Conservation and innovation at Diablo move into spotlight

Last week was a big one for Diablo Canyon land conservation and economic development efforts:

  • REACH joined three partners in releasing a detailed plan leveraging state funding to achieve bold conservation and economic development goals
  • Top officials from several state agencies came to town for three full days of meeting with local government leaders, touring Diablo Canyon and gathering public sentiment

Here’s a quick rundown.


What’s in the proposal?

Broadly, the plan builds on years of community engagement to achieve several widely shared goals:

  • Permanent protection of the Diablo Canyon Lands, with North and South Ranch under ownership by the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash Tribe of San Luis Obispo County and Region and Wild Cherry Canyon under state or county parks or similar public agency
  • Conservation easements on all three parcels held by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, with continued managed public access to trails and a new inland trail from Avila Beach to Montaña de Oro made possible for the first time
  • Investment in clean tech innovation under Cal Poly leadership to spark future-oriented job growth in a region with thousands of transitioning energy workers

Find the full proposal, two-page overview and slide deck here.

Map show Diablo Canyon parcels and economic development assets


How does it fit into the bigger picture?

It was the passage of Senate Bill 846 last summer that opened the door to extending the plant’s operations.

  • Thanks to coordinated regional advocacy, the bill included $160 million for Diablo Canyon land conservation and economic development.
  • The state Natural Resources Agency, in conjunction with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), is tasked with submitting a plan for that money to the legislature by March 23.
  • The partnership proposal leverages that funding with additional money from donors, mitigation and other state funds and PG&E ratepayer savings.

What’s the deal with the state visit?

It’s not that often we get state cabinet-level visitors on the Central Coast, but last week we had a whole handful including:

4 state officials sit on the dias at a diablo canyon listening session

  • California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot
  • Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development Director and Senior Newsom Advisor Dee Dee Myers
  • State Water Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel
  • State Lands Commission Executive Officer Jennifer Lucchesi

After a public listening session Friday, during which REACH, our proposal partners and others spoke to the region’s goals for conservation and economic development, the state officials praised the community energy and effort that has gone into creating alignment.


“I have to commend Cal Poly and REACH for really leaning in on this question on how to utilize existing economic development infrastructure in the region to grow the economy into the future.” — California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot


“We don’t want to be recreating the wheel, … [The focus among various state agencies is] what tools do we have in our jurisdiction, authority, funding, resources and expertise to help you all implement the vision that you have for these lands.”
— State Lands Commission Executive Officer Jennifer Lucchesi


“I look forward to continuing the dialogue, not only as we put together the report for March 23, but as we move forward with long-term planning around this very important set of issues.”
— Senior Newsom Advisor and Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development Director Dee Dee Myers