30 x 30 Power In Nature: Protecting California Together

Power in Nature Coalition Responds to State Budget, Calls for November Bond

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2024
Contact: Sarah Hersh-Walker, sarah@fcpcommunications.com, 510-759-2921

POWER IN NATURE COALITION RESPONDS TO STATE BUDGET, CALLS FOR NOVEMBER BOND

Sacramento, CA — The Power In Nature Coalition responded to the state budget signed by Governor Newsom by highlighting California’s dire need for consistent, ongoing funding to address the intertwined climate and biodiversity crises. The Power In Nature Coalition also called for a November climate bond.

In 2022, Governor Newsom and the Legislature announced an investment of $54 billion in a multi-year climate resilience budget that included substantial investments in the state’s goal to conserve 30 percent of the state’s lands and waters by 2030 (30×30). With state revenues declining, the final 2024-2025 budget includes more than $1 billion in cuts to nature-based climate solution funding, such as the State Coastal Conservancy, regional conservancies, and the Wildlife Conservation Board. These reductions come at a time when California requires continued investment in programs that build climate resilience and address the biodiversity crisis. Not only is the state grappling with the real-time effects of climate change, but California also leads the nation in plants and animals at risk of extinction.

“These deep cuts threaten our state’s goal to achieve 30×30,” said Eamon O’Byrne, Executive Director, Sonoma Land Trust. “They also underscore the need for the state to pass a climate resilience bond in 2024. Scientists worldwide agree that we must protect a minimum of 30% of the planet’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. This is actually the bare minimum needed to prevent ecosystem collapse, protect biodiversity, and stabilize our climate. In order to reach this goal in California, we need sustained funding for local 30×30 projects.” 

While the final budget cut important programs, the Power In Nature Coalition and its partners were successful in defeating the proposals to cut $45 million from the Habitat Conservation Fund (HCF) and end the annual funding commitment of $30 million to the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), enacted through Proposition 117. This is an important victory because the HCF has provided consistent and reliable funding for habitat conservation and restoration since 1990 and will continue to do so until at least 2030.

“We’re very grateful that the Legislature and Governor Newsom responded to our concerns about these critical funding sources for 30×30 and biodiversity,” said Dr. Jun Bando, Executive Director, California Native Plant Society. “This is a pivotal moment to address the intertwined biodiversity and climate crises. To lose momentum now would be devastating.” 

Investments in climate resilience are essential for the State of California to reach its goal of 30×30. Though some funds were rescued, the budget cuts are still expected to have serious implications for the state’s goal of protecting 30×30. The WCB, which experienced an estimated $348.2 million in cuts, is one of the key funders of 30×30, helping local organizations preserve and protect important landscapes like, for example, those near Chino Hills in Southern California.

The 14,100-acre Chino Hills State Park lies at the juncture of four of Southern California’s most populous counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside. Designed along ridgeline boundaries, visitors and wildlife are protected from the sights and sounds of urban life. However, the eastern ridgelines adjacent to the state park continue to be vulnerable to development as they remain in private ownership. About 800 acres of this ridgeline is finally available to be purchased through a willing seller. This incredible opportunity to preserve the ridgeline is threatened by the deep budget cuts to the WCB. 

“We have envisioned protecting the eastern ridgeline of Chino Hills State Park for more than 45 years and now the opportunity is finally here,” said Melanie Schlotterbeck, CMP Conservation Consultant with Hills For Everyone. “The National Park Service just awarded $3.8 million from its Land and Water Conservation Fund allocation toward this project. The non-federal match must be secured now. Cutting funding to the Wildlife Conservation Board endangers the future of Chino Hills State Park and numerous other projects across the state that are critical to protecting 30% of our land and coastal waters by 2030. This is unacceptable and why we must support an upcoming climate bond on the November ballot.”

Given the state’s bleak fiscal outlook and the growing climate threat, a November 2024 climate bond that invests in both communities and nature is essential. Last year more than 60 organizations within the Power In Nature Coalition sent a letter to the Newsom Administration urging that a final climate bond include $5 billion for 30×30 outcomes. 

Californians continue to face worsening impacts of the climate crisis, including record-breaking heat, extreme wildfire, drought, and historic flooding. Moreover, California is the most biodiverse state in the nation–one of 36 global “biodiversity hotspots”–facing severe risk to native species. Research shows that 1 million species are at risk of extinction and wild vertebrate populations have dropped 69% since 1970. 

Governor Newsom recognized the urgency of the intertwined climate and biodiversity crises and in 2020 issued Executive Order N-82-20. This Executive Order set the state’s 30×30 target and was codified into law by Senator David Min’s (SD-37) bill SB 337 last year.

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About the Power In Nature Coalition

Power In Nature is a statewide coalition of over 100 community groups, environmental and conservation organizations, land trusts, indigenous organizations, and tribal members dedicated to advancing California’s 30×30 commitment. The Power In Nature coalition has identified nearly 100 potential 30×30 projects across the state and works on a broad range of issues including biodiversity protection, climate resilience, equity, recreation, outdoor access, and social justice. For more information visit PowerInNature.org.

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