As the state-designated clearinghouse for reviewing state and
federal projects, ABAG coordinated local proposals with state,
regional, and local plans, and manages specific planning programs.
ABAG serves as the regional Census Data Center and publishes its own forecasts. Detailed information on current and future population, employment, and housing are available at the census tract level. ABAG's biennial Projections series provides long-term forecasts through a series of computer models that have been widely recognized in academic literature. Model results are relied on by transportation and air quality agencies, local government, and private industry. ABAG also performs research and analysis on a variety of subjects, including retail sales, income distribution, regional migration, patterns of business development, and regional infrastructure.
Focusing Our Vision or "FOCUS" seeks to build upon existing progress related to smart growth and meld local and regional objectives into a more refined development strategy for the Bay Area. Through FOCUS, ABAG and other regional partners are working with local governments and stakeholders to identify local and regional priority areas for development and conservation. ABAG is identifying incentives for development for these priority areas, including funding for capital expenditures, planning grants, and technical assistance. The FOCUS project is a joint project of ABAG, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
EcoWise Certified is an independent, third-party certification program that distinguishes knowledgeable, licensed pest management professionals who practice prevention-based pest control. EcoWise Certified service providers are proficient in Integrated Pest Management or IPM. They employ a variety of common sense techniques to control pests effectively, minimizing the need to use pesticides. The Program responds to concerns that toxicity in many Bay Area creeks is caused by pesticides commonly used to control ants and other pests in and around buildings. To address these concerns, NPDES permit requirements call on cities and counties to phase out use of these pesticides and to implement IPM. EcoWise Certified was founded in partnership with the Bio-Integral Resource Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sacramento Water Quality Partnership with funding from the State Water Resources Control Board.
ABAG is the regional coordinator of environmental document review and certain federal grants programs. Subscribers to the online clearinghouse receive a bi-monthly publication that lists upcoming projects of regional significance in the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the list allows the public to view brief descriptions of these documents. Full copies are also available to the public in the MTC-ABAG library at 101 8th Street, Oakland, CA, 94607.
Earthquakes are a fact of life in California. ABAG has been publishing geology and hazard maps for the Bay Area since the 1960s. ABAG currently models shaking intensity, housing damage, liquefaction, and shelter needs for various earthquake scenarios around the Bay. Current publications provide guidance on living with these hazards, and more specific maps showing the predicted functionality of our housing and transportation systems following major earthquakes. ABAG is committed to improving earthquake preparedness by making hazard and risk information more accessible to all Bay Area residents.
A successful voluntary partnership of businesses, government agencies, professional associations, and utility providers, the Bay Area Green Business Program assists, verifies and recognizes businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible way. The Program helps businesses comply with environmental regulations, and then go beyond compliance to conserve energy, water, and other resources, and reduce pollution and waste. Hundreds of Bay Area businesses have been recognized. Government agencies are also eligible for certification. ABAG's Hazardous Waste Facility Allocation Committee developed the program and provides policy oversight. Visit the Program website for a complete listing of Bay Area green businesses and public agencies.
Charged with the development and implementation of the 1993
Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, the San Francisco
Estuary Project recommends actions in areas of aquatic resources,
wildlife, wetlands, water use, pollution prevention and reduction,
dredging and waterway modification, land use management, public
involvement and education, and research and monitoring. The
Estuary Project oversees the implementation of a coordinated
and comprehensive strategy for preserving, restoring, and enhancing
the Estuary-the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP).
Created by the State Legislature in 1987, the Bay Trail is a 500-mile shoreline pathway that will encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, linking the shorelines of all 9 counties and 47 cities, and connecting to approximately 130 parks and open space areas. The San Francisco Bay Trail Project, an ABAG nonprofit corporation, coordinates and advocates for trail implementation. About 290 miles are currently open for recreation and alternative transportation, offering opportunities to connect to, learn about, and enjoy the Bay and its natural treasures.
