Prop 84 earmarks funds for the Sierra Nevada
Californians voted Tuesday in favor of a $5.4 billion bond measure that will fund natural resource protection and conservation .
Proposition 84 ” The Clean Water, Parks, and Coastal Protection Bond Act ” passed in Tuesday’s election, but only by a small margin, with 53.8 percent of voters in favor and 46.2 percent against. The majority of voters in Nevada and Placer counties did not approve the ballot measure.
Despite its small margin of victory, Proposition 84 addresses the need across the state for natural resource funding, said Perry Norris, Truckee Donner Land Trust executive director.
Locally speaking, passage of the proposition is significant because this is the first time a bond measure has been earmarked for the Sierra Nevada, said Steve Frisch, Sierra Business Council vice president for programs.
As a result of Prop 84, the California Tahoe Conservancy will receive a $36 million bond to be used in the protection of water quality and open space, according to the Department of Water Resources. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy will get $54 million, the shot in the arm the conservation group needs to get off the ground, Norris said.
“This keeps us alive,” Norris said. “We can’t do it all without the bond money.”
The bond measure will contribute funding toward projects related to drinking water, water quality and supply, flood control, water pollution and contamination control, and for an emergency water supply. Prop 84 will also support improvements to state and local parks and the protection of natural waterways.
The state funding will be spread out to help with numerous improvement projects in the region, Frisch said. However, “even more important than land acquisition is the management of natural resources,” he said.
Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, said she voted in favor of Prop 84 because of the money to be available for purchasing open space.
Currently the land trust is in negotiations to acquire a 1,500-acre parcel in Martis Valley. The land, located above Martis Creek Lake, is valuable because of its wildlife and water resources, Norris said.
With an eight-figure price on the Martis Valley property, the bond money “means we have a running shot at (acquiring) it,” Norris said.