RELEASE; Bill to Establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program Advances - Watershed Protection for Now & the Future
SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) is carrying Assembly Bill 933, which will establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program within the Department of Conservation to provide funding for Watershed Coordinators to develop and implement watershed improvement plans. AB 933 passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee today, July 9, 2019, on a 7-1 vote.
“Despite the proven success of the Watershed Coordinator Program, it has received very limited funding for several years,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “During this period of climate change, it is imperative that we invest in our diverse ecosystems throughout our state and ensure they are managed effectively for years to come.”
California’s watersheds occupy a variety of unique geographical areas in the state, including urban, agricultural and forested lands. These watershed systems provide countless benefits for the state’s residents and serve as a critical habitat for thousands of species. With the state’s watersheds differing greatly, tailored approaches are essential to successful management.
Between 2000 and 2014, the state invested $92 million in community-based watershed management efforts to hire watershed coordinators to develop and implement geographically specific watershed improvement plans, build local partnerships, and leverage local funding sources in order to promote watershed health. These watershed coordinators were uniquely successful in building local support, and according to the Department of Conservation, they generated on average three dollars from federal and philanthropic sources for every one dollar invested.
By establishing the Ecosystem Resilience Program at the Department of Conservation, AB 933 will help ensure critical funding for holistic and effective management of California’s diverse watersheds.
What Supporters are Saying:
Michael Wellborn, President of California Watershed Network: "AB 933 will help ensure the continued benefits of watershed coordinator efforts throughout California. Community-based watershed management planning builds local awareness and support for sustaining healthy environments while also leveraging funding sources for increased benefits."
Joshua Bradt, Executive Director of California Urban Stream Partnerships: "AB 933 will help empower the public to better direct local stream, fish, and wildlife habitat restoration, adapt to climate change impacts, and manage flooding and stormwater needs at a watershed level."