After the California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 hearing discussing Governor Gavin Newsom’s state budget proposal, Tom Birmingham, Westlands Water District general manager, issued the following statement in strong support of the California Natural Resources Agency’s “Proposition 68: Habitat Improvement” budget change proposal (BCP):
“Robust, effective habitat restoration is critical to supporting at-risk species and ensuring a reliable water supply for our environment, agriculture, communities and economy. This habitat improvement funding represents an important step toward early implementation of the Voluntary Agreements, and we stand in strong support of these efforts to improve the health of the Sacramento River, San Joaquin River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.”
As part of its commitment to restoring the viability of at-risk species, Westlands has invested heavily in habitat restoration projects. Most recently, Westlands completed construction of the Lower Yolo Ranch Project, which restored and enhanced approximately 2,100 acres of former cattle pastureland in the Lower Yolo Bypass into tidal marsh, riparian, and upland buffer habitat that will provide new sources of food and shelter for native fish, including smelt and salmon. The project was completed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources and advances the California EcoRestore initiative.
Westlands is among a number of entities working collaboratively to advance the Voluntary Agreements (VAs). An October 2020 Roadmap to Achieving the Voluntary Agreements highlighted the District’s and other public water agencies’ commitment to early implementation, integrated actions and collaborative decision-making.