Our Mission
Protecting & Enhancing California's Coast


The Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, rigorous use of science, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination.

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Property Owners

Property Owners
© Josh Edelson

Property owners can apply for a Coastal Development Permit to legally develop their property within the California Coastal Zone

Local Governments

Local Governments
© Kesma Rauf

Many local governments are empowered to issue Coastal Development Permits through Local Coastal Plans

Informed Citizens

Informed Citizens
© US Army Corps of Engineers

Everyone can learn about our coast & how to protect it. Join a beach cleanup, get teacher resources & grants, help out & have fun

Honoring Kristina Finstad

The California Coastal Commission joins the nation in mourning the victims of the tragic fire that destroyed the dive boat Conception off the Channel Islands Monday morning. We were saddened to learn that a former colleague, Kristina Finstad, was aboard the boat and among those listed as missing. Kristina created and ran the Coastal Commission’s community-based restoration program (Project Grow) between 2002 and 2005. She also authored “Digging In: A Guide to Community-based Habitat Restoration,” which the Coastal Commission still distributes. Passionate about nature, smart, creative, and enthusiastic, Kristina was beloved by her volunteers and coworkers alike. She will be deeply missed.

California Coastal Trail
California Coastal Trail

California Coastal Trail

Find inspiration in the stories that shaped the iconic California Coastal Trail.


California Coastal Access Guide

California Coastal Access Guide

The fully revised 7th Edition has information on more than 1,150 public access areas.


California Coastal Access Guide
Whale Tail License Plate
Whale Tail License Plate

Whale Tail® License Plate

Help protect & restore the priceless resources of California's coast & ocean


Beach Wheelchair
© De-Bug Beach Wheelchair

Beach Wheelchair

Access the coast with ease in a free beach wheelchair, available throughout California


Beach Wheelchair
Check the Coast
Check the Coast

Check the Coast

Donate to the Protect Our Coast & Oceans Fund on your California Tax Form


John "Jack" Ainsworth, 58, came to the Coastal Commission from the private sector in 1989 as a Coastal Program Analyst. Over the past 27 years, he has shouldered a variety of responsibilities including overseeing the South Central and South Coast (LA County) district offices and as the agency's Senior Deputy Director beginning in May 2015. He was appointed Acting Executive Director in March 2016. Ainsworth has a BA in Environmental Studies & Geography and an MSc in Geography from the University of California, Riverside.

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