This week the House of Representatives took a big step toward providing urgently needed funding to restore San Francisco Bay and prepare the Bay Area for the threats of climate change and sea level rise. The House passed the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act (HR610), sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier. HR610 authorizes $125 million over five years for wetland restoration, water quality improvement, and climate adaptation. It also creates a new permanent San Francisco Bay program office within the Environmental Protection Agency.
We are grateful to Rep. Speier for leading this effort in Congress, and for the support of Speaker Pelosi and the entire Bay Area House delegation.
We’ve recently written about the disparity in federal funding for San Francisco Bay compared with other major water bodies.
This bill offers a chance to correct decades of underinvestment by the federal government, and to match the restoration funding that Bay Area residents overwhelmingly voted for in 2016 by passing Measure AA.
As sea levels rise, it is critically important that we accelerate our work to restore tidal marshes along the Bay’s shoreline. These areas act as a buffer to protect shoreline communities, insulate critical infrastructure like roads and water treatment plants, and reestablish habitat for endangered fish and wildlife.
Now attention turns to the Senate where Senators Feinstein and Padilla introduced a version of the same bill. As we look to the Senate to provide final approval for this important legislation, we will continue our advocacy to ensure that a healthy and resilient San Francisco Bay remains a priority at the regional, state, and federal levels.