Governor Brown Signs Toni Atkins’ Bill to Strengthen San Diego River Conservancy

September 26, 2017

Gov. Jerry Brown today signed Senate Bill 214, legislation authored by Sen. Toni Atkins that will strengthen the capacity of the San Diego River Conservancy to protect and enhance historic, cultural and natural resources within the watershed along the 52-mile San Diego River.

SB 214 builds upon Assembly Bill 392, legislation authored by Atkins in 2015 that made the San Diego River Conservancy a permanent entity. SB 214 adds representation from the City of Santee and the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy to the San Diego River Conservancy’s Board of Directors. It also provides the conservancy with greater ability to enter into joint-powers agreements.

“The San Diego River is a rural and urban waterway running from Julian to Ocean Beach that remains undiscovered by many local residents and visitors alike. We must continue to enhance public access to the river and protect its entire 440-square-mile watershed,” Atkins said. “SB 214 adds new tools to the toolbox and bolsters efforts along the eastern portions of the river by bringing to the table our partners from Santee and tribal reservation land.”

The San Diego River Conservancy is slated to receive $12 million from a major parks and water bond that will be placed on the June 2018 statewide ballot, pending the governor’s signature on SB 5, which passed the Legislature earlier this month.

Meanwhile, still on Gov. Brown’s desk is SB 667, another bill by Atkins that aims to improve California’s waterways. SB 667 would create the Riverine and Riparian Stewardship Program, which would provide technical assistance with planning, design, construction and project evaluation to organizations seeking to enhance or restore waterways in their communities, reduce flood risk, improve habitat or improve public access. SB 667 appropriates no money; however, it would be a candidate for funding under the parks bond.