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PCA Project Funding
PCA Designations & Criteria
Frequently Asked Questions
Priority Conservation Areas
Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) are open spaces that provide agricultural, natural resource, scenic, recreational, and/or ecological values and ecosystem functions. These areas are identified through consensus by local jurisdictions and park/open space districts as lands in need of protection due to pressure from urban development or other factors. PCAs are categorized by four designations: Natural Landscapes, Agricultural Lands, Urban Greening and Regional Recreation.
PCAs are a component of Plan Bay Area, the integrated long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan for the San Francisco Bay Area approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in 2013. 165 PCAs representing a variety of landscapes in all nine Bay Area counties have been adopted by the ABAG Executive Board. Projects located within these areas are eligible for funding through the One Bay Area Grants (OBAG) program.
Projects located within the boundaries of and/or directly support adopted PCAs are eligible for funding through the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program. Beyond the OBAG program, PCA designations are designed to position projects within PCAs for additional broad-based and targeted funding sources. For example, an urban greening and a regional recreation project in a PCA 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.
One Bay Area Grant 1 (OBAG 1) Funding for PCAs
The first OBAG PCA Program was initiated by MTC in 2013 and was split into two components:
- North Bay Program (Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties) managed by the four North Bay county congestion management agencies. $5 million of federal funds were made available from MTC for this program and eleven projects were funded with these OBAG funds.
- Peninsula, Southern and East Bay Counties Program (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) administered by the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) in partnership with MTC and ABAG. $5 million of federal funds were made available from MTC for this program and an additional $2.45 million in state funds from SCC. Seven projects were funded with OBAG funds for a total of $4.5 million and an additional five projects were funded through the Conservancy funding.
The combined OBAG 1 PCA program funded twenty-three projects for a total of $11.95 million.
- List of PCAs funded through the 2013 OBAG program.
- 2013 PCA Grant Program Call for Projects (Peninsula, South Bay and East Bay Counties)
OBAG 2 Funding for PCAs
Funding for PCAs under the second round of the One Bay Area Grant Program (OBAG 2) will be available starting in 2018. MTC has authorized $16.4 million for projects eligible for PCA funding. Similar to the first round, the program will be divided into two components: North Bay Program ($8.2 million) and Peninsula, Southern and East Bay Counties Program ($8.2 million).
The PCA Grant Program will issue a call for projects for the Peninsula, Southern and East Bay counties in early 2018. Applications will be posted to this website. Calls for projects under the North Bay Program will be managed by the individual Congestion Management Agencies (CMAs) for each North Bay county. Eligible projects will need to be within a previously-designated PCA.
Additional Funding Opportunities
Projects located within PCAs are eligible for other sources of local, state, regional and federal funding. We have compiled a list of funding sources that are known at this time to have the potential to support projects within PCAs. Please share any funding sources that may be missing from this list.
List of potential funding sources for projects within PCAs (coming soon)
Four designations recognize the varied role 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.
Natural 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)
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)
Benefits describe 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. Benefits and potential co-benefits are identified for each designation (i.e. wildlife and plant habitat, agricultural economy).