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The Institute for Local Government (ILG) and California Special Districts Association (CSDA) recently recognized four special districts for their commitment to making California communities more sustainable and resilient.

Marin Water received a Beacon Award for Leadership in Climate Resilience and Adaptation and One Shoreline received the Beacon Award for Cross-Agency Collaboration in Climate Adaptation. Additionally, Orange County Sanitation District and Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District received honorable mentions celebrating their work in cross-agency collaboration. The agencies were recognized at CSDA’s 2023 Annual Conference & Exhibitor Showcase held August 28-31, 2023, in Monterey.

Marin Water’s Graywater Program uses a combination of incentives, education, and policy to help remove barriers for customers to conserve water. The program has resulted in 77 graywater installations and an estimated 4,413 gallons saved per year for each participating household. Marin Water’s programs have evolved to meet the community’s need and interest, leading to an increase in participation over time.

OneShoreline, or the San Mateo County Flood Control District, created the Planning Policy Guidance to Protect and Enhance Bay Shoreline Areas of San Mateo County. The Planning Policy Guidance equips jurisdictions in the county with the tools to plan for, and adapt to, sea-level rise and flooding caused by climate change. By working with twelve cities across the county, OneShoreline recognized that the impacts of climate change do not respect their jurisdictional boundaries.

“Congratulations to Marin Water and OneShoreline for receiving this year’s Beacon Awards,” said Neil McCormick, CEO of the California Special Districts Association. “The leadership in climate resilience and adaptation in Marin Water’s Graywater Program and OneShoreline’s Planning Policy Guidance is a sampling of the great work special districts do to advance environmental sustainability in their communities. We appreciate the partnership with the Institute for Local Government and for this opportunity for special districts to be included in the Beacon Program.”

Orange County Sanitation District and Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District were awarded Honorable Mentions.

  • Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) was recognized for their partnership with Orange County Water District (OCWD) on the Groundwater Replenishment System. OC San and OCWD developed an outreach program to educate the public within Orange County and beyond about wastewater purification. Through the outreach campaign, the two agencies held over 2000 presentations to the community.
  • Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCRCD) received an honorable mention for their implementation of innovation solutions to save the Western Monarch butterfly. RCRCD orchestrated a region-wide initiative that educated and involved the community in restoring habitats that shelter and feed the Western Monarch butterfly.

ILG’s Beacon Program has been in existence for over a decade and has over 170 city, county, and special district participants. ILG established the Beacon Program to provide recognition and support for California local governments that are working to build more vibrant and sustainable communities. The program honors voluntary efforts by cities, counties, and special districts that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, and adopting policies that promote sustainability. Through the Beacon Program, ILG offers guidance, training, support and recognition for implementing and documenting sustainability best practices, obtaining and analyzing energy data, and highlighting the accomplishments of local agencies.

“Moving the needle on climate change requires collaboration, creativity, and dedication,” said Erica L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Government. “The Beacon Leadership and Innovation Awards are designed to celebrate just that – local governments that are going above and beyond to implement climate programming that makes all of our communities more sustainable. Special districts play an important role in climate resilience and adaptation and their important contributions really do make a difference.”

The Leadership and Innovation Awards are new categories of Beacon Awards that were launched in 2021. They aim to celebrate local governments’ efforts to implement collaborative, inclusive and equitable climate resilience and adaptation programming. For more information about the Beacon Program and current participants, visit

About the Institute for Local Government

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is the non-profit training and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and the California Special Districts Association, which represent 1000s of local agencies across the state. ILG helps local officials and staff navigate the constantly changing landscape of their jobs by offering training, technical assistance, written resources, and facilitation services specifically designed for local agencies. From leadership to public engagement to housing and workforce, ILG helps local leaders with a wide range of issues. Visit to find out more.

About the California Special Districts Association

The California Special Districts Association (CSDA) is a 501c(6), not-for-profit association that was formed in 1969 to promote good governance and improved core local services through professional development, advocacy, and other services for all types of independent special districts. Since 1969, CSDA has been offering its members cost-efficient programs and representation at the State Capitol and boasts a membership of over 1,300 organizations throughout California. CCSDA provides education and training, insurance programs, legal advice, industry-wide litigation and public relations support, legislative advocacy, capital improvement and equipment funding, collateral design services, and, most importantly, current information that is crucial to a special district’s management and operational effectiveness. Visit to find out more.

About Marin Water

Chartered on April 25, 1912, the Marin Municipal Water District is the first municipal water district in California. Marin Water provides 100 percent locally sourced drinking water, sourced from reservoirs on Mt. Tamalpais and in west Marin, and from neighboring Sonoma County’s Russian River water system. Visit to find out more.

About OneShoreline

The San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District, known as OneShoreline, is an independent government agency working throughout San Mateo County to make the county more resilient to the climate change-related impacts of sea level rise, flooding, and coastal erosion. With start-up funding from the County and 20 incorporated cities within it, OneShoreline provides a unified vision and voice to plan for the future. Visit to find out more.