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Coastside Protection

La Honda Creek Preserve (Frances Freyburg)

In the 1990s, as development pressure threatened the Coastside’s scenic beauty, rural character and agricultural heritage, Coastsiders expressed their support for extending the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District boundaries to include the San Mateo County Coastside. In 2004, Midpen's boundaries expanded to include the San Mateo County coast from Montara to the San Mateo Santa Cruz county line. The area is called Midpen's Coastside Protection Area and has a unique mission statement associated with it. Midpen's Coastside Protection Area Service Plan, which took more than seven years to develop in collaboration with Coastside residents and the agricultural community, guides our work in the region.

To date, Midpen has protected more than 19,000 acres of natural and agricultural lands that contribute to the area’s rural identity, natural beauty and quality of life.

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Land Preservation
Natural Resources Protection and Restoration
Natural Resources
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Measure AA


Midpen worked with multiple stakeholders to develop the Coastside Protection Area Service Plan. Through the plan, Midpen is committed to:

  • Protecting watershed integrity and water quality
  • Protecting sensitive resources such as habitats for special-status species
  • Providing key links to existing Midpen and other public open space and park lands
  • Providing opportunities for low-intensity recreation 
  • Supporting development of an integrated regional trail system coordinated with the San Mateo County Trails Plan
  • Providing opportunities for scientific research, resource conservation demonstration projects, outdoor environmental education programs, and interpretive programs
  • Preserving existing and potential agricultural operations in order to keep the maximum amount of prime agricultural land and other lands suitable for agriculture in agricultural production

Midpen's Unique Mission in the Coastside Protection Area

To acquire and preserve in perpetuity open space land and agricultural land of regional significance, protect and restore the natural environment, preserve rural character, encourage viable agricultural use of land resources, and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

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Measure AA

To date, more than $16 million in Measure AA funding has been invested in Coastside open space and agriculture projects. These include land preservation, habitat restoration, watershed protection, conservation grazing and ecologically sensitive public access projects at Purisima Creek Redwoods, La Honda Creek, Miramontes Ridge, Tunitas Creek and Cloverdale Ranch preserves.

Conservation Grazing and Agriculture

Midpen’s Conservation Grazing Program is a collaboration with small-scale, local ranchers accomplishing multiple goals that align with our coastal mission:

  • Maintain and restore native grasslands and their unique biodiversity
  • Manage vegetation to reduce wildland fire risk
  • Support agriculture on the San Mateo County Coast

There are also some row crops within Midpen's coastal-area preserves, including 7 acres of cut flowers in Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve, 33 acres of produce in Miramontes Ridge Preserve and a historic chestnut orchard and Christmas tree farm in Skyline Ridge Preserve. Midpen's agricultural policy, which was updated in 2023 through a public process, defines Midpen's role in agriculture on the San Mateo County coast in alignment with our mission.  

Project Updates and Related Stories

Funded by Measure AA 2014 Open Space Bond

Measure AA Funding

In 2014, voters passed Measure AA, a 30-year, $300 million bond funding open space projects in Midpen’s community-supported Vision Plan, including dozens of Coastside preservation, restoration and public access projects. Coastside property tax payers contribute to Measure AA. Midpen’s remaining funding comes from a small share of property tax on ridgeline and bayside properties within our service area.