Sacramento — In the first two weeks of 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators have proposed historic new investments to protect and restore the Sierra Nevada. The Governor's proposed budget includes over $15 million in new funds for the region, and a new bipartisan Assembly Bill calls for a Sierra Nevada License Plate that will generate a steady stream of conservation funds.
The stage was set last year with the successful passage of a Sierra Nevada Conservancy, created through bipartisan legislation by Assemblymembers Tim Leslie (R-Tahoe City) and John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). Governor Schwarzenegger signed the legislation on September 23, and it has since become a cornerstone success of his first year in office.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is the largest conservation effort of its kind in the United States, covering more than 25 million acres and protecting 65 percent of California's water supply.
On Monday, Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled a proposed budget that includes $3.6 million in start-up funds for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and $11.7 million from Proposition 50 for the protection of water quality in the region. The budget includes funding for 13 staff positions.
“The Governor is fulfilling his promise to the people of California to protect the land and water resources of the Sierra,” said Elizabeth Martin of The Sierra Fund.
In the state legislature, Assemblymembers Tim Leslie and John Laird have once again teamed up as bipartisan co-authors of Assembly Bill 84, which will create a Sierra Nevada License Plate and generate more than $1 million annually for the Conservancy.
“Ensuring the environmental and economic sustainability of the Sierra Nevada is a bipartisan issue in which all Californians can agree,” said Shawn Garvey of The Sierra Fund. “Sierrans are proud of the leadership from Assemblyman Leslie on this issue.”
The Sierra Fund is the sponsor of last year's successful legislation creating the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and this year's Sierra Nevada License Plate bill. For more information, go to www.sierraconservancy.org.