Wildlife refuges can’t be left out of 2014 water bond

March 24th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


As lawmakers work down several paths toward refining a water bond to put before the voters this November, a new development with one of the leading pieces of bond legislation has conservation advocates worried. Amendments currently being proposed to Assembly Bill 1331 would strip the bond of language requiring the state to fulfill its promise to provide water for the 19 Central Valley refuges.  This is happening right now. The new amendment will be considered tomorrow before the State Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

The Central Valley refuges, for the most part, are the last remnants of Central Valley wetland habitat, more than 95 percent of which was lost in the last century as the land was converted to agriculture.

Water going to these refuges represents just a tiny fraction of the water used in the Central Valley, but it’s of critical importance to millions upon millions of Pacific Flyway migratory birds. Recognizing that the Central Valley Project of the 1930s had resulted in massive ecological damage, Congress in 1992 passed legislation to ensure that the refuges would receive enough water to meet the needs of birds and other wildlife.

If AB1331 is stripped of language providing water for refuges, it will have disastrous results for birds and make it even harder for California to comply with its legal obligations under federal and state law.

If you live in the district of any of the below senators on this committee, please give them a call today to urge them to reject this amendment and ensure that any water bond contain protections for the refuges and the millions of birds that rely on them.

  • Sen. Fran Pavley (Chair, District 27):  (916) 651-4027
  • Sen. Anthony Cannella (Vice Chair, District 12): (916) 651-4012
  • Sen. Noreen Evans (District 2): (916) 651-4002
  • Sen. Jean Fuller (District 18): (916) 651-4018
  • Sen. Ben Hueso (District 40): (916) 651-4040
  • Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (District 19): (916) 651-4019
  • Sen. Ricardo Lara (District 33): (916) 651-4033
  • Sen. Bill Monning (District 17): (916) 651-4017
  • Sen. Lois Wolk (District 3): (916) 651-4003

If you live in one of these districts, you can also send an email to your senator by clicking here.

(photo of ducks lifting off from the San Luis Wildlife Refuge courtesy the USFWS)

Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

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