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The California Coastal Coalition (CalCoast)  is a non-profit advocacy group comprised of 35 coastal cities; five counties; SANDAG, BEACON and SCAG; private sector partners and NGOs, committed to protecting and restoring California's coastline through beach sand restoration, increasing the flow of natural sediment to the coast, wetlands recovery, improved water quality, watershed management and the reduction of marine debris and plastic pollution.

CalCoast has sponsored or supported legislation, budget requests and bond measures (Propositions 12, 13, 40, 50 and 84) that have raised billions of dollars in state and federal funding for beaches, wetlands, clean water and parks. In 1999, we sponsored the California Public Beach Restoration Act (AB 64-Ducheny), which created the state’s first fund for beach nourishment projects.
Committed to Restoring California's 
Coastline
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Editor's Notes - January 30, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 01/30/15

The state Department of Parks and Recreation and the Natural Resources Agency deserve a lot of credit for trying to right the ship since the tumultuous events in July, 2012 when it was discovered that senior staff at State Parks had grossly under-reported revenues to the State Controller while the FY 11-FY 12 budget was in the works and the state was trying to figure out how to operate in a deficit.The total amount of "secret funds" stashed away? Roughly $20 million.  

 

Additionally, in 2011 State Parks implemented an unauthorized vacation buy-back program allowing employees to "cash in" their accrued vacation hours. Timing is never right for corruption and incompetence, but the unreported funds were found at a time when, because of the state deficit, 70 state parks were slated for closure and, like many other state departments, furloughs were in effect.  

 

A 2012 audit that was conducted after the debacle was discovered is available online. Today, a panel created by the Legislature to review State Parks will report that State Parks is "underfunded and mired in outdated bureaucracy." The report, to be released by the Parks Forward Commissionincludes a number of recommendations, including the creation of a new non-profit organization to raise funds for State Parks. The report's recommendations are available online.

 

SAVE THE DATE! CalCoast is working with universities, state agencies and local government to organize a conference in San Diego on May 26-28 (tentative) that will focus on sea level rise (SLR), LCPs, grants, implementation and other issues related to SLR and LCPs. The purpose of the conference is to help local government prepare for SLR, which guidances to follow, how to prepare LCPs or LCP updates that deal with SLR, and other assistance, including available grants. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES!

 

TGIF! 

Editor's Notes - January 23, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 01/23/15

Clean Water Proposal in Congress

EPA is currently considering a rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways here in California and across the country. There is a pitched battle on both sides of the proposal. A rare joint hearing of Congressional committees to review the rule has been scheduled for Wednesday February 4th.  The clean water rule has faced tough opposition from Senator Inhofe, the Chairman of the Senate's key environmental committee.  

If you support this rule, you should call key members of Congress on this issue:

Senator Boxer (202) 224-3553
Senator Feinstein (202) 224-3841
Representative Huffman (202) 225-5161
Representative Hunter (202) 225-5672
Representative Napolitano (202) 225-5256
Representative Denham (202) 225-4540
Representative Garamendi (202) 225-1880
Representative Hahn (202) 225-8220
Representative Walters (202) 225-5611

 

TGIF!

Editor's Notes - January 16, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 01/16/15

Last week this writer participated in a conference call with Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird, Cal/EPA Secretary Matthew Rodriguez, Finance Department representatives and staff members from state agencies, boards, and commissions to discuss Gov. Brown's proposed FY 15-16 state budget.

The focus of Secretary Laird's report was water and State Parks. Here are some highlights from that discussion:
  • There is $532 million in new bond money in the budget for water-related projects and the bond will be open to applications for funding through the California Water Commission. The commission will establish a process for the grants.
  • There is $115 million in the budget to combat drought. Secretary Laird said that 150% water is needed this year to bring California out of the drought. With respect to State Parks, Secretary Laird said there has been an effort to modernize State Park assets, moving away from cash, increasing cabins in the system and creating accountability for the cost of managing parks. The Parks Forward Commission will publish its report by the end of the year. The department is focusing on management issues and long-term planning.
  • There is $16.8 million in the budget for opening new parks and $125 million to various agencies to deal with deferred maintenance. Roughly $20 million of that money will go to State Parks. The budget allocates $31.4 million to the Division of Boating and Waterways, $4.8 million of which will go to the Public Beach Restoration Program and there is continued funding for local assistance program grants for LCPs (Prop 40 and Coastal Conservancy funding).
  • Secretary Rodriguez said there is $3.8 billion in the budget for Cal/EPA - an increase of $200 million over the current FY. The Gov wants to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and continue the state's cap and trade program auctions. $870 million has been raised through that process and the money has been used for transportation projects and high speed rail.
  • The budget allocates $200 million to the State Water Resources Control Board from Prop 1. $135 million of that money will be used to promote safe drinking water, particularly for disadvantaged communities. The budget also contains $132 million in grants for waste water treatment projects and for water recycling projects. Cal/EPA has made progress in managing hazardous waste and recovering the costs of state oversight over clean-up programs and enforcement.
  • The budget has $1.3 million for hazardous waste projects and to deal with the backlog in permit applications. $25 million has been allocated to CalRecycle for grants to reduce waste and the budget proposes to spend $1 billion from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
  • The website for the state budget contains a summary of the budget by subject area. The budget proposal allocates $113.2 billion from the general fund.

The governor will publish a revised budget by mid-May. The governor and the Legislature must pass a budget by July 1. We will keep everyone posted on the proposed budget as it winds its way through the legislative session.    

Editor's Notes - January 9, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 01/09/15

We hope everyone had a great holiday season and we send along our best wishes for a happy new year. Roughly 900 bills passed and signed by the state Legislature and Gov. Brown took effect January 1. Water conservation was among them. This week Southern California’s conservation recorded a disappointing 3.2 percent rate of savings, while Northern California fared a little better. The governor’s goal of a 25% reduction in water usage, announced one year ago, continues to be an elusive target. Desalination may be part of the solution and a proposed project in Orange County got a boost this week, as discussed below. The other big news of the week covered below includes U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s announcement that she will retire at the end of her current term and the release of the governor’s proposed FY 2015-2016 budget. We’ll have more news about the proposed budget, especially with regard to natural resources, in next week’s WAVE.

Editor's Notes - December 19, 2014

by Steve Aceti on 12/19/14

Wednesday, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) announced his leadership members and nominees for Senate standing committee chairs for the 2015-2016 Regular Session of the Legislature. The full list of committee assignments is available online here.

Yesterday, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) announced her appointment of committee members for the 2015-16 Regular Session. The full list of committee assignments is available online here. The Senate will convene for floor session on Monday, January 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm. The Assembly will convene the same day at 1:00 pm.

Our best wishes for a happy and safe holiday!

California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.