Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund
Santa Barbara County has
awarded 297 grants for a total of approximately $22.4 million from its Coastal Resource
Enhancement Fund (CREF). The County
established CREF in 1987 to help mitigate
significant impacts of offshore oil
and gas development to coastal aesthetics,
coastal recreation, coastal tourism,
and environmentally sensitive coastal
resources. In effect, the County awards
grants from CREF to enhance these specific
coastal resources pursuant
to the Board-approved CREF
description of these and other grants
can be found in the annual CREF Status Report.
- A little less than half of these mitigation
funds have been used to acquire
coastal properties or conservation
easements. For example,
CREF helped purchase key bluff-top
properties, such as the Carpinteria
Bluffs, the Douglas property in the
city of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara
Shores in Ellwood, and Point Sal near
Guadalupe. It also helped to acquire
properties that protect environmentally
sensitive coastal habitats, such as
Burton Mesa chaparral near Lompoc,
Monarch butterfly foraging habitat
in Ellwood, and the Carpinteria Salt
- The second largest amount of CREF funds have been devoted to developing or improving coastal parks and other coastal-related facilities such as the Cabrillo Aquarium near Lompoc, the Dunes Center in Guadalupe, and the Watershed Resource Center at Arroyo Burro Beach.
- A small portion of CREF has funded Planning & Research, which mainly includes preparing master plans for coastal properties.
- A small portion of CREF has funded educational
projects. Typically a small CREF grant of less than $25,000,
this type of project can have a big impact. Santa Barbara Museum
of Natural History's Los Marineros curriculum, Dunes Center's
many exhibits, and La Purisima Audubon Society's Snowy Plover
video educate students and adults about the fragile marine environment
and the ways to protect it.
On June 20, 2017, the Board of Supervisors awarded 10 Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund (CREF) grants in the 2017 cycle. In addition, the Board directed staff to conduct CREF cycles every other year while the Point Arguello and Santa Ynez oil and gas projects are not operating. The next cycle would be conducted in late 2018 into 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Pfeifer.