How and why the Wetlands Recovery Project was created as a regional voice for Southern California's wetland resources

The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) was created in 1997 as a regional voice for the valuable yet diminishing coastal resources of Southern California. Prior to the creation of the WRP, there was little regional coordination or communication between public agencies, non profit organizations, and community members who had a vested interest in Southern California’s wetlands.  Many people held little hope for the parceled wetlands that remained in the rapidly developing region of Southern California.

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Since our Working Agreement was signed on September 8, 1997 (amended December 11, 2017) by 14 state and federal resource directors and managers, the future of Southern California’s wetland resources has been much brighter. The WRP is a broad-based collaboration, led by the California Natural Resources Agency and supported by the State Coastal Conservancy and Earth Island Institute, that has public agencies, non-profits, scientists, and local communities working cooperatively to acquire and restore rivers, streams, and wetlands in coastal Southern California. The WRP’s geographic scope is from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the international border with Mexico.

Using a non-regulatory approach and an ecosystem-based perspective, the WRP works together to identify wetland acquisition and restoration priorities, identify funding to undertake these projects, and provide technical assistance to project proponents.

Read our Working Agreement


Signatories of our Working Agreement

Jack Ainsworth, Executive Director, California Coastal Commission

Jonathan Bishop, Chief Deputy Director, State Water Resources Control Board

Charlton Bonham, Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

John Donnelly, Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board

John Laird, Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency

Jennifer Lucchesi, Executive Director, State Lands Commission

John Robertson, Executive Officer, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Matthew Rodriguez, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency

Carlos Saurez, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer, State Coastal Conservancy

Hope Smythe, Executive Officer, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

Paul Souza, Regional Director, United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Tomas Torres, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9

Chris Yates, Assistant Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service