Governor unveils proposed 2008/2009 budget

Governor unveils proposed 2008/2009 budget

Analysis by The Sierra Fund

Sacramento, CA  January 10, 2008 — 

Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled his proposed budget for 2008/09 to an audience of statewide leaders facing an enormous budget deficit and a troubled economy.  The budget includes serious cuts to parks, fish and game, and other conservation agencies, but the Sierra Nevada Conservancy was spared.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy budget proposal includes $4.7 million for staff and program, and another $17 million for grant programs from “Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Fund of 2006” (Proposition 84) funds.  The Conservancy’s total allocation of $21.7 million is a slight increase over the 2007/08 budget approved last year. 

In other highlights:

Department of Parks:  The budget takes $8.883 million and 117.8 positions from the field units of the state park system. This reduction will close 48 state parks of the 278 existing parks and reduce seasonal lifeguards at state beaches in Orange, San Diego and Santa Cruz Counties by a minimum of 50 percent.  It cuts $4.439 million and 11.4 positions from the administrative and managerial support functions of the department.

Sierra state parks slated for closure include Malakoff Diggins in Nevada County, Plumas Eureka in Plumas County, and Wasssama Roundhouse in Madera County.  For a complete map of the parks proposed for closure, click on this link:

http://govbud.dof.ca.gov/BudgetSummary/ImagePages/FG-RES-01.html

River Parkways Grant Program: The budget provides $28.6 million from Proposition 84 for the River Parkways Program of the Resources Agency. The program funds projects that provide public access to river parkways, provide recreational opportunities along rivers, protect habitat, maintain open-space character of lands along rivers, and/or other conservation activities.

CALFED Science Program:  The budget provides $26.4 million from Proposition 50 for the CALFED Science Program of the Resources Agency. The Science Program is designed to establish an unbiased, relevant, and authoritative body of knowledge relevant to CALFED actions and their implications.

Tahoe Conservancy:  Tahoe was awarded $5.7 million for administration and their overall water quality programs, plus an additional $8.183  million from various funds for capital outlay or local assistance projects to continue the state’s efforts to support the Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) for the Lake Tahoe Basin. Their total proposed budget for 2008/09 is $13,896 million.

Watershed Grant Coordinator Program: The budget includes $2.1 million from Proposition 84 which will fund grants for the Watershed Grant Coordinator Program of the Department of Conservation.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG):  The budget includes $1 million General Fund to conduct a court-ordered environmental review of the Department of Fish and Game’s Suction Dredge program and mining regulations.  It also includes $21 million from Proposition 84 funds and 16.1 positions to continue activities to protect the water quality in the Bay Delta region.  Overall, the proposed DFG budget includes General Fund reductions of $1.7 million in 2007-08 and $8.4 million and 59.9 positions in 2008-09.

Wildlife Conservation Board:  The budget includes $25 million from Proposition 84 funds for grants to local agencies to develop Natural Communities Conservation Plans and $20.7 million to the Habitat Conservation Fund for habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement projects.

Department of Water Resources:  The budget provides $452 million from Propositions 84 and 1E, and 12.3 positions for projects to protect communities from drought, protect and improve water quality, improve storm water management, and reduce dependence on imported water.  This funding includes $419.5 million for local assistance grants and $32.5 million for state operations for grant administration, technical assistance, and improving systems for collection and dissemination of water quality and groundwater monitoring data.

(Source:  Governor’s budget website: http://govbud.dof.ca.gov/)

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