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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 
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Editor's Notes - February 20, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 02/20/15

Yesterday, this writer had the privilege of attending "Water 2015," an excellent conference that was organized by Capitol Weekly and UC Center, University of California.

Water 2015 featured a number of "in-the-know" panelists, such as Sen. Wolk, Assy. Perea, Cindy Tuck, Joe Caves, Doug Obegi, and Joe Burn. The topics? Current information regarding the $7.5 B bond measure approved in last November's election, funding (of course) for water projects, the drought, the Delta, storage and supply, conservation and the groundwater management bill (Pavley) the guv signed into law last fall. Attendees were told to expect a slow roll-out of Prop 1 and the groundwater management law will require regulations and clean-up legislation, both of which are still being written. Public comment will be part of this process. In addition, Prop 1 doesn't become viable until December 2016 and funding in the out years of Prop 1 will be doled out slowly.

Fun Facts from Water 2015: CA has lost so much groundwater (11 MG) that it has changed the earth's orbit. Desalination is a part of the answer to increasingly severe droughts. More than 1M gallons of stormwater flows into the SF Bay each year, but the good news is that there is $1B in the bond for water recycling - but not much for storage or water conservation. In addition to Prop 1 and Prop E, funds for water projects are in the proposed budget. We'll keep everyone posted as Prop 1 is rolled out and we thank the Water 2015 organizers for an excellent, informative conference.

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

Editor's Notes - February 13, 2015

by Steve Aceti on 02/13/15

SAVE THE DATE! CalCoast is working with universities, state agencies and local government to organize a conference in San Diego May 26-28 that will focus on sea level rise (SLR), LCPs, climate change, grants, implementation and other issues related to SLR, LCPs and climate change. The purpose of the conference is to help local governments prepare for SLR and climate change, which guidances to follow, how to prepare LCPs or LCP updates that deal with SLR and climate change, and other assistance, including available grants. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES! Don't miss the article below about what House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had to say about California issues during a trip to Los Angeles earlier this week. McCarthy supports the opening of the Monterey Shale deposit for oil, he spoke about the state's drought and his opposition to high speed rail. The same day McCarthy was in LA, Gov. Brown announced a $50 million federal drought response program for the western states, with the lion's share headed for California. Also see below, in a series of reports called Financing the Future: How will California pay for tomorrow?, In Financing the Future's first chapter, What about Prop 30?, released earlier this week, CA Fwd explores how one existing source of revenue-Proposition 30's temporary taxes, approved by voters in 2012 is likely to perform in the years to come. While roughly $8 billion of the state General Fund every year is now attributable to the measure's quarter-cent sales tax increase and income tax hikes on wealthy Californians, these taxes will begin expiring in 2016. As the article states, a political battle is already brewing over whether to extend them. TGIF and Happy Valentine's Day! Don't miss the article below about what House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had to say about California issues during a trip to Los Angeles earlier this week. McCarthy supports the opening of the Monterey Shale deposit for oil, he spoke about the state's drought and his opposition to high speed rail. The same day McCarthy was in LA, Gov. Brown announced a $50 million federal drought response program for the western states, with the lion's share headed for California. Also see below, in a series of reports called Financing the Future: How will California pay for tomorrow?, In Financing the Future's first chapter, What about Prop 30?, released earlier this week, CA Fwd explores how one existing source of revenue-Proposition 30's temporary taxes, approved by voters in 2012 is likely to perform in the years to come. While roughly $8 billion of the state General Fund every year is now attributable to the measure's quarter-cent sales tax increase and income tax hikes on wealthy Californians, these taxes will begin expiring in 2016. As the article states, a political battle is already brewing over whether to extend them. TGIF and Happy Valentine's Day!

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.    

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