Providing detailed information on a variety of topics, LandWatch aims to educate, inform, and advocate for good policy decisions. This page features policy papers and presentations written and prepared by our staff, consultants, and interns.

Community Forum on Groundwater Sustainability:
What Will It Take & Cost to Get Into Balance

LandWatch hosted a community forum that focused on water. The forum highlighted the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency that is currently crafting a sustainability plan for the overdrafted basin. This plan is required by the State of California through the Groundwater Management Act. Two presentations are available:

Local Impacts of Climate Change

Michael DeLapa, Executive Director of LandWatch, spoke to the The League of Women Voters of Monterey County about the impacts of climate change locally, including changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, projected rise in sea levels along the Monterey County coastline, and increased risks of wildfires throughout the County.

Understanding Groundwater: Our Greatest Resource

Our local groundwater is being depleted at a rate faster than it can recharge from rainfall due to overpumping and impacts from seawater intrusion. Most of the Salinas Valley is dependent on groundwater and water is pivotal to the success of the agricultural industry. In fact, one-quarter of all jobs in the Valley are related to agriculture. We produce 424 million pounds of produce exported throughout the globe. But, our groundwater is a finite natural resource and the impacts of overuse can be seen already. Recent legislation was signed by the Governor in California focused on sustainable management of groundwater resources. The creation of the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency is tasked with planning for the sustainable use of this precious resource. (9/20/19)

Overtourism in Big Sur

Concerns about tourism at Big Sur have been exacerbated by advertising, media, and social media inflating the problem to overtourism. There are many conflicts between residents and tourists due to lack of infrastructure (roads, parking, etc.), reduced response times to emergency situations by safety personnel due to miles-long traffic congestion on a single road through the region, increased hotel rooms nearby with no mass transit or shuttling to destinations, and the increased risk from more people causing destruction of the natural resources (like increase in wildfire ignitions and littering). Partnerships, better planning, and improvements in Big Sur, and nearby communities, can help reduce the impacts and improve the visitor experience as well as the quality of life for local residents.

Tourism Industry Can Support Sustainable Land Use

The hotel and tourism industry already asks patrons to reuse towels and reduce water use, but we all benefit from sustainable land use planning. These tourism-based entities can promote infill projects, better transit, and active transportation options—protecting our oceans. (07.05.17)

Land Use And The General Plan

This publication is a LandWatch “Best Policies” Guidebook. It outlines a set of recommended General Plan policies to address key planning issues, including affordable housing, the preservation of agricultural land, property rights, natural resource protection, water, permit process reform, and transportation and transit. This Guidebook was made possible by a generous grant from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation. A summary of the Guidebook is available for download as a PowerPoint slideshow, HTML file, and PDF file.

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