SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yes on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay today announced that Senator Dianne Feinstein has agreed to be an Honorary Co-Chair of the first-ever, region-wide campaign to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay.
The June 2016 measure proposes a $12 per year parcel tax that would raise $500 million over 20 years to fund critical conservation and flood protection projects, including the restoration of 15,000 acres of wetlands and creation of 25 miles of new Bay Trails.
“Measure AA is an unprecedented opportunity for all Bay Area residents to unite in support of the Bay we love, and improve it a lot for very little cost,” said Senator Feinstein. “The Bay is the very heart of our region’s identity, and is vital to the economic and ecological future of California. It is up to us to protect and restore it for the benefit of our children and our children’s children.”
Feinstein joins civic leader Bob Fisher as Honorary Co-Chair of the campaign, which has received broad support from local elected officials, environmental, business, labor, and philanthropic groups, and civic leaders, more than 70 of whom have already endorsed the measure.
“I am honored that Senator Feinstein has joined me as an Honorary Co-Chair of this campaign. The Senator, as much as anyone else, has championed the cause of the San Francisco Bay, and her leadership here is just the latest of her long list of efforts on its behalf over many years,” said Fisher.
Senator Feinstein, a lifelong Bay Area resident, has been a consistent voice on behalf of protecting the San Francisco Bay. In 2003, she led the effort to secure 16,500 acres of salt ponds and shoreline property for wetlands restoration to clean the Bay’s waters, expand wildlife habitat, build miles of new Bay Trails, and provide flood protection for threatened communities and critical public infrastructure.
The San Francisco Bay is challenged by trash, toxins and sea-level rise among other threats. For the Bay to be healthy and sustainable, it ultimately needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to filter pollution from its waters and increase habitats for fish, birds and other wildlife that make up its rich and diverse ecosystem. These wetlands will also allow for further expansion of public access to the shoreline, and protect low-lying communities and critical infrastructure from the increased risk of flooding due to extreme weather and rising seas brought about by climate change.
Each year, rising seas swamp more and more of the shoreline, leaving less wetlands to restore and making restoration of those that remain more expensive to complete. The recently completed Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Update, a report that represents the consensus of scientists who study the San Francisco Bay, concluded that only 20 to 30 years remain for restoration that had previously been planned to take place over a period of 50 years.
Right now, the Bay has only 44,000 acres of tidal wetlands, and while more than 30,000 shoreline acres have been preserved from development and are awaiting restoration, lack of funding has slowed progress. Yes on Measure AA will generate sorely needed funding for the restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands, benefiting the people, wildlife, and economy of Bay Area communities. This local funding will also help the region leverage the additional state and federal funding necessary to finish the job.
Senator Feinstein said now is the time to step up and protect the Bay before it’s too late.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t given our Bay all the support that it needs to stay clean and healthy, and we haven’t done everything needed to protect the Bay shoreline from increasing flood risk,” Senator Feinstein said. “If we want to pass a clean and healthy Bay on to future generations and protect our shoreline from increasing flood risk due to climate change and fast-rising seas, the time is now and this measure is a giant step toward the solution.”