Governor Newsom Joins Dedication of World’s Largest Wildlife Crossing as State Launches Nature-Based Strategies to Combat Climate Change and Protect Biodiversity

Governor Newsom is proposing an additional $50 million for wildlife crossings, including $10 million in new funding for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing

State Releases 30×30 and Climate Smart Lands Strategies to Combat Climate Change, Protect Biodiversity, and Expand Access to Nature

SACRAMENTO – Today, Earth Day, Governor Gavin Newsom participated in the dedication of the world’s largest wildlife overpass, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which will provide a vital bridge for mountain lions and wildlife. other Santa Monica Mountain wildlife to move safely between two large habitat areas. The state also announced today the launch of strategies to achieve California’s first 30×30 conservation goal and better manage our natural and working lands to combat climate change and protect our communities and ecosystems.

Governor Newsom has proposed a landmark $37.6 billion climate package — more than most other countries are spending — to protect all Californians from the costs and impacts of climate change, while accelerating efforts to reduce reliance on heavy polluters and fossil fuels.

“No challenge poses a greater threat to our way of life, our prosperity and our future as a state than climate change,” Governor Newsom said. “With our rich natural heritage on the front lines of this crisis, California is building on its global climate leadership with bold strategies that harness the power of nature to fight climate change and protect our communities and ecosystems. Strong partnerships at all levels will be essential to these efforts, and the project we’re launching today is an inspiring example of the kind of creative collaborations that will help us protect our common home for generations to come.

Governor Newsom at the inauguration of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing

Highlighting the critical importance of wildlife crossings, a mountain lion was struck and killed yesterday on Highway 405. The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will span 10 lanes of Highway 101 and an adjacent road, improving connectivity to wildlife to support biodiverse ecosystems. The state provided $58 million in funding for the public-private conservation project, which is facilitated by Caltrans, while philanthropy raised more than $34 million in funding. In partnership with the Legislative Assembly, the Governor last year advanced $105 million to fund wildlife crossings and is proposing an additional $50 million this year for this priority, including $10 million in new funding for the passage to Liberty Canyon.

To protect mountain lions and other wildlife, the governor signed legislation in 2020 banning the use of second-generation blood-thinning rodenticides, which are known to cause chronic growth and reproductive problems. Earlier this week, the California High-Speed ​​Rail Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency announced a $3.125 million grant to study the Pacheco Pass wildlife crossing near the section of the high-speed rail project from San Jose to Merced.

the Pathways to 30×30: Accelerating California Nature Conservation strategy and Climate-Smart Strategy for Natural and Working Lands published today respond directly to the Governor’s Executive Order on Nature-Based Solutions, which identified California land as a critical but underutilized area in the fight against climate change. These lands cover 90% of California’s 105 million acres and can remove and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions to the atmosphere, and buffer climate impacts. Climate-smart management of our lands also safeguards public health and safety, protects food and water supplies, and enhances equity.

Pathways to 30×30 outlines a strategy to achieve the state’s first goal of conserving 30% of California’s coastal land and waters by 2030 to protect biodiversity, expand access to nature, and to fight against climate change. Scientists around the world agree that conserving one-third of the planet by 2030 is necessary to combat climate change, protect people from climate impacts already present, and limit the mass extinction of plant and animal life. It also represents a historic opportunity to strengthen our connection to nature, especially for communities that have never had access to it, and to partner with Native American leaders and groups to manage lands and waters.

California retained 24% of its land and 16% of its coastal waters. To reach 30% by 2030, the state strategy outlines several simultaneous paths, including accelerating regionally-led conservation, purchasing strategic lands for conservation and access, expanding voluntary conservation easements and alignment of investments to maximize conservation benefits. Empowering local and regional partners is key to achieving this goal, and the strategy establishes a 30×30 partnership to organize this coordination and collaboration. Partners include federal agencies, California Native American tribes, county governments, land trusts, resource conservation districts, environmental conservation nongovernmental organizations and others.

The Climate Smart Natural and Working Lands Strategy establishes California’s approach to meeting our climate change goals through better management of our lands. Healthy landscapes can remove and store carbon, limit future emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and buffer climate impacts. Unhealthy landscapes have the opposite effect: they release more greenhouse gases than they store and increase climate risks for people and nature. The strategy defines eight types of landscapes that California will manage better, including forests, farms, communities and wetlands. It highlights priority nature-based solutions that combat climate change and help achieve California’s broader environmental, economic and social goals. The strategy also outlines short-term actions and stresses that partnerships are essential to all of this work.

To advance the 30×30 and Climate Smart Lands initiatives, the Governor’s proposed budget includes a two-year spending plan of $768 million, including nearly $600 in the 2022-23 budget. Today, the governor previewed how he proposes to spend that funding during the May review. Important investments include:

  • $275 million (over two years) to fund projects that will provide climate benefits and protect biodiversity, including voluntary acquisitions and conservation easements.
  • $161 million (over two years) to support regional action through investments in state reserve-funded natural community conservation planning programs and projects.
  • $100 million for the Tribal Nature-Based Solutions program announced in March at the California Truth & Healing Council meeting.
  • $90 million for inland wetland restoration, which provides multiple benefits, including sequestering greenhouse gas emissions, protecting habitat, and advancing economic opportunity. This complements funding for coastal wetlands in last year’s climate program ($500 million).
  • $50 million to enable more wildlife crossings like the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing which opens today.
  • $30 million (over two years) to accelerate the adoption of climate-smart land management practices across California’s diverse landscape, including farms, forests, and community green spaces.
  • $7.5 million (over two years) to support a pilot composting permit program that will help local government entities and facilities locate and license small and medium-sized composting facilities, diverting more organic waste from landfills towards the creation of healthy soils.

Both strategies were shaped by more than a year of public engagement. More than 4,100 Californians provided direct input through more than a dozen town hall meetings, regional workshops, thematic panels of experts on key concepts such as equity and science, and commentary on strategy projects.

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