sectors, including disadvantaged communities and tribes, to strategically and voluntarily repurpose the least viable agricultural lands in the Lower Salinas Valley to produce multiple water resource benefits.

Our team of partners are planning, developing, and implementing strategies to fallow and repurpose agricultural lands for floodplain and habitat benefits. Implementation dollars will primarily be spent to acquire easements and fee title to land identified for floodplain setbacks and recharge areas and will facilitate progress toward completing project designs.  


Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation

In collaboration with the Central Coast Wetlands Group, Ecology Action, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, and the Monterey County RCD, CMSF was awarded $3.6 million by the the California Department of Water Resources in support of five projects that work together to improve regional water self-reliance, watershed health, and climate resiliency for the Greater Monterey County Region.  These projects will:

  1. Replace non-functional turf with climate-appropriate landscapes;

  2. Design, permit, and construct water quality treatment, stormwater retention, and wetland enhancement projects on agricultural lands adjacent to waterways;

  3. Acquire land in the Elkhorn Slough to improve a highly over-drafted watershed, stabilize erosion-prone slopes with cover crop, and planting native vegetation;

  4. Control non-native plants on 2500 acres in the Salinas River riparian zone; and.

  5. Create a decision support tool to assist growers in the design and siting of vegetated water treatment systems resulting in improved water quality and aquatic habitat.

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