Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 20 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330. )

CHAPTER 3. Coastal Resources Planning and Management Policies [30200 - 30265.5]

  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330. )

ARTICLE 4. Marine Environment [30230 - 30236]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330. )


Marine resources shall be maintained, enhanced, and, where feasible, restored. Special protection shall be given to areas and species of special biological or economic significance. Uses of the marine environment shall be carried out in a manner that will sustain the biological productivity of coastal waters and that will maintain healthy populations of all species of marine organisms adequate for long-term commercial, recreational, scientific, and educational purposes.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)


The biological productivity and the quality of coastal waters, streams, wetlands, estuaries, and lakes appropriate to maintain optimum populations of marine organisms and for the protection of human health shall be maintained and, where feasible, restored through, among other means, minimizing adverse effects of waste water discharges and entrainment, controlling runoff, preventing depletion of ground water supplies and substantial interference with surface waterflow, encouraging waste water reclamation, maintaining natural vegetation buffer areas that protect riparian habitats, and minimizing alteration of natural streams.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)


Protection against the spillage of crude oil, gas, petroleum products, or hazardous substances shall be provided in relation to any development or transportation of such materials. Effective containment and cleanup facilities and procedures shall be provided for accidental spills that do occur.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)


(a) The diking, filling, or dredging of open coastal waters, wetlands, estuaries, and lakes shall be permitted in accordance with other applicable provisions of this division, where there is no feasible less environmentally damaging alternative, and where feasible mitigation measures have been provided to minimize adverse environmental effects, and shall be limited to the following:

(1) New or expanded port, energy, and coastal-dependent industrial facilities, including commercial fishing facilities.

(2) Maintaining existing, or restoring previously dredged, depths in existing navigational channels, turning basins, vessel berthing and mooring areas, and boat launching ramps.

(3) In open coastal waters, other than wetlands, including streams, estuaries, and lakes, new or expanded boating facilities and the placement of structural pilings for public recreational piers that provide public access and recreational opportunities.

(4) Incidental public service purposes, including, but not limited to, burying cables and pipes or inspection of piers and maintenance of existing intake and outfall lines.

(5) Mineral extraction, including sand for restoring beaches, except in environmentally sensitive areas.

(6) Restoration purposes.

(7) Nature study, aquaculture, or similar resource-dependent activities.

(b) Dredging and spoils disposal shall be planned and carried out to avoid significant disruption to marine and wildlife habitats and water circulation. Dredge spoils suitable for beach replenishment should be transported for these purposes to appropriate beaches or into suitable longshore current systems.

(c) In addition to the other provisions of this section, diking, filling, or dredging in existing estuaries and wetlands shall maintain or enhance the functional capacity of the wetland or estuary. Any alteration of coastal wetlands identified by the Department of Fish and Game, including, but not limited to, the 19 coastal wetlands identified in its report entitled, “Acquisition Priorities for the Coastal Wetlands of California”, shall be limited to very minor incidental public facilities, restorative measures, nature study, commercial fishing facilities in Bodega Bay, and development in already developed parts of south San Diego Bay, if otherwise in accordance with this division.

For the purposes of this section, “commercial fishing facilities in Bodega Bay” means that not less than 80 percent of all boating facilities proposed to be developed or improved, where the improvement would create additional berths in Bodega Bay, shall be designed and used for commercial fishing activities.

(d) Erosion control and flood control facilities constructed on watercourses can impede the movement of sediment and nutrients that would otherwise be carried by storm runoff into coastal waters. To facilitate the continued delivery of these sediments to the littoral zone, whenever feasible, the material removed from these facilities may be placed at appropriate points on the shoreline in accordance with other applicable provisions of this division, where feasible mitigation measures have been provided to minimize adverse environmental effects. Aspects that shall be considered before issuing a coastal development permit for these purposes are the method of placement, time of year of placement, and sensitivity of the placement area.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 294, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2007.)


Facilities serving the commercial fishing and recreational boating industries shall be protected and, where feasible, upgraded. Existing commercial fishing and recreational boating harbor space shall not be reduced unless the demand for those facilities no longer exists or adequate substitute space has been provided. Proposed recreational boating facilities shall, where feasible, be designed and located in such a fashion as not to interfere with the needs of the commercial fishing industry.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)


The economic, commercial, and recreational importance of fishing activities shall be recognized and protected.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 802, Sec. 2.)


Revetments, breakwaters, groins, harbor channels, seawalls, cliff retaining walls, and other such construction that alters natural shoreline processes shall be permitted when required to serve coastal-dependent uses or to protect existing structures or public beaches in danger from erosion and when designed to eliminate or mitigate adverse impacts on local shoreline sand supply. Existing marine structures causing water stagnation contributing to pollution problems and fishkills should be phased out or upgraded where feasible.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)


Channelizations, dams, or other substantial alterations of rivers and streams shall incorporate the best mitigation measures feasible, and be limited to (1) necessary water supply projects, (2) flood control projects where no other method for protecting existing structures in the flood plain is feasible and where such protection is necessary for public safety or to protect existing development, or (3) developments where the primary function is the improvement of fish and wildlife habitat.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC4.