Archive for October, 2015

Proposition 1

On November 4th, 2014, with a 67% majority, California voters passed Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Act. Prop 1, sometimes referred to as the Water Bond, authorizes $7.12 billion for a range of water related improvements around the state. This act replaces Proposition 43 which was an $11 billion dollar water bond act that was deemed to be too large, unfocused, and inefficient. The trimmed down Prop 1 has specific amounts of money designated for  improvements that include reducing and preventing drinking water contamination, increasing water storage ability in the state such as dams and reservoirs, advancing technology of water recycling and treatment plants,  prevent contamination of groundwater or clean up groundwater that is already contaminated, flood management and protection projects, development of regional water plans, and $1.495 billion for “competitive grants for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects.” That $1.495 billion is where I am coming in! I will soon be starting to work for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy (their website is at: http://deltaconservancy.ca.gov/). This state organization has several major areas of emphasis, one of which is to distribute $50 million of those restoration dollars over the next 5 years. We are soliciting grants for restoration work in the delta that will improve habitat area, habitat quality, water quality, etc. I will write more about the Delta Conservancy and my new job in a future post, so stay tuned, but back to Prop 1.

Some of the major changes that Prop 1 calls for are increases in the states ability to store water. Water storage in reservoirs and also as groundwater. With the on-going drought, our ability to hang on to what water does fall is becoming ever more important. Additionally, as climate continues to change California is likely to see more of its precipitation in the form of rain, not snow, even in winter. That means that large snow packs that release their water gradually as the snow melts will be replaced by rain that immediately begins to flow down stream. This make the whole water system more ‘flashy’ meaning there are more flask flooding events follow by periods of time with no water. In a more flashy system, storing the water that drops in those major rain events is even more important because if we miss that water, it will flow down into the ocean and getting fresh water out of salt water is still really expensive.

Another major theme of Prop 1 is in habitat restoration. In an effort to lessen the effects of global sea level rise, increasing the amount of tidal marsh habitat is really important. When large storms blow in off the Pacific, they cause storm surges. If there is no tidal habitat, those storm surges hit directly onto land flooding agricultural areas, increasing erosion rates, and damaging any structures in their way. if the coast does have a wide margin of tidal marsh habitat, the energy of the storm surge is absorbed by the plants and land and the speed of the incoming water is reduced. This means that less erosion takes place and the water does not reach very far inland. Not to mention that by increasing habitat area and quality, Prop 1 money will be helping to protect many threatened, endangered, and beautiful, amazing species!

So, as I hope you can see, there is a lot to Proposition 1, and several aspects have some pretty important and potentially far-reaching effects. I am really excited to working with some of these projects.

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