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
Guidelines. A 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.
CREF applications are available now. Applications are due Monday, December 3, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Pfeifer.