Sierra Conservancy budget slashed by Senate subcommittee – your attendance at Sierra Day in the Capitol is vital

The proposed budget for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy has had its second hearing in both the Senate and Assembly, and each house has adopted a different version of the budget. This will likely result in the Sierra Nevada Conservancy budget being sent to the “Budget Conference Committee” to work out the differences between the two versions.

The Assembly Budget Subcommittee of Natural Resources affirmed the Governor's full proposed budget of $21.6 million for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, including $17.5 million (from Proposition 84) to create a grant program for the protection and restoration of rivers, lakes and streams, their watersheds along with associated land, water, and other natural resources in the Conservancy service region. The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources, on a vote of 2 – 1, cut in half the proposed $17.5 million grant program for the Conservancy, leaving only $ 8.75 million for the program. Both the Senate and Assembly adopted budgets include $4.1 million for staff and operation of the Conservancy.

“We feel that providing only $8.75 million in bond funds to the state's largest Conservancy serving 22 counties and comprising almost a third of the state's mass — as well as the vast majority of its water resources — is like priming the engine with not enough gas to get the motor going,” notes Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund. “The Conservancy needs the full $17.5 million to implement their strategy.”

“We need leaders from the Sierra and throughout the state to join us at the Sierra Day in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 5, and let the people in the Capitol know how important the Conservancy, and the Sierra Nevada, are to the state” notes Martin. Sierra Day in the Capitol is sponsored by The Sierra Fund and the Sierra Nevada Alliance.

Next step for the budget will be for each houses' full budget committee to adopt a budget, and then each “floor” must vote for the budget. It takes a 2/3 majority vote each time to pass the budget forward. If there are differences between the Senate and Assembly versions, like the difference in the Sierra Nevada Conservancy budgets, those differences are ironed out in the Budget Conference Committee. The Conference Committee is comprised of 3 Senators and 3 Assemblymembers. This year the Conference Committee will be chaired by Assemblyman John Laird, one of the two authors of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy enabling legislation.

Under California's constitution, the final budget is supposed to be adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by June 30, 2007.

Sierra Day in the Capitol Event Details

When: Tuesday June 5, 2007 beginning at

Where: The Club Room of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street (right across the street from the Capitol) downtown Sacramento


10:30 Welcome & Orientation

Information packets distributed

10:45 Update on Sierra Resource Issues

11:15 Talking to the Legislature about the Sierra

11:45 Form Into Teams, Role Playing

12:15 Lunch ($15 donation requested)

1:00 Visits with Legislators, Staff & Administration officials

4:00 Reconvene at Church

share results, return evaluations

5:00 Reception at Cal-EPA 1001 I Street, second floor

Light refreshments & beverages

To register for the Lobby Day, please call or email Kathy Haberman at the Sierra Nevada Alliance by Tuesday May 29.

(530) 542-4546