An Opportunity to Invest in the Future

There are currently two 2018 ballot initiatives that would support California’s efforts to mitigate and respond to climate change: Proposition 68 (approved by the Legislature and Governor as SB 5 and on the June 5th ballot), and a citizen initiative referred to at this time as the “Water Supply and Water Quality Bond Act of 2018 (slated for the November ballot). Combined, the bonds will designate $492 million directly to the Sierra Nevada along with millions more available through statewide competitive grant programs. Check out our $492 Million for a Resilient Sierra fact sheet to see how these bonds directly relate to the Sierra/Cascade region. 

Proposition 68 - Parks and Water Bond

Proposition 68, or the California Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, is the first comprehensive natural resources bond to pass the Legislature in over 15 years. Prop 68 will invest $4 billion in the coming years to address some of California’s most important water, park, and natural resource needs. It is on the June 5 statewide primary ballot as a general obligation bond with bipartisan support. The significance of this bond could not come at a more crucial time in the Sierra. This bond has more funding for conservation and natural resource protection in the Sierra/Cascade region than any previous legislative bond measure. To see how this bond will benefit the state’s parks, natural resources, and water, please visit the campaign’s website at www.yes68ca.com.

Sierra/Cascade Allocations

$142 million of Prop 68’s funds are dedicated specifically to the Sierra/Cascade Region for the following purposes, which would enhance the resilience of the region’s natural resources, to be distributed through local grant programs.

  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy is allocated $30 million for projects consistent with its mission.
  • California Tahoe Conservancy is allocated $27 million for projects consistent with its mission.
  • Wildlife Conservation Board is allocated $60 million to protect, restore and improve upper watershed lands, including projects that reduce wildfire risk and improve water resources in Sierra/Cascade watersheds. 

Additional Climate Change Allocations

In addition to the $142 million allocated directly to the Sierra-Cascade region, Proposition 68 contains $535 million to help California mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, which Sierra communities would be eligible to apply for via statewide competitive grant programs.

  • $443 million for climate adaptation and resiliency projects throughout the state. At least $25 million is available specifically for rural areas including the Sierra/Cascade.
  • $25 million for the CA Department of Parks and Recreation. The Sierra/Cascade has 29 state parks.
  • $10 million for the University of California Natural Resource System for research facilities to improve the management of natural lands, preserve wildlife and further research related to climate change.  

The Citizen Initiative Water Bond

The Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018 is a citizen initiative water bond that will appear on the November 2018 statewide California ballot. It will invest $8.877 billion dollars in California water infrastructure, including key categories like safe drinking water, Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGMA) implementation, watershed restoration, fish and wildlife habitat conservation, infrastructure repair, and many other important water management programs.  The bond will benefit individual water users, the environment, and agriculture, and subsequently has received support from conservation, agricultural, environmental justice, water and civic organizations. It is a balanced water bond measure, resulting in improved water supplies for every part of the state, and provides some of the much-needed investment in California’s sustainable water future. More info and the text of the bond can be found on the campaign’s website at www.waterbond.org.  

Sierra/Cascade Allocations

There is $350 million dedicated to the Sierra/Cascade region that would enhance the resilience of the region’s natural resources, to be distributed through local grant programs.

  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy is allocated $250 million for watershed and forest health improvement, including wildfire risk reduction projects.
  • California Tahoe Conservancy is allocated $100 million for implementation of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP).

Additional Climate Change Allocations

The Water Bond contains $995 million for projects directed to achieve climate change cobenefits. In addition to $350 million dedicated solely to the Sierra/Cascade of the $995 million, the following would be eligible to Sierra/Cascade communities:

  • $25 million is dedicated to the University of California Natural Reserve System to advance research on the impacts of climate change.
  • $650 million of groundwater sustainability funds are subject to climate change impact assessments and demonstration of climate change methodology in floodwater and drinking water management.

A Turning Point for the Sierra Nevada

If approved by the voters on June 5 and November 6, Proposition 68 and the Water Bond combined have the potential to substantially increase the pace and scale of forest and watershed restoration in the region. Almost $1 billion of the two bonds’ combined funding would be available for regional and local climate resilience efforts. For more information, download our policy memo $492 Million for a Resilient Sierra