Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) Are About to Get a Refresh

aerial of undeveloped land in alameda county

After 17 years since they were first developed, the regional land use planning framework for conservation in the Bay Area is wrapping up a yearlong effort to address past challenges and integrate important topics of equity and climate adaptation. 

Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) are locations designated to ensure the region’s biodiversity, natural resources, open spaces, agricultural lands, clean water and clean air, and are resilient to changing climate. This includes parks, protected habitats, farming, and ranching lands, as well as areas where there is an opportunity to incorporate nature into urban landscapes.

The PCA Refresh has brought in over 30 datasets to help characterize a range of conservation opportunities in the region that are organized into five PCA types: Natural Lands, Working Lands, Urban Greening, Recreation, and Climate Adaptation.

Together, the refreshed PCA Framework aims to assist Bay Area governments and agencies in advancing conservation planning efforts, funding projects, and taking action for a healthy, resilient, and equitable Bay Area. The reforms seek to provide clarity and structure that enable the use of PCAs in a greater array of regional planning, policy, technical assistance, and advocacy that aims to result in greater overall investment. The new Framework will:

  • Support the implementation of a regional land use pattern which supports the objectives and strategies in Plan Bay Area as well as applicable state and regional strategies for conservation and climate change adaptation,
  • Disseminate scientific information related to conservation that facilitates good policy and planning decisions,
  • Enable future analyses that help inform actions to achieve the PCA vision, and
  • Leverage the underlying science and data-supported Framework to connect PCA nominators to funders with shared objectives and priorities.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the recently released Draft Final Report. To support review, an online PCA Refresh map viewer has also been published with the accompanying draft mapping datasets. Written comments are due by March 31 at 5 p.m. to Michael Germeraad, PCA Refresh Project Manager, Staff will review and consider comments received prior to bringing the Final Report forward to the ABAG Executive Board for its review later this spring.

Click to read the PCA Refresh Draft Final Report…

Click to view the PCA Refresh Mapping Viewer