ABAG represents local and regional government on the Steering Committee of the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities . The Bay Area Alliance brings together government officials and private-sector leaders representing economy, environment, and social equity to address housing, transportation, environmental quality, jobs and related issues. The Bay Area Alliance has published a Compact for a Sustainable Bay Area that is intended to illustrate how we can grow more sustainably, and serve as a framework to guide future action. The Bay Area Alliance website identifies resources that can help government agencies, businesses and the public adopt more sustainable practices.
ABAG works with a variety of agencies and institutions to advance regional environmental management objectives. The Water and Land Use Program joins environmental planning and land use planning to help our members meet water quality and other regulatory program goals. Two technical working groups have helped address Delta and groundwater issues. We have contributed to the State's Water Plan Update, the Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, legislative discussions related to flooding and levees, and a State funded and U.C. Berkeley-based Delta planning and visioning effort. We are currently partnering with the S.F. Estuary Institute to assist with the State's Critical Coastal Areas Project, and additionally assist the State of California with a proposed Stream Protection Policy. To aid local governments and professional planners, we have created a technology survey and GIS maps of the region's water districts, the region's watersheds and selected areas of the coastline.
As cities and counties continue to struggle with rising costs
and diminishing income,
ABAG provides relief with cost-effective member services
Since its inception in 1979, over 17,000 students have taken
ABAG Training Center classes in environmental management, computer
technology, planning, and business management. In 1999, the
Training Center also began offering Internet-delivered safety
training classes. Employees of ABAG member jurisdictions are
entitles to discounts on all training courses.
ABAG risk management and insurance services began in 1986 with
the formation of the ABAG Pooled Liability Assurance Network
(PLAN) Corporation. PLAN is a non-profit corporation whose purpose
is to benefit each member community by establishing a stable,
cost-effective self-insurance, risk management program. Since
its inception, PLAN has returned over $20 million in equity
to its members.
ABAG serves public agencies and nonprofit borrowers by providing
economical, convenient, and secure means to meet a broad array
of capital financing needs. The Agency has provided financing
for more than 135 members and other local jurisdictions.
The Legislation and Governmental Organization (L&GO) Committee
of ABAG is comprised of city councilmembers, mayors, and county
supervisors who represent ABAG members. The L&GO Committee
focuses on monitoring, supporting, and developing state legislation
that will benefit the region and jurisdictions that serve the
ABAG's Publicly Owned Energy Resources (ABAG POWER)
is a joint powers agency (jpa) formed by ABAG to acquire energy
on behalf of local governments, as well as provide energy management and telecommunication services. ABAG POWER currently offers natural gas aggregation to local governments and special districts in the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) service territory.
ABAG POWER provides a public sector approach to pooled purchasing, and each public agency is guaranteed a voice in program operations and decisions through its representative to the ABAG POWER Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
ABAG and ABAG POWER are also working to expand their energy conservation and management services to local jurisdictions through the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
In 1994, ABAG became the first Council of Governments
to offer documents on the World Wide Web. Today, abagOnline
continues to be a valuable online resource-users can access
information about local government, ABAG planning and services,
data on significant public policy issues, as well as links to
over 200 Bay Area public agencies. abagOnline also provides web
hosting and design services for member agencies, and easy online
ordering for maps, publication, or training services. abagOnline
was recently named "Best of the Web" by the San
Francisco Chronicle for city and government sites, citing
its role as a gateway to information on planning, economy, transit,
earthquakes, environment, and more. abagOnline can be viewed
Throughout its history, ABAG has explored better
ways to share its wealth of information to its members and communities.
Improving technologies have given ABAG a multimedia approach
to communication-ABAG publication, reports, and current trends
and analyzes are published in hard copy format and are available
on the website. ABAG generates public information connections
and oversees high-impact dissemination through the Internet,
conferences, videos, CD-ROMs, broadcast media, and printed publications.