With the California Legislature back in session this week and the state’s water bond high on the legislative agenda, Audubon California today urged members of the Senate and Assembly to keep provisions for wildlife refuge water and habitat restoration that are in current versions of the bond. Audubon California representatives emphasized that these provisions were key to their organization’s support for the bond.
“Long-term planning for water in California must include birds and habitat,” said Mike Lynes, Audubon California’s Director of Public Policy. “California’s refuges are the last remnants of the vitally important wetland habitat, supporting millions of migratory birds, including ducks, geese, other waterfowl and shorebirds. We need to prioritize basic resources for refuges in the state’s water bond.”
The watershed provisions will benefit birds statewide. Supporting water for the refuges is particularly crucial for migratory birds in the Central Valley. Although the Valley has lost 95 percent of its wetland habitat over the last several decades, millions upon millions of birds continue to rely on the remaining habitat for their survival. Birds and habitat areas provide substantial benefits to California, but like any asset must be considered and managed for long term success.
Acknowledging the massive impacts to wildlife from federal irrigation, Congress in 1992 passed the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) to support habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife in the Central Valley. This legislation mandated minimum allocations of water to the network of federal wildlife refuges, state wildlife areas and private wetlands in the Central Valley. Yet these allocations have never been fully achieved. Key provisions for wildlife refuge water and habitat restoration in the current versions of the bond are essential to achieving this mandate.
Audubon California Water Bond priorities:
- Full funding for the state’s share of water to refuges, as required under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.
- Retain watershed provisions in the current bond, helping with habitat restoration and water quality projects all over California.
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 50,000 members 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.