It’s official. Our efforts to protect our greenbelt have resulted in the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) designating nearly half a million acres of new Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs).
Yesterday, ABAG voted to designate 68 new PCAs throughout the Bay Area. Priority Conservation Areas are exactly what they sound like—natural areas, recreation lands, farms, ranches, and urban open spaces that should be protected—and will help local decision-makers identify conservation priorities when planning new development. The 68 new PCAs will cover over 400,000 acres, or an area more than 13 times the size of San Francisco! See ABAG’s map [PDF] and list [PDF] of the new PCAs.
We had originally hoped that ABAG would adopt 20 new PCAs. To get more than three times that amount is a monumental win and a tribute to our cities’ and counties’ commitment to regional conservation.
The 68 newly adopted Priority Conservation Areas will cover over 400,000 acres, or an area more than 13 times the size of San Francisco.
This win also reaffirms that conservation and smart growth are intricately linked. As the Bay Area continues to grow, we must reward jurisdictions that direct growth within existing urban areas while concurrently rewarding jurisdictions for their land conservation efforts—that’s where the PCA grant program comes in.
Once designated, a Priority Conservation Area is eligible for grant funding for land-use planning, acquisition, and open space access projects. This program is a critical tool for safeguarding the lands that provide clean air and water, locally produced food, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, outdoor recreation, and urban greening.
Thank you for your support and for helping make this huge win for the Bay Area possible.
ABAG’s vote was a huge win, but we still have lots of work to do. We need your help to make sure the PCA grant program has the funding it needs. Take action below and urge the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to increase funding for Priority Conservation Areas.
Photo: Marc Liyanage via Flickr
This post was updated on September 18, 2015 to include links to ABAG’s map and list of the new PCAs.