Welcome to Capitol Corner, a series dedicated to providing updates on CalTrout’s legislative and policy work. CalTrout’s policy team includes Redgie Collins (Legal and Policy Director), Analise Rivero (Policy Associate), and Kam Bezdek (Policy Intern). This dynamic trio manages the development and implementation of CalTrout’s natural resource and water policy agenda in the California state legislature. Their work includes, but is not limited to, supporting CalTrout’s organizational goals through regulatory and public funding advocacy, building relationships with state agencies, and working directly with key decision makers to support issues that advance the mission and programs of CalTrout.
Over the past several months, CalTrout along with our partners in the Salmon and Steelhead Coalition have been busy working together creating fun and enjoyable pieces to educate on drought and help pass policies to better serve a drought-stricken state. As such, we are proud to present our short film “Drought: California’s New Normal – Meeting the Challenge Ahead”, featuring interviews with an array of involved and interested folks including:
Our hope with this film is to send the message to decision-makers at the top that this drought is permanent and here to stay with nature paying the price. 2021 was one of the driest years on record, and 2022 is shaping up to be even worse. Our rivers—the source of life for fish, wildlife, and people—are running dry. Salmon populations, already threatened with extinction, are experiencing extremely low water flows. Communities are concerned about having enough water to meet their health and safety needs. If we stay on track like this, we will see in our children’s lifetimes over half of California’s freshwater species facing extinction and water supplies unavailable necessary for farming communities becoming even more unreliable.
It is past time for the state of California to formulate a serious drought response plan that will prevent widespread hardships for both people and nature. Climate models show us that drought is not a temporary or “emergency” condition; it is a permanent feature of our drying climate. If our state recognizes that drought is the new normal, we can do more to prepare and avoid the impacts of extremely dry years in the future. To accomplish this, we need proactive drought response that aligns planning, water policy, and smart investment of public dollars to accelerate the pace and scale of drought preparedness.
The California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition has a vision for this transition and a plan to build water resilience for people and native species, involving:
CalTrout’s Legal & Policy Team is busy working to make this vision a reality. We believe that passing legislation will help California realize the drought preparedness it needs.
This year, Assembly Member Jim Wood introduced Assembly Bill 2451, legislation that represents a major step toward our vision to improve drought response in California. The bill would:
CalTrout believes drought action is imperative now, and this bill will help us create this much needed action. Stay tuned for future updates from us on the progress of this bill.