Bonds pass in state capitol, Sierra Nevada and other Conservancies left out.

Sacramento, CA —

On Friday May 5, the California State Legislature adopted a slate of four bond measures to place on the November ballot. The $37.3 billion infrastructure bond package passed Friday morning has four components: Transportation (SB 1266), $ 19.925 billion; Housing (SB 1689), $ 2.850 billion; Education (AB 127), $ 10.416 billion; and Flood Protection (AB 140) $ 4.09 billion.

None of the state Conservancies were included by name in any of these bonds. In addition, most of the bonds have very little connection to natural resource protection.

In the “Flood Bond” (AB 140), which provides $4 billion for infrastructure improvements there are two sections where resources funding may be available through Department of Water Resources:

Flood Protection Corridors:

(a) Acquiring easements and other interests in real property to protect or enhance flood protection corridors and bypasses while preserving or enhancing the agricultural use of the real property.

e) Acquiring interests in, or providing incentives for maintaining agricultural uses of, real property that is located in a flood plain that cannot reasonably be made safe from future flooding.

(f) Acquiring easements and other interests in real property to protect or enhance flood protection corridors while preserving or enhancing the wildlife value of the real property.

Stormwater Flood Management: There is $300 million in this category, for which all projects must meet the following criteria: There is $290 million in this category, of which three are resource related:

(a) Have a nonstate cost share of not less than 50 percent.

(b) Are not part of the State Plan of Flood Control.

(c) Are designed to manage stormwater runoff to reduce flood damage and where feasible, provide other benefits, including groundwater recharge, water quality improvement, and ecosystem restoration.

(d) Comply with applicable regional water quality control plans.

(e) Are consistent with any applicable integrated regional water management plan.

In the “Housing Bond” (SB 1689) totaling $2.8 Billion there is one area of “Infill Incentives” that will invest $850 million in infill housing other related infill development, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(A) No more than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) for park creation, development, or rehabilitation to encourage infill development.

(B) Water, sewer, or other public infrastructure costs associated with infill development.

(C) Transportation improvements related to infill development projects.

(D) Traffic mitigation.

There is also two hundred million dollars for housing-related parks grants in urban, suburban, and rural areas, subject to the conditions and criteria that the Legislature may provide in statute.

Thank you to Rachel Dinno at the Trust for Public Land for her help with this article.