On June 27, the Legislature passed SB 102 and SB 103. Due to the efforts of the Power in Nature Coalition partners, Sierra Nevada 30×30 and Sierra Nevada Alliance members, the Sierra Consortium, and many other organizations and coalitions throughout the State, we were successful in restoring a number of critical budget cuts. While the Governor proposed to cut many of the programs important to the 30×30 initiative, the final budget negotiated between the Legislature and the Governor included important restored funding. The Legislature really worked hard to restore key funding for 30×30 and natural resources priorities.
This is a big win and a direct reflection of the advocacy efforts at the local level, in Sacramento, during our Protect California Day and our Sierra Day at the Capitol, and to all the signatures we were able to collect for the budget letters set forth by Power in Nature and Sierra Consortium. Without these coordinated efforts, we don’t believe we would have seen as much funding restored.
For the Sierra Nevada region, we were able to restore the following critical funding in this year’s budget:
Land Conservation / Restoration / Water Resilience
- Restores $32 million General Fund to the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). Of this funding, $16 million will be restored for the Cascades and High Sierra Upper Watersheds Program and $16 million for the Land Acquisition and Habitat Enhancement Program for purposes of water resiliency. This is one of our biggest wins, and it will bring much-needed funding to critical projects for the region. An additional $12 million is restored in the current year’s budget, split evenly between the two programs. However, while $44 million is significant funding, the original budget agreement included $158 million for these two programs – so more advocacy is needed here and will be especially important during the climate bond negotiations. In addition, the $35 million additional 30×30 funds to WCB were cut, leaving $64 million to WCB for 30×30 for this coming fiscal year.
- Fully restores $6 million General Fund to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for Natural Community Conservation Program planning and land acquisition. This means that CDFW has $36 million for NCCP efforts.
Investments in Science
- Fully restores $20 million General Fund to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for fine-scale vegetation mapping. This $20 million is in addition to the $20 million secured in last year’s budget. This is great news, as the next phase of CDFW fine-scale vegetation mapping will largely focus on the Sierra Nevada region.
- Restores $5 million for monitoring and research at CalFIRE. This means that CalFIRE’s vegetation monitoring program has no cuts this year.
- Provides $9.5 million General Fund to OPC for an Intertidal Biodiversity DNA Barcode Library.
Extreme Heat / Climate Resilience
- Restores $25 million to the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) for purposes of regional climate resilience.
- Restores $35.085 million for the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program at the Office of Planning and Research with budget bill language on reporting.
Outdoor Access / Workforce Development
- Provides $10 million General Fund to CNRA for the Recreational Trails and Greenways Program.
- Restores $54 million to the Department of Parks and Recreation for the Statewide Parks Program
- Restores $23.5 million General Fund to the California Conservation Corps for local conservation corps.
While we were successful in the above categories, funding was still reduced for the various conservancies’ 30×30 efforts, WCB, and the Department of Conservation’s Climate Smart Lands Program. Together with our State and local partners, we will continue to advocate to secure additional funds in a Climate and Natural Resources Bond.
The Department of Finance’s annual summary of the enacted state budget is now online here following Governor Newsom’s approval of key budget legislation. A press release from the Governor’s Office here lists budget, trailer, and other bills signed by the Governor into law on July 10th, 2023.