Priority Conservation Areas
Revised Application Process
As part of the broader Plan Bay Area Implementation effort, ABAG staff worked
with local jurisdictions, the ABAG administrative committee and stakeholders to
develop a Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) program update. Adopted July 17, 2014,
this update specifically addresses the Open Space and Farmland implementation areas
and introduces four categories to recognize the role of different kinds of PCAs
in supporting the vitality of the region's natural systems, rural economy and human
All new and modified PCAs must apply or re-apply. The revised
guidelines for new PCA nominations, review and adoption, and confirming existing
PCAs are summarized below.
The application requires that new PCA nominations include:
- An adopted resolution of support from the jurisdiction(s) in which it
- A map and text describing the general area and boundaries of the PCA
- Selection of one or more of the PCA designations described below and
text and supporting text and data
- Discussion of the regional and local importance of the PCA
PCA applications may be submitted by jurisdictions or special districts such
as open space and park districts. The nominating agency must send notifications to
all of the jurisdictions in which the PCA is located. These jurisdictions will have
90 days from receipt of the notification to adopt a resolution of opposition to the
PCA. An adopted resolution would invalidate the nomination.
application form | Application
Sponsors of proposed PCAs are required to complete the
application. Applications are due May 30, 2015.
Process for Confirming Existing PCAs
The process for confirming PCAs that have already been adopted by the ABAG Executive
Board will involve the following steps:
- ABAG sends a notification to the nominating agency and to jurisdictions in
which the PCA is located
- These jurisdictions have 90 days to adopt a resolution of opposition to the
PCA. An adopted resolutions nullifies the applicable existing PCA
- If no resolution of opposition is submitted to ABAG within 90 days, the
existing PCA will be confirmed
In addition to the confirmation process, ABAG staff will work with the nominating
agencies to identify the designation applicable to each PCA and the relevant benefits
Questions about new or existing PCAs and the application process:
JoAnna Bullock, Senior Regional Planner, email@example.com, 510-464-7968. Additional
information is available from the ABAG
The update introduces four categories to recognize the role of different
kinds of PCAs in supporting the vitality of the region's natural systems,
rural economy and human health.
Designations describe the primary
function of a PCA. In some cases, PCAs with
different designations include the same geographic area. For example, a riparian
corridor designated as a Natural Landscape PCA may cross an Agricultural Lands
PCA and Regional Recreation PCA.
Landscapes--areas critical to the functioning of wildlife and
plant habitats, aquatic ecosystems and the region's water supply and quality.
Existing PCA Examples: Upper Stevens Creek Watershed Area (Santa Clara County);
Napa Valley River Corridor (Napa County); Acalanes Ridge Open Space (Walnut
Creek and Lafayette)
- Agricultural Lands--farmland, grazing land and timberland that support
the region's agricultural economy and provide additional benefits such as habitat
protection and carbon capture. Existing PCA Examples: Suisun Valley (Solano
County); Napa County Agricultural Lands and Watersheds (Napa County); Coastal
Agriculture area (Sonoma County)
Santa Rosa Farmer's Market
- Urban Greening--existing
and potential green spaces in cities that increase
habitat connectivity, improve community health, capture carbon emissions, and
address stormwater. Many existing and likely Urban Greening areas are not within
PDAs. Existing PCA Examples: East Bay Greenway
(Oakland/San Leandro/Hayward/Unincorporated Alameda County); Hercules Waterfront
(Hercules); and Palou-Phelps, Bayview park/open space connector (San Francisco)
- Regional Recreation--existing and potential
regional parks, trails, and other
publicly accessible recreation facilities. Existing PCA Examples: Bay Trail
(multi-county, multi-jurisdiction); Boethe-Napa Valley State Park to Sugarloaf
Ridge State Park (Napa County); Russian River Access (Sonoma County)
specific types of
habitats, health outcomes, and other
objectives that the designated PCAs support. Each benefit is accompanied by at least
one criterion as well as data sources for evaluating whether or not the PCA meets the
criterion. Many PCAs will provide additional benefits beyond the primary ones listed
for its designation. These are captured as co-benefits. Proposed PCAs are not required
to list co-benefits, but these help describe its full impact.
Benefits and potential co-benefits are identified for each designation (i.e.
wildlife and plant habitat, agricultural economy). Applicants are required to discuss
how the PCA provides these benefits-referencing data and maps. ABAG will provide
resources (e.g. maps, databases, etc) to assist applicants in this process, drawing
upon data published by federal and state sources as well as scientific research.
Additional information about
April 2014: PCA Program update-including Application Process and PCA
Designations--recommended by the RPC to the Executive Board for adoption.
July 2014: PCA Program update adopted by Executive Board.
August 1, 2014: Beginning of PCA application period. New and existing
PCAs must submit application. Existing PCAs can reference portions of previous PCA
applications (i.e. adopted resolution of support by local jurisdiction) to meet
May 30, 2015: Deadline for PCA applications. Existing PCA designations
will be removed if no application has been filed.
June 2015: Following staff review, RPC recommends PCA nominations to the
Executive Board for adoption
July 2015: Executive Board adopts PCA nominations recommended for adoption
by the RPC.
Future funding sources
The PCA update does not address funding. However, the designations are designed
to position PCAs for both cross-cutting and targeted funding sources. For example,
an urban greening and a regional recreation project might be eligible for different
sources of targeted grant funding, but both may be eligible for a broad funding
source supporting projects that improve public health while creating green space.
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