By Sharon Gibbons
The Watershed Project is celebrating the passage of Measure AA, The Clean and Healthy Bay Initiative which will provide regional funding to restore the resilience and health of the Bay.
“Making the Bay more climate resilient is a tall order, but local residents have chosen to prioritize the restoration of the wild shorelines of the Bay with the approval of Measure AA,” says Juliana Gonzales, Executive Director of The Watershed Project. Passed by a two-thirds majority of the nine counties ringing the Bay, Measure AA will generate about $25 million annually for twenty years through a $12 parcel tax.
“… These funds will support important restoration work all around the Bay Area, and directly result in approximately 15,000 acres of restored tidal marsh. We also believe that we’ve found a groundbreaking approach to addressing climate change at a regional level, which can serve as a model for other parts of the country and world…,” states Cyril Manning, Save the Bay. Because of the effects of climate change including sea level rise and increasing flooding events, many of the projects being launched are time sensitive, establishing tidal marshes and wildlife habitats. Regional planning can help streamline the process.
“Measure AA will increase habitat for resident and migrating birds, from majestic Great Blue Herons to endangered Ridgway’s Rails. This is particularly important in coming decades because climate change is reducing the livable habitat for many species elsewhere. With help from Measure AA, San Francisco Bay can become a ‘climate stronghold’ that helps these species survive,” states Ilana DeBare, Golden Gate Audubon Society.
“We have nearly forty miles of SF Bay shoreline. Measure AA will help protect it from sea level rise, restore wetland habitat and enhance the lives of hundreds of thousands of city dwellers who live next to and enjoy our beautiful shoreline parks,” says Robert Doyle, East Bay Regional Parks District. Measure AA will expand our recreational opportunities to enjoy the Bay with new park areas and trails.
“Bay area voters’ passage of Measure AA is a resounding victory for wildlife and people who want a healthy, beautiful bay for future generations. This is a fantastic result and this is really a tribute to the people in the Bay Area who love the Bay,” says David Lewis, Executive Director of Save the Bay. Thanks to the efforts of Measure AA and all of the voters who contributed to its passing, the Bay will be more resilient facing future challenges.