Seven Things Illegal or Wrong About the State Raid on Watershed Programs

As California enters its most serious water crisis in decades, two key water-related agencies, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Conservation, have ordered grassroots conservation and water education programs to cease all activity. On December 19, 2008, notices were sent to scores of grassroots organizations throughout California instructing them to cease all activity and informing them that they would not be paid for services already rendered.

  1. Conservation, water quality testing and other vital water management programs will be eliminated in the midst of a state-declared drought.
  2. Contracts govern these grant programs, but the State seems to be trying to unilaterally end the contracts retroactively and without notice.
  3. Besides ceasing all future activity, these state agencies are refusing to pay for work already accomplished.
  4. The State is notoriously slow in processing invoices, but now it refuses to pay for invoices that have been caught in the state's administrative quagmire for many months.
  5. Bond funds are limited to specific functions, primarly related to the development of facilites and related programs; raiding the bond funds to cover other State expenses is illegal.
  6. These bond funds were approved by the voters for environmental management and water programs; it is wrong for state bureaucrats to thwart the will of the voters and eliminate these programs.
  7. For several years the grassroots organizations now being slashed have been working diligently with state agencies to build a statewide watershed management program. The grants are "capacity-building" programs to improve the management of watersheds and water resources throught the state. These orders to cease will lead to the termination of carefully-trained watershed experts and cause financial hardship for the individuals and organizations involved.

Impact on Arroyo Seco Programs