Gaviota Coast

  • Goal: Preserving southern California’s largest remaining undeveloped coastline
  • Year Started: 1994
  • Client Environmental Defense Center

The Gaviota Coast is one of California’s largest remaining continuous stretches of undeveloped rural coastlines, stretching 76 miles long and encompassing Naples as its gateway and crown jewel. It is world renowned as a biodiversity hotspot, one of the most ecologically diverse regions on the planet, and home to numerous sites of significant cultural and archeological significance.

Since 1994, EDC has worked with partner organizations to ensure permanent preservation of the rural Gaviota Coast. In 2009, the County of Santa Barbara began working to develop a comprehensive plan – the Gaviota Coast Plan – that would set the framework for future preservation and development along this iconic coastline. With so little undeveloped coastal open space remaining and development pressures increasing, EDC pushed for stronger policies to ensure that the Plan protects the area’s pristine biological and cultural resources, rural character and agriculture, and public recreation and access for many generations to come.

In 2018, the work by EDC and our partners on the Gaviota Coast Plan came to a successful end as the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the Plan. Their vote accepted the Coastal Commission’s Plan modifications, bringing it into compliance with the law and strengthening it to ensure protection of the important agricultural, ecological, cultural, scenic, and recreational attributes of the Gaviota Coast. 

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