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Alex Chen

The Bay Area’s Priority Conservation Areas

Almost exactly one year ago, Plan Bay Area was adopted. Last week, the Bay Area made its strongest regional commitment yet to protecting our natural and agricultural lands.

On Thursday night, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) unanimously approved the new and improved Priority Conversation Area Program. Plan Bay Area is the vision for how our cities and towns will grow, and the Priority Conservation Area Program is a critical tool for helping our region conserve the lands that provide clean air and water, locally produced food, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation.

Here’s why we’re so excited about the revised program:

  • Formalizes science-based criteria for Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) and makes the designation process more transparent
  • Rolls all 101 existing PCAs into the new program
  • Facilitates collaboration between cities and open space districts to create new PCAs
  • Works in conjunction with Plan Bay Area’s Priority Development Area Program
  • ABAG also called for significant new funding to support the program

Greenbelt Alliance and our partners, The Nature Conservancy, the Bay Area Open Space Council, and the American Farmland Trust, helped guide the creation of the stronger PCA criteria. Now, the next step is to use these criteria to identify lands that need to be safeguarded and adopt them as new PCAs.

The unanimous adoption of the new program shows that the conservation of our natural and agricultural lands is a priority for the region that transcends politics. The new program equips the Bay Area with the ability to protect the lands that need it the most and to tangibly improve the quality of life for Bay Area residents.

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