The Sierra Fund's Wish List for the Governor's Budget

Nevada City, CA —

Passage of Proposition 84 and other bond measures with billions for the environment has certainly made visions of dollars for Sierra conservation projects dance in our heads! The Sierra Fund has developed a wish list that we call our “Integrated Sierra Investment Strategy” for investing some of these funds in our region. Highlights include:

* Appropriation of a significant piece of the $54 million in bonds (from Proposition 84) for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, to be used for the protection and restoration of rivers, lakes and streams, their watersheds and associated land, water, and other natural resources in the region, and in addition ask that the Secretary authorize $10 million to Department of Conservation for the Watershed Coordinator Grant Program suggested in Proposition 84.

* Identify significant portions of the billions in water quality and water planning funding appropriated to Department of Water Resources (DWR) by Propositions 84 and 1E for the upper watersheds of the Sierra, the major source of California's developed water supply. Ensure that some of the flood plain mapping, stormwater management, watershed improvement, water quality and climate change impact funds go to the Sierra.

* Work closely with the Wildlife Conservation Board to develop Sierra-oriented programs with some of the $450 million in bond funds that Proposition 84 continuously appropriates to it for wildlife and forestry projects – especially targeting funds for ranches, farms and oak woodlands

There are also funds in some of the “infrastructure bonds,” such as housing (Proposition 1C) and transportation (Proposition 1B), that could be used to implement the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s strategic plan, including potential park projects and smart growth planning.

In early December, The Sierra Fund arranged a series of meetings with key decision makers for Sierra advocates to present our strategy for investing the new bond funds. Using our newly developed ISIS strategy document and The Sierra Fund's Sierra Nevada Sample Conservation Projects report, leaders from the Sierra Nevada Alliance joined Elizabeth “Izzy “Martin of The Sierra Fund in meeting with members of the administration and legislative budget staff to talk about specific investments in the Sierra.

We are waiting to see what the Governor proposes in his budget on January 10, 2007 – and will let you know as soon as we find out!