Coastal wetlands provide many ecosystem services, including conserving native wildlife, carbon storage, improvement of water quality, flood and shoreline protection, aesthetic value, controlling disease and vectors, and providing opportunities for recreation, science, and education. The drastic loss of wetland form and function has resulted in an urgent need for wetland restoration. By cultivating resilient wetlands on a landscape scale, the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) aims to enhance the economic, environmental, and recreational benefits of wetlands in Southern California. The WRP is a partnership of eighteen State and Federal agencies, chaired by the California Resources Agency and supported by the California State Coastal Conservancy. The regional scale of the WRP stretches along the California Coast from Point Conception to the US-Mexico border, and encompasses the subregions of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Monica, San Pedro, and San Diego.
The Regional Strategy 2018 provides guidance for the WRP and its stakeholders to achieve the WRP's four Goals: (1) Restore Coastal Wetlands, (2) Recover Streams, Adjacent Habitats, and Other Non-Tidal Wetlands (3) Support Coastal Wetland Education and Compatible Access, and (4) Advance the Science of Wetland Restoration and Management. The WRP's Work Plan includes high priority preservation, acquisition, restoration, and enhancement projects for wetlands and streams in the coastal watersheds of Southern California that will accomplish the Goals and Objectives of the Regional Strategy.
The visualizations below represent the progress of WRP Work Plan projects (current or completed as of 2018) in achieving Goal 1 objectives of the Regional Strategy, which are focused on tidal wetlands.
Extent of the five WRP subregions of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Monica, San Pedro and San Diego.
Click on map to view a list of the WRP Work Plan Projects in that subregion.
Acquire Private Lands
Acquire approximately 7,400 acres (3,000 ha) of private land in coastal wetland areas, both presently diked and drained, and of adjacent upland areas. Acres reported by subregion represent planned acquisitions or acquired lands (Goal 1, Objective 1C in the Regional Strategy)
Restore Resilient Wetlands
Facilitate wetland migration and restoration of 7,700 acres (3,116 ha) of wetlands after 24 inches of sea-level rise. This requires restoration of both today’s existing wetlands and facilitation of wetland migration (Goal 1, Objective 1B in the Regional Strategy)
Restore Historical Archetypes
Preserve or restore, as appropriate, the historical distribution of archetypes, with the goal of having the number of "present" wetlands match the number of "historical" wetlands for each archetype. Archetypes are representations of a group of objects (in this case coastal wetlands) of similar form and structure. (Goal 1, Objective 3A in the Regional Strategy)
Maintain and Expand Wetland-Upland Transition Zones
Protect and increase all existing natural areas of wetland-upland transition zones up to 1,600 feet (500m) from the marsh edge to facilitate marsh migration. New structures built within transition zones should be minimal, not impede wetland migration, and be potentially removable. To calculate percent progress, the number of completed projects that met this objective and ongoing projects designed to meet this objective are divided by the total number of Goal 1 Work Plan projects. (Goal 1, Objective 5A in the Regional Strategy)
Restore Hydrological Connectivity
Restore tidal characteristics (range, extent and residence time), freshwater and sediment flow characteristics from watersheds (volume, frequency, and timing), and sediment inputs to maintain wetland and transition zone elevations sufficient to accommodate 24 inches of sea-level rise. Objectives should be guided by appropriate reference conditions to support habitat abundance and distribution. To calculate percent progress, the number of completed projects that met this objective and ongoing projects designed to meet this objective are divided by the total number of Goal 1 Work Plan projects. (Goal 1, Objectives 6A-C in the Regional Strategy)
Improve Estuarine Wetland Condition
All future restoration projects should be on or above the Habitat Development Curve (HDC) based on the project age as the restoration matures, with 100% of mature coastal wetlands achieving and maintaining an overall California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) score ranging from 76-94. CRAM scores in the HDC above include both pre-restoration CRAM assessments prior to 2018 that occurred during planning phases, and post-restoration CRAM assessments during the implementation phase. Multiple CRAM assessment areas may overlap and therefore, CRAM scores may not be project-specific. Hover over a dot to view project information associated with individual CRAM scores. (Goal 1, Objectives 7B-C in the Regional Strategy)