Proposition 68 Park Bond Boosts Bay Wetlands

Tidal Wetlands by Paul Crockett

In this series of 5 posts, we examine the different June ballot measures that affect San Francisco Bay

Voters in June will have a chance to vote for San Francisco Bay when they consider Proposition 68, the first statewide parks and water bond since 2006.

Prop. 68 would authorize $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental protection and restoration, water infrastructure, and flood protection.

This includes $20 million for San Francisco Bay to match funds from 2016’s regional Measure AA and accelerate restoration projects around the Bay, creating vital wildlife habitat and increasing our ability to adapt to rising seas.

In addition to matching Measure AA funds, Prop. 68 will do the following:

  • Deliver $725 million to provide more equitable access to parks. Creates and improves parks in park-poor neighborhoods, and dedicates up to 20 percent of its funds for communities with median household incomes less than 60 percent of the statewide average.
  • Invest $1.3 billion in local and state parks to ensure all Californians have safe, accessible places to play, and preserves California’s natural treasures. Focuses on new recreational opportunities for people living in underserved communities.
  • Allocate $1.6 billion to ensure the availability of clean drinking water. Secures water supplies, including support for groundwater cleanup and recharge, water recycling, pollution prevention, and flood control.
  • Provide $1.2 billion to protect and restore California’s open spaces, and make them more resilient to wildfires, floods, and drought.

Prop. 68 is endorsed by: Save The Bay Action Fund, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sierra Club, Audubon CA, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, CA State Parks Foundation, State Building and Construction Trades Council, CA Chamber of Commerce, and all of the Bay Area’s major parks advocacy and open space preservation groups.

For details on all measures affecting the Bay, read the full June voter guide from Save The Bay Action Fund.

First Measure AA Funds Start Flowing

Funds from measure AA will help accelerate Bay marsh restoration

Measure AA is accelerating Bay marsh restoration – realizing a vision Save The Bay first had more than a decade ago.

On April 11, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority voted to spend the first tax receipts from the nine-county ballot measure Bay Area voters overwhelmingly approved in June 2016. The first nine recommended project grants invest $23.5 million to restore tidal marsh habitat for wildlife around the Bay. Many of these projects also will provide trails and other public recreation, and help protect shoreline communities against flooding.

The Authority received a lot of proposals to fund restoration projects. “There was twice as much money requested as was available. There’s a lot of demand,” Save The Bay Executive Director Lewis told The Mercury News.

Scientists have told us for decades that the Bay needs at least 100,000 acres of restored tidal marsh to be healthy, after development reduced tidal marsh to only 40,000 acres. Many diked salt ponds and hay fields were acquired and protected for restoration over the last 20 years, bringing that goal within reach, and we identified the missing ingredient is sufficient public funding.

Recognizing how much local residents love the Bay, Save The Bay and other key stakeholders worked for years to create a way all of us who live here can help invest in a healthier Bay. We convinced the state legislature to create the Restoration Authority, a regional special district that could propose new funding mechanisms for the Bay. Eight years later, the Restoration Authority finally put Measure AA on the ballot, and voters agreed to pay a modest $12 annually for 20 years.

To maximize the impact of these funds, this first round of AA grants supports large and smaller restoration projects all around the Bay, including several in economically disadvantaged communities. (see the full list at www.SFBayRestore.org )

One of the most visible recommended projects is Phase 2 of the Ravenswood Pond restoration from East Palo Alto to Menlo Park. Part of the huge South Bay Salt Ponds complex, this project will convert more of the former commercial salt production ponds back into tidal wetlands. Drivers on the Dumbarton Bridge and California highway 84 have seen these huge brown areas for years, and soon that brown will begin turning green. Save The Bay worked to restore other Ravenswood sites in the past, and we will be creating transition zone habitat there with volunteers at the edge of Bedwell Bayfront Park. Read more about this project in The San Francisco Chronicle.

These grants are a major milestone in the effort to accelerate Bay restoration, but it is only the beginning. The Bay needs more funding to address the serious strain that growth and climate change are having on the Bay and Bay Area communities. There was more demand for the first AA funds than supply; matching funds will be needed from the state and federal governments to create all the wetlands needed. Proposition 68 on the June statewide ballot is the next opportunity to boost resources for the Bay, as it includes another $20 million in matching Measure AA funds.

Through Measure AA, Bay Area residents are funding the largest urban climate adaptation effort in the country, using green infrastructure to make our region more sustainable and resilient to the expected impacts from more extreme storms and rising seas. We look forward to seeing this important work progress in the coming years.

