Shaping Policy to Support Our Vision of Restored Streamflows
To realize the Coalition’s vision for collaborative water management and restored streamflows, we need to build a supportive policy architecture in fields such as water use, habitat restoration, conservation investment, and endangered species recovery.
The Coalition’s policy arm is tasked with building off our ground restoration experience and hard science focus to shape policy both in the state legislature and at the agency level.
In this time of drought and financial uncertainty, we will lean on the Coalition’s collective expertise to ensure that California sustains its investment in this work, with the support of elected officials, agency management, and the public.
The Coalition’s policy work falls into three main areas:
- Influencing new policy and public investment in conservation through the California legislature
- Working with agencies to implement existing policy in ways that support our on-the ground work
- Streamlining existing policy and eliminating “green tape” that slows the progress of restoration
Another main element of the Coalition’s policy work is the pursuit of policy initiatives at the agency level.
In many cases the agencies have the existing legal authority to carry out policies that will improve streamflows and support salmon and steelhead recovery.
The challenge is to focus these resources in effective ways.
A lead example is our work with CDFW on the North Coast Salmon Project, an ambitious program to re-think how that agency’s various actions – including permitting of water rights, funding of restoration projects, and enforcement of fishing regulations – can be modified to accelerate coho salmon recovery.
The Project’s initial phases will focus on four watersheds – Lagunitas Creek, the South Fork Eel, tributaries of the lower Russian, and the Mendocino Coast – which are all watersheds where our Coalition has active projects.
Another area where the Coalition has taken a lead role is agency monitoring of salmon and steelhead populations.
We worked to bring the CDFW and the National Marine Fisheries Service together to find a common strategy around implementing a monitoring program for salmonids that will finally give California consistent data on salmon and steelhead migrating to and from our important salmonid streams.