Breaking! California Extends $300 Million Dollar Budget Over 10 Years To Conserve Critical Wildlife Habitat

On Sunday, the 2019 Budget Conference Committee approved a ten-year commitment to appropriate $30 million dollars per year, $300 million overall, to assure conservation of unique and important wildlife habitat throughout the state of California.

Initially created by the California Wildlife Protection Act, Habitat Conservation Fund (HCF) was a part of Proposition 117 that required an annual transfer of $30 million into the fund until July 1, 2020 and specified how the monies were to be expended. These funds have protected more than one million acres of wildlife habitat across California since 1990.

“With California’s population expected to reach 50 million by 2050 and the rate at which California’s plants and animals are facing a changing climate, the need to protect wildlife habitat is even more urgent today,” said Mountain Lion Foundation  Executive Director Lynn Cullens. “We are grateful to Governor Gavin Newsom and the legislature for recognizing this and continuing this important investment for another decade.”

Backed by nearly 60 diverse conservation organizations, the cause for extending the HCF was advocated by Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who championed the effort in the 2019-20 budget process by including ten additional years in the Assembly’s budget proposal, which was ultimately adopted by the Conference Committee. Additionally, Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) pushed for the extension through his Senate Bill 474. Governor Newsom’s Finance spokesperson also conveyed the administration’s support in the conference committee hearing held on May 31, 2019.

“As home to the highest number of species found nowhere else in all 50 states, California also has one of the highest numbers of species facing extinction due to loss of habitat, as well as pollution, disease, invasive species and the impacts of climate change,” Kim Delfino, California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife said in a statement. “Conserving key habitat is a critical part of protecting California’s unique biodiversity.”

Language extending the HCF for ten years will be included in a budget trailer bill expected to be adopted by the Legislature in coming days.

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