Beach Overlook

CSMW’s mission is to facilitate regional approaches to protecting, enhancing and restoring California's coastal beaches and watersheds through federal, state and local cooperative efforts.


In support of this mission, CSMW’s goals include:

  • Coordinate California’s coastal beach and watershed restoration, protection and enhancement efforts with local, state and federal stakeholders and programs;
  • Better coordinate coastal sediment management and beach nourishment activities with related ongoing coastal watershed management, habitat restoration and protection, water quality enhancement, resource sustainability, and urban waterfront planning efforts;
  • Increase awareness of state and federal coastal beach and watershed protection, restoration and enhancement policies, programs and activities among local and regional governments; and
  • Prioritize sediment needs and opportunities, make such information available to resource managers and the public, and identify opportunities to streamline regional sediment management activities in California by developing a comprehensive "Sediment Management Plan".

History & Overview

The California Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup (CSMW) was established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) in 1999 to develop regional approaches to protecting, enhancing and restoring California's coastal beaches and watersheds through federal, state and local cooperative efforts. CSMW was formed in response to concerns voiced at a meeting between CNRA and USACE on shore protection needs in California. The consensus was that coastal sediment management is a key factor in developing strategies to conserve and restore California's coastal beaches and watersheds.

The CSMW is the first state and federal partnership developed in California for on-going, multi-agency interaction on statewide coastal sediment management issues. Until the CSMW was formed, the USACE, CNRA, regional government agencies and local coastal communities separately conducted studies, beach nourishment, harbor maintenance, habitat restoration and other efforts.

The USACE  participates in the CSMW as the federal agency with the mission, authority and capability to assist in managing and restoring coastal shorelines, wetlands, and watersheds. In addition, the Corps has lead federal authority for flood control, ecosystem restoration and navigation activities that provide systematic coastal sediment management linkages. The Los Angeles, San Francisco and South Pacific Divisions all participate in the CSMW.

The CNRA participates as the state "superagency" that oversees conserving, enhancing and managing California's natural and cultural resources, including coastal beaches, coastal watersheds and the ocean ecosystem. CNRA member groups include the California: Ocean Protection Council; Division of Boating and Waterways; Department of Parks and Recreation; California Coastal Commission; State Lands Commission; State Coastal Conservancy; California Geologic Survey; Department of Fish and Wildlife; and, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

Additionally, other agencies also participate in and provide advisory counsel to CSMW. These entities include:

  • the California Coastal Coalition, a non-profit organization comprised of cities, counties and regional government agencies along the California coast, that provides CSMW with local feedback and updates regarding projects and studies underway in coastal communities;
  • the federal U.S. Geological Survey, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Monterey Bay and Greater Farrallones National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management;
  • the California Ocean Sciences Trust and Sea Grant programs, and;
  • the California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference (CMANC), which advises CSMW on issues relevant to ports and harbors throughout coastal California

CSMW typically meets in person every other month, with conference calls scheduled for the months in between meetings. Participants use these group discussions to strengthen their own coastal sediment management programs. The CSMW provides a forum to enhance these individual efforts, minimize redundant studies and ensure that various studies are being conducted in a complementary way. Minutes of meetings since 2001 are posted on this website.

Together, the CSMW is overseeing the California Coastal Sediment Management Plan (SMP). The SMP is intended to identify and prioritize regional sediment management needs and opportunities along the California coast, provide this information to resource managers and the general public, and streamline sediment management activities. Such issues may include coastal erosion, recreational opportunities, environmental impacts, dredging and sediment flow through coastal watersheds.