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About the Coastal Corridor Alliance

FVP Restoration

Our Story

Coastal Corridor Alliance’s initiatives, programs, and community building are focused on educating and inspiring individuals to learn about the natural world, improving local parks and preserves through participating in the planning process, and strengthening ties to the land and water.

People gathered around a tent labeled Coastal Corridor Alliance on the beach with blue skies above.

From acquisition to restoration, urban greening to ecological literacy, we are engaging with park managers, funders, partners, elected officials, tribal nations, and the public to improve the Coastal Corridor for generations to come.

Our work is unique because we connect the community to land and water and provide engaging and positive experiences in nature. By building trust, growing our community and partnerships, and engaging diverse audiences–our alliances expand, especially in regions that have historically been disinvested. We combine creative technology, grassroots organizing, and on-the-ground successes to create a recipe for success.

A key goal is to catalyze success throughout the Coastal Corridor by providing meaningful connections.

Banning Ranch

Our History

Imagine it’s 1998, residents near an oil field property at the mouth of the Santa Ana River discover a development proposal that would destroy 400 coastal acres. Like concerned residents do, the research began to understand what was at stake and who would be making decisions. They laid out a strategy to protect the land.

Research uncovered that 18 rare, sensitive, threatened, and/or endangered species existed on this landscape. And, it included a vernal pool complex–one of only two federally recognized vernal pool complexes in all of coastal Orange County. The goal became simple: protect the land by forming a non-profit called the Banning Ranch Conservancy.

Vernal Pool

The proposed development changed throughout the years, but it landed on 1,375 residential units, a resort, and commercial center.

Volunteers employed every tool available to fight the proposed development: from door knocking to testimony at the City Council, meetings with decision makers and more! When the development was approved, litigation became the only tool available to achieve the goal. The first court sided with the Conservancy, but then the Appellate Court sided with the developer and City of Newport Beach. The Conservancy filed an appeal of the Appellate Court decision to the California Supreme Court. The case was heard and the court favored our position. It even made new case law with a published decision.

CCC Hearing

Meanwhile, community members continued their research and argued before the Coastal Commission to deny the development project and protect the property. The Commission sided in favor of the Conservancy as well. This ultimately led to unraveling the development plans. This decision was instrumental in allowing the developer to choose to sell the land for conservation purposes.

In working closely with the transaction specialists at The Trust for Public Land, the Conservancy, through its partnership with a local philanthropist, secured the first $50M of private funding to buy the land. All in all, it cost $97M and the remaining funds were secured through state and federal public sources.

Saving Banning Ranch

The land was protected through a conservation transaction in December 2022. The title is held by the local joint powers authority, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). 

After the completion of oil remediation, scheduled for late 2025, and several planning processes, the land will be available for managed public use. The land is named after the major benefactors, the Frank and Joan Randall Preserve/Genga [Tribal Name to be determined]. The official tribal name will be added in the future.

Realizing the organization had met its original mission, we spent part of 2022 and all of 2023 formulating a new Strategic Plan and devising our new goals. We aimed to reach further than one property and acknowledge the interconnectedness of the lands and coastal waters at the mouth of the Santa Ana River. This is how the Coastal Corridor Alliance came to be.

Loggerhead Shrike photo by: James-Maley

Our Vision

The Alliance’s new mission is to protect biodiversity, foster community stewardship, and advocate for appropriate human access on the Randall Preserve and Santa Ana River Coastal Corridor.

The Alliance’s new vision is to inspire, educate, and connect the communities of the Santa Ana River coastal lands and waters by strengthening inclusive partnerships, restoring native habitats, enhancing climate resiliency, and advancing compatible and equitable human uses.

Desired Impact

  • The stewardship, restoration, and access plans developed for the Randall Preserve provide for the preservation of its most important ecological and environmental characteristics while also providing appropriate human access.
  • A team of engaged constituents starts to coalesce around a new organization & mission.
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