The Next Leap Forward for San Francisco Bay: Restoration Funding and Other 2018 State Legislative Priorities

With the 2018 state legislative session now underway in Sacramento, we are working hard to advance our top priorities for protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay. Our ambitious agenda is focused to achieve meaningful progress on our most important issues – from wetlands restoration funding to reducing stormwater pollution and greenhouse gas emissions – so that our Bay and Bay Area communities remain clean and healthy for future generations.

Bay Restoration Funding

Two years ago, we did what no one thought possible – we led an overwhelming majority of Bay Area voters to pass Measure AA, a $500 million investment in restoring the health of San Francisco Bay. Despite this momentous victory, Measure AA will cover only a third of the estimated cost to restore the tidal wetlands awaiting action around the Bay. It is now the state’s turn to step up and invest in San Francisco Bay restoration, ensuring that this natural treasure remains clean and healthy for future generations. Securing a significant investment in Bay restoration from the state is our top legislative priority.

Funding the full cost of restoration has long been a priority of Save The Bay, and there is more urgency than ever to get it done. As prospects for winning federal funding are currently poor, state matching funds are crucial to accelerating the pace of restoration so that the wetlands have adequate time to accrete ahead of rising sea levels that threaten to swamp them and make restoration impossible. Restoration projects can take years, and the pace of our changing climate compels us to act now.

We have a tremendous opportunity to win significant funding in 2018, working closely with our state elected officials to put together a financing package of $50 million in dedicated funding for Bay restoration projects. With a strong groundswell from you, our supporters, we are confident we can make real progress this year.

At a glance, here are our other major legislative priorities:

Bay Smart Communities: Restore Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) Funding

The Governor’s 2018-2019 Budget proposes zeroing out GGRF funding for key programs that support the establishment of Bay Smart Communities – environmentally just communities with housing and infrastructure that is ecologically sound, climate resilient, and improves access to the Bay. Urban greening, urban forestry, and climate adaptation programs play a vital role in advancing Bay Smart projects around the Bay, which produce multiple benefits like pollution reduction, water conservation, and urban open space for public recreation and public health improvement. We will work to ensure that the Legislature fully restores these funds in this year’s budget.

Keeping Trash Out of the Bay: Holding Caltrans Accountable

As cities across the region do their part to reduce the amount of trash that flows into the Bay, Caltrans is shirking its responsibility to keep litter out of our waterways. This state agency, which is responsible for maintaining California’s state roads and highways, has failed to address the trash problem in its jurisdiction, placing the burden of compliance on cities. Save The Bay is demanding the Regional Water Quality Control Board force Caltrans to comply with the Clean Water Act and clean up littered roads and install trash capture devices before the garbage piled up on its thoroughfares pollutes our Bay.

Reducing Plastic Pollution in Our Waterways

Each year during beach and river cleanups around the state, the biggest sources of trash are plastic items like cigarette butts and plastic beverage caps. If we can target the problem at its source, whether by discouraging smoking in places where cigarette butts can end up in our waterways or reducing the amount of single-use plastic straws we use, we can reduce this plastic trash that pollutes the Bay and threatens wildlife. For this reason, Save The Bay supports a package of plastics bills that would reduce source pollution keep it out of our waterways.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Committing to Renewable Energy

California has led the nation in passing aggressive climate change mitigation and clean energy policies, and we’re looking to make big progress once again in 2018. The Legislature will consider two groundbreaking bills to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and particulate emissions that pollute our Bay and threaten the health and quality of life of Bay Area residents:

  • Senate Bill 100 (de León), which would commit California to 100% renewable energy by 2045.
  • Assembly Bill 1745 (Ting), which would ban all new gas-powered cars in California after 2040.

November 2018 State Water Bond Ballot Measure

Save The Bay strongly supports the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018, a citizens’ initiative expected to be on the statewide ballot in November. The proposed bond measure includes nearly $200 million in funding for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to accelerate regional wetland restoration projects, in addition to funding for projects that improve water infrastructure, ensure reliable delivery of drinking water to underserved areas of the state, and restore critical fish and wildlife habitat. This bond would be the state’s largest investment in water infrastructure and wildlife habitat restoration projects since Proposition 1 passed in 2014. We are seeking legislative endorsements for its passage.

To read our full 2018 State Legislative Agenda, click here.

 

 

 

 

Wetland Restoration is working. Here’s how.

