If you’ve been following our work over the last few years, you’ve likely heard about our effort to secure long-term funding for Bay wetlands restoration. You may have even heard that the effort is gaining momentum and a measure will be on the June 2016 ballot. But what do you know about the Measure AA itself? And how will it impact the Bay?
Let’s break it down by the numbers:
36,000: Number of acres of wetlands sitting in public hands and awaiting funding for restoration. Scientists say that we need 100,000 acres of restored tidal marsh and flatland around the Bay in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. Today we have only 44,000 acres of restored wetlands. That’s down from 190,000 acres back in 1850. So if we can pass this measure to fund the restoration of those 36,000 acres and perhaps even more, we will be that much closer to the 100,000 marker.
$12: The amount of the parcel tax, per year, that the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority is considering for the June ballot. The tax will fund wetlands restoration activities all around the Bay, including protecting and enhancing habitat, maintaining critical levees that provide habitat and public recreation, and installing critical trash collection facilities near the mouths of creeks that drain into the Bay. That’s only $1 per month to help keep the Bay healthy for future generations to enjoy.
$500 million: The amount of money the tax will bring in over 20 years. That’s $25 million every year. Here is a startling comparison for you: Every year, certain regions of the country receive significant federal funding for restoration activities. In 2014, Puget Sound received $25 million. The Chesapeake Bay received $100 million. The Great Lakes received $300 million. San Francisco Bay? $5 million. That sad fact is one reason why we are reliant on a stream of local and regional funding and why this parcel tax is necessary to help fund restoration activities.
66.6%: Percentage of voters in all nine Bay Area counties – San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, and Marin – that need to support the measure in order for it to pass. It can fail in any one or more counties as long as the cumulative support is two-thirds, or 66.6%.
55: Inches of sea level rise – more than four feet – that scientists predict for the Bay Area by 2100. That would threaten 89 schools and healthcare facilities, 1780 miles of roads and highways, and 270,000 renters and homeowners who live along the immediate shoreline. Such a rise in sea level would also destroy more than 3,000 acres of wetland habitat. That is unless, of course, we improve our infrastructure and sea level rise adaptation efforts. Wetlands restoration can serve that purpose, providing a natural, cost-effective solution to rising tides by accumulating sediment over time and acting as a buffer against flooding and storm surge.
That’s Measure AA in a nutshell. For just $1 a month, we can act to restore the Bay and make sure it’s clean and resilient for future generations.