Proposition 68 – the Clean Water and Safe Parks Act on the June 5 statewide ballot – allocates $10 million for the Lower American River, its tributaries and the Parkway.
Proposition 68 authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bands that invest in coming years to address some of California’s most important water, park and natural resources needs.
Save the American River Association worked with a coalition of organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce, to develop the Act. It had strong bipartisan support as it went through the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Most lawmakers recognized that California faces growing challenges to our water supplies and natural resources. A changing climate has put our water supplies more and more in jeopardy as we face increasingly intense wildfires, droughts and floods. Much of the state’s aging water infrastructure is in poor repair and there have been limited expenditures in recent years to maintain parks and restore natural resources.
Among the priorities for Proposition 68 funds are:
- Protection of natural areas, including funding for state conservancies, protection of rivers, lakes and streams, and funds for fish and wildlife habitat.
- Projects to clean up and protect drinking water, local water capture and recycling.
- Helping communities that lack clean water.
- Restoring groundwater reserves and groundwater cleanup.
Preparing for the next drought.
- Improving the safety and quality of our state and neighborhood parks.
- Establishing and upgrading neighborhood parks in areas that currently are underserved.
- Wildfire and flood protection, including watershed protection in the upper Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountain Ranges.
- Forest restoration and fire protection.
- Creation of open green space.
Projects on farms and ranches that sequester carbon, improve habitat, reduce development pressures, and increase water retention and absorption.
- Protection and increased access to the coast.
- Community conservation projects.
The American River funds would be administered by the Lower American River Conservancy program. Grants would be available to improve access to the Parkway and River, improve and expand trails, restore habitat and creek diversions, remove invasive plants and protect natural areas where fish spawn and wildlife live.
The Lower American River Conservancy program was created in 2016 by legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Kevin McCarty and Ken Cooley, and Senator Richard Pan. It extends 22 miles from Nimbus Dam to the Lower American’s confluence with the Sacramento River. An advisory committee composed of local-elected officials, representatives of state agencies and three public members will review applications for funding.
The Act also would provide funding for eight other conservancies including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
The Act prohibits the use of funds for design, construction or maintenance of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta conveyance facilities.
For more information, go to yes68ca.com