Coastal Element (Public Hearing Draft, 5/1/13)
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General Plan > Elements > Coastal Element >Protecting Sensitive Habitats, Natural Resources and the Marine Environment
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Protecting Sensitive Habitats, Historical and Natural Resources, and the Marine Environment

Protecting Sensitive Habitats, Historical and Natural Resources, and the Marine Environment San Clemente is committed to restoring, preserving and enhancing marine resources and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs), including wetlands, reefs, estuaries, riparian areas, sand dunes and other natural habitats in the Coastal Zone.

ESHAs in San Clemente's Coastal Zone are depicted in Figure C-2 and include habitats of rare or endangered species, and several coastal canyons which contain California native plant communities. Development of land in and adjacent to the canyons is subject to the canyon preservation policies addressed in the Zoning Ordinance Coastal Zone (-CZ) Overlay District.

Critical components of our marine environment are the protection and enhancement of water quality. Non-point source (NPS) polluted runoff is a leading cause of ocean, estuary and freshwater stream pollution. Consequently, the federal government mandates that states address the issue. In California, the Coastal Commission and the State Water Quality Control Board have developed a joint, non-point source pollution control program that provides a unified, statewide approach to dealing with NPS pollution. We aggressively address water quality through measures contained in the Municipal Code, Chapter 13.40, Stormwater Runoff Control, and through our Clean Ocean Fee Program (Chapter 13.34) to fund and implement planning, design, and implementation of applicable local, State, and Federal storm water regulations.

In addition, the impacts of non-native, invasive species on native plant and animal marine resources are a growing concern statewide. This issue is addressed below and in the Zoning Ordinance, Coastal Zone (-CZ) Overlay District.


Ensure San Clemente’s Coastal Zone environment is protected, maintained and, where feasible, enhanced, including its significant plant and wildlife species and natural, historical and human-made resources.


C-2.01. Beach and Marine Environment. We provide a litter-free and enjoyable beach and marine environment.
C-2.02. Development Proposals. We protect the natural resources found in the Coastal Zone by evaluating development proposals, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act and as described in the Zoning Ordinance.
C-2.03. Stormwater and Urban Runoff Management. We protect our coastal and marine resources by implementing the Clean Ocean Program to address stormwater and urban runoff pollution and comply with applicable Federal, State and regional requirements.
C-2.04. Cultural Resources. We protect cultural resources, including historical, archaeological or paleontological features in the Coastal Zone, as further described in the Natural Resources Element, Archaeological and Paleontological Resources section and the Historic Preservation Element.
C-2.05. Natural Resources. We protect our natural resources by prohibiting the encroachment of development, incompatible land uses and sensitive habitat disturbance into designated coastal canyon and coastal bluff areas.
C-2.06. Native Landscaping. We ensure that new landscaping for new development in coastal bluffs, coastal canyons or sensitive habitat areas or ESHAs within the Coastal Zone uses primarily plants that are native to the local region, as described in Zoning Ordinance, Coastal Zone (-CZ) Overlay District, and prohibit the planting of invasive plant species.
C-2.07. Landscape Restoration. We encourage restoration of native landscaping in coastal canyon and bluff areas.
C-2.08. Wetlands. We recognize and protect wetlands for their scenic, recreational, water quality, and habitat values.
C-2.09. Coordination with State and Federal Agencies. We work with the state and federal resource protection agencies, businesses, private organizations and individuals to protect our natural and marine resources.
C-2.10. ESHAs. We protect Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs) by restricting development in ESHAs to those that are resource-dependent, such as restoration, limited public access improvements, signage, placement of boardwalks, fencing, minor educational, interpretative and research activities consistent with the California Coastal Act.
C-2.11. Uses within the Marine Environment. We require that uses of and in the marine environment be conducted to 1) maintain the long-term biological productivity of coastal waters, 2) help ensure the continuation of a healthy, self-renewing marine ecosystem, and 3) help ensure the long-term survival of healthy populations of marine plants and animals.
C-2.12. Non-Native Species. We seek to prevent the introduction, reproduction or spread of harmful non-native plant and animal species through public education, maintenance of marine facilities and by assisting local, state and federal agencies enforce laws protecting marine resources.



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