Governor’s Proposed Budget Includes Funding for Climate Resilience

  • by ACWA Staff
  • Jan 11, 2021
  • Water News

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Jan. 8 released his proposed 2021-’22 State Budget that includes a priority for funding climate resilience, including categories of special interest to ACWA members such as improved forest health, restoration of ecosystems, sustainable groundwater management and safe drinking water.

The $227 billion budget proposal focuses on several state priorities, including funding for economic recovery, education, health care, housing and immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts. It does not include a climate resilience bond, as the governor included with last year’s budget proposal but was sidelined due to COVID-19 priorities.

Wildfire and Forest Resilience

Following the most destructive wildfire season in California’s recorded history, the budget includes $1 billion for wildfire and forest resilience. It’s proposed that $323 million of the total be spent during the current fiscal year.

Funding in this area closely aligns with “California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan,” which was released the same day and aims to reduce wildfire risk for vulnerable communities, improve the health of forests and wildlands and accelerate action to combat climate change. The proposed budget is divided into five main categories:

  • Resilient forests and landscapes, including thinning, prescribed fire and watershed health ($512 million)
  • Wildfire fuel breaks ($335 million)
  • Community hardening ($38 million)
  • Science-based management, including long-term forest health and restoration ($39 million)
  • Forest sector economic stimulus ($76 million)

Natural and Working Lands

Building on Executive Order N-82-20 to conserve 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030, funding areas are:

  • Restoration of natural areas and ecosystems ($248 million)
  • Multi-benefit water quality, supply, and watershed protection restoration projects from Proposition 68 funding, including funding for implementation of the Voluntary Agreements ($125 million)
  • Multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protections and restoration, including Lower American River Conservancy Program, Pacific Flyway Program, wildlife/fish passage programs ($79.9 million)
  • Flood Management ($183 million)
  • Department of Water Resources (DWR) Delta Levees System Integrity Program ($81 million)
  • Flood risk reduction in American River Commons Features Project ($67 million)
  • DWR to support collaborative flood risk management ($28.5 million)
  • DWR to support flood response in the Delta ($6.5 million)
  • Coastal Protection ($65 million)
  • Projects to improve coastal and marine ecosystem health ($6.5 million)

Natural Resources Agency

DWR

  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Act grants program ($60 million)
  • Critical levee repair projects ($75 million)
  • Delta Resilience ($43.7 million)

Fish and Wildlife

  • Modernize water conveyance systems into managed wetlands ($9.8 million)

California Environmental Protection Agency

  • Safe and affordable drinking water program under State Water Resources Control Board ($130 million)

 

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