Governor Signs Final Budget Bills: Invests Billions in Climate and Water Resilience, Wildfire Prevention, Waste Reduction and Recycling

Posted on Monday, October 4th, 2021 by Jeanne Merrill
wildfire at full belly Fire near Full Belly Farm in 2018. The Capay Valley is one of the agricultural regions in the state that has experienced multiple years of wildfires in a row. Photo credit Thomas Nelson

State Invests Billions in Climate and Agriculture Resilience

The state’s final budget bills have now been signed by Governor Newsom and include record-setting investments in climate and agriculture. In addition to the $1.3 billion in food and agriculture resilience and equity funding that reported in our last blog, final bills also include significant investments in climate and water resilience, wildfire prevention, and waste reduction/recycling, which we detail below.

Many of these investments are aimed at furthering the state’s efforts to achieve its 2045 carbon neutrality goal, advance the state’s forthcoming Climate Smart Land Strategy and achieve California’s conservation goal of conserving 30 percent of the state’s natural and working lands by the year 2030.

Multi-Year Natural Resources Funding

In this remarkable budget process with a record state surplus, the legislature and the Governor have committed to multi-year funding in the various natural resource budget packages. Below are highlights from the various packages, including proposed future spending. You can see the full budget addendum here.

 Climate Resilience Budget Package: $369.2 million for FY 2021-22; $2.089 billion for FY 2022-23; and $1.229 billion for FY 2023-24.

 The climate resilience budget package includes 22 different programmatic areas, from urban greening to regional climate resilience planning and implementation  Here are some highlights from the FY 2021-22 climate resilience investments:

  •     $115 million for Transformative Climate Communities program (Strategic Growth Council), providing state investment in local strategies to improve climate resilience and reduce greenhouse emissions in communities disproportionately impacted by poverty and pollution
  •     $60 million for State Conservancies for a diversity of climate resilience projects
  •     $50 million for Urban Greening/Urban Forestry (CalFire) for urban tree plantings, parks, and more

Proposed investments for FY 2022-23 would greatly expand the climate resilience funding for the state to over $2 billion, and include the following:

  •     $593 for a new Multi-Benefit and Nature-Based Solutions funding pool for the California Natural Resources Agency for implementation of the forthcoming Climate Smart Land Strategy
  •     $350 million for Coastal Protection and Adaptation (State Coastal Conservancy)
  •     $222 million to Protect Fish and Wildlife from Changing Conditions, various state agencies
  •     $150 million for Extreme Heat measures, various state agencies

For a complete listing of funded programs in the climate resilience budget, click here.

Water Resilience Package: $3.269 billion for FY 2021-22; $880 million for FY 2022-23; $500 million for FY 2023-24.

The water resilience package includes investments in drought preparedness, safe drinking water, groundwater management, and watershed restoration. It funds 27 different program areas.  Highlights from the FY 2021-22 package include:

  •     $1.3 billion for safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure (Water Board)
  •     $200 million for groundwater cleanup/water recycling (Water Board)
  •     $130 million for flood prevention projects (Dept. of Water Resources)
  •     $100 for water conveyance projects (DWR)

The package also includes funding for SWEEP, SGMA, and Multi-benefit Land Repurposing, which we reported on in our last budget blog. 

Proposed water resilience investments for FY 2022-23 of $880 million include ongoing funding for SGMA implementation, SWEEP, water conveyance, flood protection, and more. For a complete listing of funded programs in the water resilience budget, click here.

Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package: $1.524 billion for FY 2021-22. 

This does not include multi-year funding beyond the ongoing $200 million in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dollars for wildfire prevention work.   

The wildfire and forest investments for FY 2021-22 will be administered by CalFire, conservancies, and other state agencies and include the following:

  •     $824 million for resilient forests and landscapes
  •     $480 million for wildfire fuel breaks
  •     $47 million for community hardening
  •     $52 million for research, monitoring, adaptive management, remote sensing, and permit efficiency activities
  •     $76 million for forestry sector economic stimulus
  •     $20 million for prescribed fire liability pilot
  •     $24 million for a data hub and contract counties

 A more detailed list of funded programs can be found here.

Recycling/Waste Reduction – Circular Economy Package: $75 million for FY 2021-22; $65 million for FY 2022-23.

This budget package includes CalRecycle’s existing and new programs to increase composting, food waste prevention, co-digestion projects at wastewater treatment facilities, and more. 

For a complete listing of funded programs in this budget package, click here.

Next Year’s Budget Process

CalCAN, with our partners, will continue to advocate for robust investments in climate smart agriculture and the broader set of food and agriculture investments found in AB 125, the bond measure we are supporting.  

While the promises of greater investments to improve the state’s resilience to greater weather extremes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are an important step forward, it will be critical to remain engaged with our state representatives and the Governor to ensure that this year’s promises become next year’s reality. 

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