Newsom budget would cut some money for flood protection

AP News

River Partners President Julie Rentner at Dos Rios Ranch Preserve

Proposed budget cuts would affect investment in flood protection for the San Joaquin Valley, reports AP News:

“Newsom’s budget proposal, released last week, cuts $40 million that had been pledged for floodplain restoration projects along rivers in the San Joaquin Valley, an area at high risk of catastrophic flooding.

Those projects would allow for rivers to flood in strategic places during winter storms or the spring Sierra Nevada snowmelt, reducing the risks for populated areas downstream while also benefiting environmental ecosystems.

Newsom approved that money last year, when the state had a record budget surplus of around $100 billion. Just a few months later, things have changed dramatically as a sluggish stock market has slowed the state’s economy, reducing the amount of taxes the state collects. Now, Newsom says California will have a $22.5 billion deficit this year.”

Restoring floodplains is a broadly-supported strategy for reducing flood risk.

“One celebrated example is the Dos Rios Ranch Preserve in Modesto, which marked its 10th anniversary last fall with a ceremony attended by high-level Newsom administration officials. The project has been so successful that it was one of the reasons the governor signed off on the $40 million for similar projects.

The money was set to pay for nine floodplain reconnection projects that are ready to begin plus help another six that are still in the planning process, said Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, a nonprofit that is managing the projects.

“The work has stopped,” she said.”

Read the full article from AP News here.