June 23, 2022 Meeting Highlights

Container ship under the Gerald Desmond Bridge at the Port of Long Beach

June marked the Commission’s second hybrid meeting where the public participated both in-person (in the City of Long Beach) and virtually. The staff reports and comment letters associated with the meeting are available on the Commission’s website. The Executive Officer’s Report has additional information about a wide array of initiatives and projects the Commission is leading or involved in. Below are highlights from the June meeting.

Leases, Permits, and Other Approvals

The Commission issued dozens of new leases and permits that authorize the use of sovereign land in Northern California, the Bay/Delta area, and Central and Southern California. The Commission also exercised its oversight authority over legislatively-granted lands by considering several tideland trust expenditures in the City of Long Beach and approved benchmark rental rates for sovereign land in Southern California.

Sea Level Rise and the Public Trust

Staff from the California Coastal Commission briefed the Commission on its recently released draft Public Trust Guiding Principles and Action Plan. The California Coastal Act and the Public Trust Doctrine are central to the protection of public interests on the California Coast. The California Coastal Commission’s enabling legislation is the California Coastal Act, which guides the agency’s work to preserve and protect the shoreline and prioritize certain public uses and values on the coast. The Public Trust Doctrine is a common law principle that establishes that certain lands are held in trust by the state for the benefit and use of the public and is a fundamental underpinning of the State Lands Commission’s work. With the climate crisis and sea level rise threatening the future of public lands, it is ever more important to understand how the Public Trust Doctrine interfaces with the work of the Coastal Commission as both agencies endeavor to advance sea level rise adaptation planning. The goal of this briefing was to describe how the Public Trust Doctrine relates to the Coastal Commission’s work on sea level rise planning and to describe the next steps and research priorities.

Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program 

The Commission authorized the Executive Officer to pursue the preparation of a programmatic Environmental Impact Report and real estate appraisal(s) for the Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program in Santa Barbara County. The Commission also delegated authority to the Executive Officer to enter into an agreement with the State Coastal Conservancy whereby the Conservancy will fund the environmental review and appraisal work.

Natural Gas Pipelines

The Commission amended its lease to Pacific Gas and Electric for the continued use and maintenance of underwater pipelines located on sovereign land in Sacramento County that transport natural gas. The Commission also adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration and a Mitigation Monitoring Program associated with the lease amendment and the pipeline removal and installation project. The Commission’s action will enable the Lessee to install a new pipeline to better ensure the safe transport of necessary energy resources. The entire project, which will occur over two phases from 2022 through 2023, is required for the Lessee to comply with federal pipeline safety regulations.

Salmon and Steelhead Spawning Areas in the Bed of the American River

The Commission amended an existing lease to the City of Sacramento to replenish spawning gravel and establish additional side-channel habitat for the restoration and rehabilitation of Chinook salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat. The leased land is sovereign land in the American River, below the Nimbus Dam, near Rancho Cordova and Fair Oaks.

Future Meetings and Ways to Stay Informed

The Commission’s next meeting is on August 23 at 1 p.m. You can sign up on our website to receive updates about future Commission meetings. Another great way to stay informed is to follow the State Lands Commission on Twitter. You can also watch a webcast of the meeting on Cal-Span.