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Santa Monica Senator Introduces Bill to Fund Maintenance of State Parks


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By Lookout Staff

February 28, 2024 -- State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) has introduced legislation that creates a fund to "support the stewardship and preservation" of State parks, his office announced Wednesday.

The Conservation Stewardship Fund established by SB 1332 would administer "crucial operations and maintenance dollars" from both public and private entities, Allen said.

The funds would help "enhance public enjoyment" of lands owned and managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Wildlife Conservation Board and California’s many state conservancies.

“California’s state parks are our state’s most precious natural treasures," Allen said in a statement. "We have recently invested a significant amount in conserving more of our state lands.

“We cannot, however, forget that critical to conservation is continued investment in the maintenance and protection of our parks."

Among the recent initiatives is California 30x30, an executive order signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 committed to conserving 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030, Allen's office notes.

In 2022, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) released a plan that details strategies and opportunities for achieving the initiative's ambitious target.

But Allen's staff notes that stewardship and management activities are not eligible for general obligation bond funding, which can only be used to acquire and protect lands.

Additionally, the California Department of State Parks and Recreation is grappling with a deferred maintenance backlog totaling more than $1 billion, Allen's staff notes.

The Nature Conservancy, which supports the legislation, said the fund will "allow California to protect its investments in parks and open space, as well as help increase their resilience to climate change.”

“California’s conservation lands provide countless benefits to people and nature, and are critical to reaching our ambitious climate, biodiversity, and outdoor access goals," said Liz Forsburg Pardi, the Conservancy's director of external affairs and policy.

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