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Asm. Wood Introduces Bill to Improve Drought Preparedness for North and Central Coastal Watersheds

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO–Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) has introduced AB 1272, legislation that will direct the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop principles and guidelines that can improve climate resiliency and drought preparedness which will benefit the water supplies for both people and fish in coastal Northern and Central California.

Developing policies for the diversion and use of water in coastal watersheds during times of water shortage and dry-year water management plans at the watershed level will enable water users and stakeholders to create drought response measures tailored to local conditions and inform future investments in watershed health and water supply reliability.

“Drought is not an episodic event and has not been for decades,” said Wood. “The periods of drought are longer, more frequent, more severe and seriously threaten the health of rivers and streams, the wildlife that inhabit them and the ability to provide our communities, including the North Coast in my district, with safe and affordable drinking water.”

“Having consistent and predictable drought response helps both fish and people,” said Redgie Collins, Legal and Policy Director for California Trout. “Our salmon and steelhead are in decline and common sense actions, such as AB 1272, will ensure that they have a future here in California.”

Matt Clifford, California Director of Law and Policy for Trout Unlimited stated, “The North and Central coast have suffered widespread impacts during the recent spate of severe dry years, with rural communities literally running out of water and salmon streams going dry. Yet in contrast to other parts of the state, there is currently no region-wide process in place to address these impacts – even though we know solutions exist. What we need are workable plans to preserve streamflows for drinking water and fish habitat under drought conditions, based on solid science and input from water users and local communities.”

“California is experiencing water whiplash – more frequent and longer droughts, punctuated by more intense storms—a byproduct of our changing climate. AB 1272 is critical to proactively address this new reality that we are facing,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of Policy and External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy. “By enacting AB 1272, we can better protect important coastal rivers and provide more sustainable water supplies for both people and nature.”

“I’m very proud to have the strong support of the California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition, an impressive partnership of California Trout, The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited, as we pursue this legislation,” said Wood.

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