Audubon California today announced its strong support for Proposition 1, the state water bond placed on the November ballot by Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature, citing the dire need for responsible water management and investment to support birds as well as communities. The organization highlighted the importance of the bond’s funding for habitat restoration statewide, as well as additional water allocations to the Central Valley, Klamath region, and Salton Sea – all of which are critically important habitats for California birds.
Audubon California Executive Director Brigid McCormack noted that the additional water resources and habitat restoration will help birds weather the state’s historic drought and the mounting challenges of global warming.
“With 170 California birds specifically threatened by global warming, the water bond provides critical funding for projects that will help our birds adapt to a warmer climate and build more resilient communities,” said Brigid McCormack, Executive Director of Audubon California. “This drought is a dress rehearsal the challenges that birds will face with global warming. The state’s water bond will provide relief for the birds that are suffering now, and help them in the future, which is why we are encouraging voters to vote YES on Prop 1.”
Audubon has worked to increase awareness that Central Valley wildlife refuges have not been receiving the water necessary to protect migratory birds, making it difficult for birds to find food, water and a place to rest. By forcing migratory birds to crowd around the few available wetland areas, this lack of water creates conditions in which diseases like avian botulism and avian cholera can easily spread.
The Central Valley wildlife refuges are, for the most part, the last remnants of Central Valley wetland habitat, more than 90 percent of which was lost in the last century as the land was converted to agriculture and urban development. Despite these losses, the Central Valley is still an essential part of the Pacific Flyway and is a home and stop-over site for millions of ducks, shorebirds, raptors and songbirds each year.
California’s $7.12 billion water bond could begin to reverse this devastating trend by allocating $475 million for bird habitat in Salton Sea, Klamath and Central Valley wildlife refuges. Prop 1 also includes nearly $1 billion for watershed protection, restoration and habitat improvements.
“Prop 1 invests in statewide watershed conservation funding, and will improve the quality and reliability of our state’s water system, a crucial step that helps protect our environment, birds and California’s communities” added McCormack. “We have made a promise to future Californians that the birds will continue to thrive here, and Prop 1 can help us keep that promise.”
About Audubon California
Audubon California is building a better future for California by bringing people together to appreciate, enjoy and protect our spectacular outdoor treasures. With more than 150,000 members and supporters in California and an affiliated 48 local Audubon chapters, Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society.
More information is available at www.ca.audubon.org.