Public Access Program

field of wildflowers under blue sky


Extension of the 2020 Full Application Deadline

Due to the extended pre-application review period, the full application deadline (for approved pre-applications only) is extended to August 20, 2020. Completed full applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted to and received by August 5, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. WCB strongly recommends applicants submit early to avoid any unforeseen system delays. Materials submitted after the deadline will not be accepted, reviewed, or considered for funding.


small gazebo

The Public Access Program is one of the original Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) programs established in 1947.

Initially the Public Access Program worked with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to support projects focused on the protection and development of public access areas and the promotion of hunting and fishing opportunities. This program funded construction of fishing piers, fishing ponds, boat ramps, wetlands for waterfowl, duck blinds, and development of parking lots and restrooms at CDFW-managed wildlife areas. Over time the public demand for other wildlife-oriented uses grew and expanded, including uses such as bird watching, kayaking, and hiking. The WCB's authority expanded to new partners, and broadened its program to accommodate new uses, including ADA trails, kayak "put-in" areas, interpretive signs, and bird observation shelters. Since 1949, WCB funded nearly 700 public access projects!

WCB funds can be used for minor capital outlay and local assistance grants. Funding for competitive grants will depend on fund availability. The Program typically allocates approximately one million dollars annually, but could rise or fall each year, depending on annual appropriation.

Shelter Island Boat Launch

The Shelter Island Boat Launch facility was completely demolished, and a new, larger, safer boat launch was built for $9.6 million dollars. Shelter Island provides year-round recreational fishing and boating opportunities. Approximately, 48,000 boaters use this free facility annually-- making it one of the busiest boat launches in California.

The Shelter Island Boat Launch renovation included:

  • Larger area for better maneuverability,
  • Modern, safe 10-lane boat launch,
  • Longer boarding floats,
  • Parking lot improvements,
  • ADA compliant restroom,
  • ADA parking improvements, andShelter Island Boat Launch
  • Walking and viewing platform.

The partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Board, San Diego Unified Port District, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration Act made this project possible. Anglers and boaters are  important partners in this project. Nearly $7 million reimbursement dollars came from anglers and boaters through the Sport Fish Restoration Act funds collected in the form of federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and marine fuels.


Point Isabel water entry point showing small breakwater

Accessible pathway to water

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is a popular destination for kayakers, wind surfers, paddle boarders, and dogs! It has spectacular views of San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge. The park provides great opportunities for bird watching and fishing. Point Isabel is also the designated start to the San Francisco Bay Water Trail.

With a WCB grant, East Bay Regional Parks created an accessible non-motorized launch ramp at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. This project constructed a 100-foot ADA accessible launch ramp for kayakers, wind surfers, and other non-motorized boat users. The project made improvements to the breakwater protecting boaters as they enter the water. ADA improvements include bringing ADA parking stalls up to current standards and an accessible path from the parking area to the launch area. The project also includes creation of a 3,000 square foot rigging area.



Heather McIntire
(916) 926-9585

How to Apply

The 2020 Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) is a competitive process. Applicants start the process by completing the online pre-application. The pre-application cannot be saved and must be completed in one sitting. The questions from the pre-application are available in the link opens in new windowPSN (PDF) (Appendix A). Pre applications will be reviewed and WCB will invite select applicants to submit full proposals.

All pre-applications must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on June 29, 2020.

The 2020 pre-application period is now closed.

Wildlife Conservation Board
Physical Address: 1700 9th Street, 4th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95811
Mailing Address: Wildlife Conservation Board c/o CDFW, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 445-8448 | Contact WCB