The Planning Unit is responsible for conducting major planning studies, specialized research and policy development, and keeping the Commission’s policy plans current, including the San Francisco Bay Plan. Planning unit staff work collaboratively with other agencies and organizations on issues of regional importance including marsh conservation, sea level rise adaptation, recreation planning and oil spill prevention and response.


San Francisco Bay Plan

The San Francisco Bay Plan was prepared by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and adopted by the Legislature in 1969. The McAteer-Petris Act directs the Commission to exercise its authority to issue or deny permit applications for placing fill, extracting material, or changing use of any land, water or structure within the Commission’s jurisdiction in conformity with the provisions and policies of both the McAteer-Petris Act and the Bay Plan. The law also directs the Commission to keep the Bay Plan up to date, through a program of continuing review.

Special Area Plans

The Commission in partnership with local governments prepares and implements special area plans that are amendments to the San Francisco Bay Plan that apply any or all of the Bay Plan policies in greater detail to the area covered by the Special Area Plan. The Commission has adopted four special area plans.

Other Plans

White Slough
Pursuant to a 1990 amendment to the McAteer-Petris Act, The White Slough Specific Area Plan was prepared by Solano County and the City of Vallejo and approved by the Commission. The Plan provides for the protection and enhancement of habitat value, and the improvement of transportation, flood control and other infrastructure facilities in the plan area.

Suisun Marsh Protection Plan

BCDC regulates use and development of the Suisun Marsh through the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan (Protection Plan). The objectives of the Protection Plan are to preserve and enhance the quality and diversity of the Suisun Marsh aquatic and wildlife habitats and to assure retention of upland areas adjacent to the Marsh in uses compatible with its protection. The Suisun Marsh Protection Plan was completed by BCDC in 1976 and adopted by the Legislature in 1977. The Protection Plan articulates BCDC’s management policies for the Suisun Marsh within the Primary Management Area and the policy requirements for Local Protection Program components in the Secondary Management Area.
Beginning in early 2020, BCDC is reviewing the Protection Plan to determine if amendments are needed to effectively protect the Suisun Marsh. See Suisun Marsh Policy Review for more details.

San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan

On January 17, 2019, BCDC initiated a process to consider two updates to the San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan. The San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan (Seaport Plan) is prepared by BCDC in collaboration with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The Seaport plan guides BCDC’s regulatory decisions on developments within port priority use areas designated in the San Francisco Bay Plan and MTC uses the Seaport Plan to assist in making project funding decisions and managing the metropolitan transportation system.


Adapting to Rising Tides

Adapting to Rising Tides — the ART Program — is a collaborative planning effort to help San Francisco Bay Area communities adapt to sea level rise and storm event flooding. The ART Program has engaged local, regional, state and federal agencies and organizations, as well as non-profit and private associations since 2010. Together, the ART Project team and its partners are working towards the project goal of increasing the Bay Area’s preparedness and resilience to sea level rise and storm events while protecting critical ecosystem and community services.

Oil Spill Prevention and Response

BCDC partners with the Coast Guard, CDFW-OSPR and other agencies, the maritime industry, and the environmental community to improve navigation safety within the Bay to prevent spills and other impacts to Bay resources. For more information on oil spill prevention and response, goods movement or the Seaport Plan, contact Linda Scourtis 415-352-3644. See Office of Spill Prevention and Response for more information.

Sediment Management

BCDC, in partnership with state and federal agencies, is developing a regional sediment management plan that builds on the successful LTMS program and seeks to incorporate flood protection , habitat restoration, sand mining and shoreline erosion issues in the overall management of sediments in the Bay.

Bay Plan Amendments

BCDC has initiated  amendments  to the San Francisco Bay Plan including 1) an update to the Seaport Plan; and 2) an update to the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan. These amendments are currently underway, along with several other project-related Bay Plan amendments. BCDC also recently adopted two Bay Plan amendments to address Bay fill for habitat projects, and social equity and environmental justice.

Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Review

BCDC is beginning a comprehensive review of the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan (Protection Plan) to determine if the Protection Plan needs to be amended to effectively protect the Suisun Marsh. This process is supported by a stakeholder working group composed of staff from local governments, relevant local, state, and federal agencies, and scientific experts. See Suisun Marsh Policy Review for more details.

Policies for a Rising Bay Project

Policies for a Rising Bay Project is a NOAA grant-funded project whereby BCDC is collaboratively evaluating BCDC’s fill policies in light of sea level rise to develop guidance for the Commission, staff and project proponents on the interpretation of these policies and policy options for potential changes that would promote shoreline resilience and Bay protection.

Climate Change Bay Plan Policies

BCDC developed the San Francisco Bay Plan Climate Change Policy Guidance (PDF) to provide information for applicants and interested parties looking to learn more about permitting projects with sea level rise and climate change considerations. Access the Key Takeaways (PDF) or see to learn more about the effort and access the Guidance and supporting materials.

On October 6, 2011, BCDC unanimously approved an amendment to the San Francisco Bay Plan to address climate change. These findings and policies have been incorporated into the Bay Plan and are now in effect.

Water Trail Project

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail is a network of access sites on a waterway that enables boaters to take point to point trips on Bay waters. BCDC, the California Coastal Conservancy, the Association of Bay Area Governments Bay Trail Project and other agencies and organizations worked collaboratively to plan for and implement the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail that serves non-motorized small boats such as kayaks.

Regional Airport Planning

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and MTC jointly prepare and update the Regional Airport System Planning Analysis (RASPA) under the direction of the Regional Airport Planning Committee (RAPC). RAPC is made up of elected officials from the three regional agencies and staff from the region's airports.

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