Welcome to Capitol Corner, a blog 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). Between these three, they are responsible for the development and implementation of CalTrout’s natural resource and water policy agenda in the California state legislature. This includes supporting CalTrout’s organizational goals through regulatory and public funding advocacy, agency relationship building, partnership development and other policy-related objectives that add to CalTrout’s success.
By Redgie Collins and Analise Rivero
CalTrout’s Legal and Policy team is heading into 2022 with an abundance of optimism. In early November, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office reported that the state expects an anticipated $31 billion surplus for fiscal year 2022-23. In more exciting news, California has already smashed the previously recorded snowfall record for December. These windfalls in both excess funding and precipitation are exciting; California will need to capitalize on this good fortune.
While the snow is a welcomed sight, California remains in a declared emergency drought and has been for nine out of the last fifteen years. The seven largest reservoirs all remain well below historical average; one large winter is unlikely to solve this prolonged dry period.
In order to help California better prepare for drought, CalTrout is leading the effort for a state drought package that includes significant funding for a permanent drought unit at the State Water Control Board, and asks agencies to better predict when emergency water saving measures should be enacted. Be sure to follow CalTrout for more details on this legislation as we enter the 2022 legislative cycle.
In other news, our South Coast office is leading the charge in listing the Southern California steelhead under the California Endangered Species Act. The Policy team is supporting the amazing work by Sandi Jacobson and Russell Marlow by working with the Fish and Game Commission and Southern California legislators to underscore the importance of additional state protections for Southern steelhead.
Next year, CalTrout will have a score of other important projects, including further implementation of Cutting the Green Tape Initiative and supporting equitable access to the outdoors, but our primary focus will be steering the massive budget surplus to state agencies that support watershed-level projects.
Our work is made possible by not only our dedicated members, but our partners. Without the support and trust of other conservation groups, tribal nations, and environmental justice organizations, CalTrout wouldn’t be able to reach its true potential. The Policy Team will continue to work to develop partnerships with every group that supports our mission.
 UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/california/uc-berkeleys-central-sierra-snow-lab-records-snowiest-december-on-record/2765079/