Sediment Coordination Committee

The early stages of a sunset over a beach

The North-central California Coastal Sediment Coordination Committee (Sediment Coordination Committee) supports coastal resilience through consensus-driven recommendations that address sediment imbalances along the coast of Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.

The Committee is composed of resource and regulatory agency representatives with sediment and coastal management expertise who together provide a broad knowledge of agency, land use, technical, and scientific information and are well-informed about present and future coastal issues along the north-central California Coast.

The intent of the Sediment Coordination Committee is to build on the Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup’s (CSMW) collaborative efforts to develop the California Coastal Sediment Management Master Plan ("Sediment Master Plan" or "SMP"), which is an ongoing effort to evaluate California's coastal sediment management needs and promote regional, system-wide solutions. Many of the agencies participating in this Committee have contributed to the development of the SMP. The Committee does not represent a regulatory or permitting decision process. Rather it is intended to provide feedback to improve project outcomes, share information, collaborate, integrate projects, and advance strategies for coastal adaptation and restoration. All members have equal standing.

Sediment Coordination Committee Objectives:

  1. Strive for consensus-driven recommendations on regional sediment management actions based on relevant guiding documents (e.g., sediment action plan(s)) to be developed and/or adopted by the Sediment Coordination Committee, and document all agency and stakeholder input when consensus is not able to be achieved;
  2. Coordinate programmatic and project-based consultations with other agencies where feasible (e.g., resource agencies, historic preservation offices, etc.);
  3. Facilitate technical assistance to member agencies (e.g., provide data and expertise as a resource for local governments);
  4. Pursue funding partnerships and/or opportunities;
  5. Support collaborative education and outreach efforts (e.g., provide links to/from agency web pages and develop unified messaging);
  6. Facilitate coordinated permit review where feasible; and
  7. Assess environmental justice considerations where feasible.

Regional Recommendations for the North-central Coast

A map of the northen california coast
Geographic coverage of the Sediment Coordination Committee. Click to view full-size map.

The following is a summary of six key Regional Sediment Management themes by category adopted by the committee on December 18, 2019. The six themes are distilled from 39 regional recommendations found in four Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plans/Reports (Sonoma-Marin, San Francisco Littoral Cell, San Francisco Central Bay, and Santa Cruz Littoral Cell; CRSMP/Rs) and represent overarching priorities for the Sediment Coordination Committee in cooperation with partner agencies for regional sediment management and coastal resilience. The full list of compiled recommendations can be found in Appendix B of the GFNMS Coastal Resilience Sediment Plan (PDF, 4.96KB).

  1. Leverage Partnerships and Agency Coordination and Promote Information Sharing

    Regional recommendations include the importance of coordinating agency review and permitting (e.g., following the model of the Dredged Material Management Office); seeking partnerships with local agencies to solicit local expertise, support, and potential funding opportunities (such as Resource Conservation Districts, Land Trusts, non-governmental organizations, property owner associations, and agricultural producers); convening multi-stakeholder or multi-agency task forces, or creating Memorandum of Agreements, and/or committees to facilitate a holistic approach to sediment management in the region; and ensuring that the strategies proposed by each CRSMP/R are closely coordinated with other sediment management projects or programs already occurring in each region.

  2. Engage Communities and Stakeholders through Education and Outreach

    The regional recommendations also highlight the need to: engage local agencies and communities around the value of sediment as both a resource and natural component of the coastal environment; assist local agencies and land managers with communicating the need for sediment management to their constituents, and provide platforms to convey results and opportunities for the public to join in sediment management efforts and monitoring (e.g., encouraging community-based citizen science opportunities).

  3. Maintain and Expand Sediment Research and Monitoring Activities

    Regional recommendations stress the need for maintaining existing regional monitoring programs and expanding new monitoring efforts, especially to better understand sediment pathways and budgets, both locally and across watersheds; and conducting sediment characterization assessments in different habitat areas (e.g., sand content and grain size in the region’s coastal bluffs) to understand how sediment supports local ecology and ecosystem services.

  4. Restore Natural Habitats and/or Sediment Dynamics and Pursue Nature-Based Solutions

    Some of the most frequently highlighted regional themes pertain to restoration and nature-based design, including: limiting interruptions to natural sediment flow wherever feasible; encouraging the investigation and design of "living shoreline" approaches to avoid additional hardscaping of shorelines and to increase shoreline stabilization that also provides a habitat benefit; working to preserve remaining natural habitat areas along estuarine and coastal shorelines; restoring natural sediment flow to reduce the need for sediment maintenance; encouraging new shoreline development designs that enhance or restore natural shoreline areas and shoreline processes (e.g., allowing natural sedimentation and expansion of marsh areas to keep pace with sea level rise); and evaluating the potential of a long-term public planning process identifying adaptation pathways in vulnerable coastal areas to allow for the successful restoration of natural coastal processes.

  5. Encourage and Increase the Beneficial Use of Sediment

    Another common theme was the importance of: beneficially reusing sediment that may otherwise be discarded (such as dredged material, sediment trapped in culverts and behind dams, and landslide material) for restoration purposes; developing lists of potential “receiver” and storage sites (upland and aquatic) to be pre-qualified to facilitate an increase of beneficially used sediment across the region; developing a matrix to characterize sediment compatibility across regions so that sediment can be reused more quickly and easily; and improving agency partnerships and coordination (e.g., with Caltrans and flood control districts) to help with cost-sharing opportunities for beneficial use.

  6. Utilize a Holistic, Watershed Approach to Sediment Management

    Regional recommendations frequently state the importance of taking a holistic, watershed approach to understand sediment budgets and dynamics (especially in estuarine systems like San Francisco Bay) by: collaborating with watershed agencies to restore and enhance fluvial sediment delivery to estuaries and coasts; encouraging the protection of creeks; identifying areas of restoration to improve downstream water quality and natural sediment transport; developing and calibrating models that can predict the rate of sediment delivery over time from the tributaries to estuaries; and encouraging the redesign of tributaries and channels to improve sediment conveyance.

Committee Members

Federal Agencies: Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service; State Agencies: California Natural Resources Agency, California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission, Caltrans, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board; and Local Agencies: Sonoma County, Marin County, San Francisco City and County, San Mateo County.

If you have questions regarding the Committee please contact:

Wendy Kordesch. Ph.D.
Geological Oceanographer (affiliate)
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
991 Marine Drive, The Presidio
San Francisco, CA 94129
Email: wendy.kordesch@noaa.gov