California Special Districts


Airport Districts

Airport Districts were established by forward-thinking pioneers who decided to install and maintain modest airstrips in unassuming rural communities to link these remote areas in California with the outside world.

Today, these modest airstrips have developed into a series of runways and airfields that fuel tourism, provide jobs, and enhance the lives of their surrounding communities.

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Cemetery Districts

For over 150 years, Cemetery Districts have provided millions of Californians with cost-effective burial services and historical ties to their communities. Each Cemetery District focuses on celebrating the memory of people dear to those who still reside in the communities.

Cemetery Districts provide visitors with historical information about their communities and the early development of California.

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Community Services Districts

For over 65 years Community Services Districts, or CSDs, have served the local needs of towns and regions throughout California. CSDs offer a venue for community representation, as well as the ability to focus on a limited number of services outside of a fully incorporated city.

Community Services Districts can offer their residents over 30 different types of crucial services, such as police protection, garbage removal, road maintenance and street lighting.

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Fire Protection Districts

Fire Protection Districts provide a quality emergency response, fire prevention, public education, and many other services that keep families safe and protect homes, business and the environment from destruction.

Through community outreach and education, Fire Protection Districts teach thousands of children and adults how to keep their neighbors and families safe and healthy.

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Harbor and Port Districts

Since 1931, Harbor and Port Districts have cultivated recreation, economic and environmental success in coastal communities up and down the state.

Harbor and Port Districts supply the economy by providing efficient sea, road, and rail connections for private and public use in addition to providing their communities with thousands of trade-related jobs.

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Library Districts

There are 13 Library Districts across the state that are committed to providing quality access to educational and informational resources along with quality programs that bring residents together. 

In addition to books, Library Districts provide millions of other resources such as photographs, newspapers, videos, and audio recordings. Library Districts preserve local history through a variety of materials that reflect the heritage and unique history of communities throughout the state. Many Library Districts provide their communities reduced or free internet access for educational as well as recreational purposes. They also offer community meeting spaces and instructional opportunities.

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Healthcare Districts

For nearly 70 years, Healthcare Districts have promoted the physical and mental health of our communities. Healthcare Districts can build and operate full-service hospitals, but they have also become specialists in community-care programs and meeting the needs of the 21st century, such as preventative medicine, senior care, and nutrition services.

District hospitals make up 27 of California’s 62 rural hospitals and 19 of the 34 critical access hospitals. Each Healthcare District is unique, focusing on the specific needs of their residents, and often partnering with community-based non-profits to leverage private funding and expertise.

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Irrigation Districts

Since 1887, Irrigation Districts have provided vital water resources as well as electric power to rural residents and businesses throughout the state.
The first irrigation district was formed to provide water and power in a region that was seasonally dry, but now bears a variety of crops essentially year-round.

Irrigation Districts provide safe, affordable, and reliable water and electric services. For much of our state, they build and maintain the infrastructure that California’s agricultural economic engine depends on to feed the world and employ thousands of people.

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Mosquito and Pest Abatement Districts

In 1904 and 1905, the overwhelming impact of salt marsh mosquitoes on residents and workers around the San Francisco Bay marshlands in San Rafael and in Burlingame lead to the first recorded mosquito control efforts in California.

Today, over 50 Mosquito and Pest Abatement Districts protect the health of communities throughout the state through their efforts to reduce the threat of vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, yellow fever and malaria.

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Resource Conservation Districts

The catastrophic soil losses of the dust bowl sparked national and state recognition that soil erosion was the greatest challenge to the country’s ability to feed its people and be a leader in agricultural production. Non-regulatory Conservation Districts were conceived by the federal government and were later sanctioned by the State of California in 1938 to provide assistance to local managers in addressing soil and resource conservation challenges.

Resource Conservation Districts are one of California’s earliest grassroots organizations to identify local conservation needs and support local land managers in implementing specialized solutions.

Resource Conservation districts engage in a range of education and outreach programs designed to promote the public’s interest and understanding of the environment and wildlife around them.

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Sanitation Districts

For nearly 100 years, Sanitation Districts have protected communities and the environment through recycling, conservation, and public health education.

Sanitation Districts serve as stewards of the environment by treating and recycling wastewater after removing contaminants that would otherwise threaten the safety of California’s ground and surface water supplies. In many communities, they also remove and recycle garbage from homes and businesses.

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Recreation and Park Districts

Through local partnerships and community involvement, Recreation and Park Districts are able to provide millions of Californians with quality programs and activities that vastly improve their quality of life. Recreation and Park Districts operate and maintain park spaces and local facilities, such as gyms, community swimming pools, and equestrian centers. They also maintain thousands of miles of trails and paths.

Each Recreation and Park District is able to identify and meet the specific needs for diverse communities. Through local collaboration, these districts are able to provide services for kids, adults, seniors, and community members with developmental and physical disabilities.

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Reclamation and Levee Districts

Since 1867, Reclamation and Levee Districts have protected the lives and property of millions of Californians. In an effort to mitigate the risks of flooding, Reclamation and Levee Districts were formed to protect local landowners and their communities.

Reclamation and Levee Districts are responsible for managing and maintaining levees, fresh water channels, pumps, and other flood protection structures throughout the state.

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Water Districts

Water Districts are dedicated to ensuring a safe, reliable and affordable water supply so that all Californians may have access to clean water for years to come.

These districts are on the front lines of the drought and have implemented a variety of measures to help California conserve water, such as creating programs to encourage drought resistant lawns, educating the public to reduce water usage and developing innovative infrastructure solutions.

In addition to water delivery, storage and conservation services, Water Districts provide crucial hydroelectric power, fire protection and wastewater services in some communities.

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Veterans Memorial Districts

Veterans Memorial Districts are dedicated to the memory of all who proudly served and protected our country. Through facilities and support programs, Veterans Memorial Districts promote a legacy of service and strengthen the bonds of our communities.

Each Veterans Memorial District focuses on the local veterans needs in its unique community, adapting to the diversity of veterans needs in our state.

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Utility Districts

Utility Districts provide a variety of essential local services that make our communities run. These districts supply light, water, power, heat, transportation, telephone and other communication services. They can also collect, treat, and recycle garbage and sewer.

Unlike investor-owned utilities, Utility Districts are owned and governed by the communities they serve. As public agencies with elected boards, Utility Districts are accountable to the public and responsible for delivering high quality services to homes and businesses. As such, they are leaders in developing community programs and driving the push for renewable and sustainable energy production.

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Transit Districts

Transit Districts keep communities connected through transportation programs and projects that expand access and improve mobility to foster a vibrant California. Transit Districts are committed to providing communities with safe, responsive, efficient, and innovative methods of transportation for all residents.

Transit Districts also contribute to meeting California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals by reducing the number of cars on the roads and developing clean transportation options such as natural gas powered buses and electric light rail lines.

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