The Bay Area could begin a critical transformation to survive the effects of climate change with new funding


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — When it comes to spending on climate change and the environment, the San Francisco Bay ship might finally be here. Congresswoman Jackie Speier recently requested $24 million in funding for EPA bay restoration projects in the new federal budget. That’s about triple the normal amount, and long overdue according to David Lewis of the nonprofit Save the Bay.

“Yes, federal funding for the San Francisco Bay Area has been a fraction of what Chesapeake and Puget Sound and other bays are receiving. That’s a huge boost to accelerating wetland restoration and clean up the water quality in the bay,” Lewis points out.

While increased EPA funding will be a welcome boost for shoreline restoration, other advocates say a historic increase in spending on Bay Area environmental projects could be imminent, fueled by money from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Climate Resilience Program coupled with funds from the $1.2 trillion Federal Infrastructure Plan.

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“And that can make a trend historically transformative,” says Warner Chabot of the San Francisco Estuary Institute. “A launch that could make the Bay Area a truly national model of how an urban region of 8 million people by the sea is tackling climate adaptation.”

Chabot says priority projects include restoring tidal marshes to combat sea level rise, drought and water conservation systems, and managing surrounding forests for wildfire risk. But while the goals are clear, Chabot thinks the dozens of major cities, counties and Bay Area agencies involved need a new, coordinated approach to harness the funding stream effectively. Possibly negotiate together to develop a broad regional proposal.

“So we have to start now, to understand that we’re not going to fight. We’re not going to fight for food. But we’re actually going to recognize that climate change is a regional problem,” he believes.

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If planning is effective, they believe the Bay Area could begin a transformation essential to surviving the effects of climate change.

“It’s encouraging to see the Congressional delegation getting more resources for the San Francisco Bay. And frankly, we need an order of magnitude greater investment over the next decade, to keep the Bay clean and healthy, in the face of climate change,” Lewis said. .

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