Sempervirens Fund Commits Early Support for the California Water Bond Initiative

San Vicente Redwoods

San Vicente Redwoods, photo by Karl Kroeber

The Prop. 1 Water Bond will fund key agencies that help protect watersheds in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Sept. 12, 2014 – Sempervirens Fund has just announced today its Board approval committing $100,000 in support of California Proposition 1, the Water Bond (Assembly Bill 1471).

The Board voted to back the initiative due to the more than $330 million in funding that will flow to ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration via agencies working in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Preserving watersheds is an integral part of Sempervirens Fund’s mission, along with expanding protected habitat and creating safe wildlife corridors.

“The Great Park area we work to protect, from Skyline to the sea, encompasses 700 miles of streams and 30 subwatersheds that are crucial sources of water for people and wildlife,” says Fred Keeley, Sempervirens Fund Board President and long-time environmental policy leader. “The agencies funded by this water bond work directly in our service area to help ensure such protection occurs,” says Keeley who is intimately familiar with the bond process, having previously authored the two largest voter-approved park and environmental bonds in the nation’s history, totaling $4.6 billion.

The water bond directs $200 million to the Wildlife Conservation Board for projects that result in enhanced stream flows. The State Coastal Conservancy is set to receive $100.5 million. And $30 million is designated to the Ocean Protection Council.

Such agencies have been vital Sempervirens Fund allies in the past. This August the California Wildlife Conservation Board granted $10 million to complete the protection of San Vicente Redwoods, a vast forested property co-owned by Sempervirens Fund and Peninsula Open Space Trust in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The land trusts are replacing culverts and installing erosion controls to protect the property’s streams, one of which serves as the sole source of drinking water for the nearby town of Davenport. An additional $1.9 million for San Vicente Redwoods came from the State Coastal Conservancy.

“Healthy redwood forests and clean water go hand in hand. AB1471 will help ensure the health of water resources here in our own backyard and beyond, and Sempervirens Fund is pleased to lend our support,” says Keeley.

Across the state, $1.5 billion will go to projects protecting and restoring watersheds, rivers and lakes. Proposition 1 will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot throughout California.

The streams in the Santa Cruz Mountains support a wide range of wildlife, including endangered Coho salmon and threatened Central California Coast steelhead. The watersheds also play an important role in maintaining the health of the near-shore marine habitat within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

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