From our friends at San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, these videos show how wetland restoration is working throughout the Bay Area. 

Check out the videos and take action to support wetland restoration projects near you.

Wetland Restoration is Working, Video Short # 1 – Heron’s Head Park

Wetland Restoration is Working, Video Short # 2 – San Pablo Bay

Remembering Margaret Miller

Margaret

Margaret Miller joined Save The Bay in 2014. We don’t know one person lucky enough to work with Margaret who was not touched by her kindness, humor and the ever-present sparkle in her eye. Margaret was deeply passionate about saving the Bay and inspired others to do so through her incredible talent as a writer. We invite you to read her family’s loving tribute below and join us in remembering her.

MARGARET MILLER
SEPTEMBER 1963 – JANUARY 2017

Margaret Alexis Miller died too soon on January 10, 2017, at her home in Berkeley, California. She was 53 years old.

Deep adventure, curiosity, generosity and empathy were at the heart of Margaret. She was born September 29, 1963, and grew up in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the third child and only daughter of Dr. David L. Miller and Jane Kreider Miller. Her childhood was spent exploring the forests and fields of Clarion County, meeting her parents’ friends from rural Pennsylvania and countless points beyond, and reveling in the recreation and intellectual stimuli of the Chautauqua Institution, where her family then spent summers. Margaret’s family spent three months in Thailand when she was a girl, and she began seeing herself as more than a child of Pennsylvania. She recalled that from her childhood, “My deepest solitary pleasure as a kid was climbing a particular maple tree near a small stream and sinking into a sort of alert trance – waiting and watching to see who/what might walk beneath me. Sometimes my mind would race, but more often my thinking derailed and stalled. My hearing became more acute, then it seemed to switch off. Eyes open, I saw everything, but nothing. I felt blind to all but movement, all colors washed together.” Margaret completed an International Baccalaureate as her secondary education at Atlantic College, and then studied phenomenology of religion at Princeton University, where she earned a BA under Dr. Elaine Pagels. Her desire to learn and participate in wide varieties of religious experience included travels in China, Tibet, the Taize Community in France, and enthusiastic attendance at all things Chautauqua.

Margaret’s empathy widened as a result of her study of religion, and her insights into what it means to be human were shared thanks to her skill as a writer and storyteller. She was a reporter for the Chautauqua Daily, first as a student and later as a professional. She worked for two magazines prior to moving to Berkeley, where she began graduate studies in religion and then transferred full-time to the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California. Her expertise was recognized by Tom Goldstein, then Dean of the Graduate School, who created an Assistant Dean position for her. Margaret’s love for people and support of their storytelling included stints in raising financial support for the School and exploring what was then called New Media. Margaret spent a year covering crime and metro news for the Seattle Times.

She was drawn back to the Bay Area, and her hair stylist set her up on a date with Laura Horn. On their second date, Margaret made it clear to Laura that children would become part of the deal, and soon after they won each other’s hearts. Margaret and Laura married on July 1, 2008 soon after their marriage rights were affirmed in California. Their two children Ming Hai Jane Miller Horn, now 19, and Chan Chamren David Miller Horn, now 17, were the center of their lives. Margaret and Laura immersed themselves into the world of parenting, and provided multicultural experiences to the children, and modeled positive risk taking and boundless hospitality, opening their children to greater possibilities.

Margaret’s skills as a writer, editor and storyteller were utilized as part of efforts to strengthen programs for children living in poverty, LGBTQ families, saving the Bay, and expansion of community colleges. Her insights into mental health challenges inspired others. She knew that her experience gave her “the unexpected and enriching gifts of depression, like patience, humility, insight and empathy.” That charisma earned her a constellation of friends from all continents fiercely grateful for her understanding, compassion and intelligence, and uniformly remembering her for her keen intelligence, willingness to hike any terrain in any weather, and propelling drive to bring equity and justice into the world. She sometimes baked two pies in a single day, and revered others with enthusiasm and integrity.

Those of us who knew her and loved her most – notably, her wife Laura Horn, their children Ming and Chamren, her brother Jim and his wife, Chrissie, her nieces Alexis and Laura, her brother Jeff and his wife Francoise, and niece Sarah and nephews Benjamin and Bryce – along with cousins, 98 year old aunt Annabel Kreider Schnure, and armies of devoted friends – are mourning her death but inspired by her originality and zest.

A memorial service will take place at 11:00 am on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley, California.

Memorial gifts in honor of Margaret may be made to: Save The BayBipolar AdvantageOur Family Coalition