California beach funding is a go, as the state’s full $1.8 million was approved and included in California’s budget.
Since 2008 when nearly $1 million was eliminated from the state’s beach monitoring funds, California’s Beach Program has struggled year after year to maintain a sufficient level of beach monitoring.
State funding was in limbo for several years until Senate Bill 482 (Kehoe) was signed into law in 2011. SB 482 allowed up to $1.8 million in permit fees to be directed towards California’s Beach Program. (Of note, the estimated $1.8 million is based on the minimum funding needed to sustain a model monitoring program in California). Unfortunately, only $1 million of the $1.8 million allowed in the bill was approved in the 2012 state budget, a serious shortfall affecting the entire beach monitoring program.
Beach water quality monitoring and strong pollution prevention measures are critical for protecting beach goers from waterborne diseases. Reduced monitoring could compromise not only public health protection but also the ability to track chronically polluted beaches.
Through Heal the Bay’s advocacy, along with the leadership of Assembly Member Richard Bloom and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, the full $1.8 million was included in the California state budget to fund California’s Beach Program during the next fiscal year (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014). Though there are many uncertainties when it comes to the future of beach funding, this is huge victory for water quality and public health!
-- Amanda Griesbach Beach Water Quality Scientist
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