Reaching for the stars!

Monday, November 13, 2017 - 11:45am

Two potential 2018 California ballot initiatives might provide millions in funding to natural resource protection in the Sierra-Cascade region: SB 5 (on the ballot in June 2018) and an additional citizen initiative that will be on the November 2018 ballot (assuming it qualifies in the next six months.)

These initiatives constitute a once-in-a-decade opportunity that could give conservation organizations across the Sierra secure major new resource funding. Over the long term, they will serve as a vehicle for public and private engagement with critical land use and resource protection issues in the region, especially those that are being ignored or, even worse, rolled back by state or federal government actions.

We asked our friends at Sierra Business Council to give us the background on these initiatives to share with our conservation-minded Land Trust supporters.

SB 5: The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018

Our California state representatives crafted a $4.1 billion park and water bond proposal, the first park bond passed by the Legislature in fifteen years. It has more funding for conservation and natural resource protection in the Sierra/Cascade region than any previous legislative bond measure. But the voters still need to approve it next November.

Proposed funding earmarked for the Sierra/Cascade:

  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy: $30 million
  • California Tahoe Conservancy: $27 million
  • Wildlife Conservation Board: $60 million

That is 1.5 times the amount the Sierra received in Prop 84 (2006 resource bond) and more than 3 times the amount in Prop 1 (2014 water bond)!

Citizen Initiative: Water Supply and Water Quality Bond Act of 2018

This measure is sponsored by conservation, agricultural, water and civic organizations. Backers are seeking the requisite number of valid voter signatures by the March 19, 2018 to qualify this initiative for the November ballot. If successful, the ballot measure will invest $8.9 billion dollars in California water infrastructure, benefitting people, the environment and agriculture in every part of the state including:

  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy: $250 million for watershed improvement and forest health/fire risk reduction
  • California Tahoe Conservancy: $100 million for watershed improvement and stormwater management

That would be almost 4 times the Sierra-focused amount in Prop 84 and almost 9 times the amount in Prop 1!

These millions of dollars are destined for projects across the entire range of the Sierra and Cascades but will benefit the Truckee Donner region tremendously where we have a long list of watershed and forestry projects needing funding. The Sierra Business Council and Truckee Donner Land Trust will keep an eye on progress toward passage during the next year.

*Photo by: Phil Mosby