By Alastair Bland
After widespread, bipartisan criticism, the governor revised his budget proposal to bring back $40 million to restore San Joaquin Valley floodplains.
Four months ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom yanked $40 million in funding to restore San Joaquin Valley floodplains from his proposed budget, angering legislators from both parties and conservationists. Today, he gave all of the money back as part of a $290-million package to increase flood protection funding statewide.
The funding comes in addition to $202 million already included in Newsom’s 2023-24 budget proposal in January. That makes a total of $492 million in investments that Newsom is proposing to protect Californians from flooding in the wake of winter storms that inundated towns in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast.
“California is facing unprecedented weather whiplash — we just experienced the driest three years on record, and now we’re dealing with historic flooding,” Newsom said in a written statement today. “Our investments must match this reality of climate-driven extremes. We’re committing even more resources to support communities up and down the state as they continue responding to the impacts of this year’s storms.”
As much as 600 acres of land could be reconnected to adjacent waterways in the next six months, according to Julie Rentner, River Partners’ president. “It will go fast, and the impacts will be measurable and tangible,” Rentner said.
Rentner also said “the $40 million is a downpayment on what we need to get going.”