Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Helping nature in underserved communities

I sit on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Our local water district is very different from most districts, who view their mission as getting as much water as possible no matter the consequence, and placing development over flood planning and environmental protection. Our water district has come a long way. The County passed a "Clean Safe Creeks" parcel tax measure to finance environmental improvements, and lately our advisory committee has been helping design guidelines for spending that money.

One criterion emphasized supporting environmental improvements in underserved areas, which would often be poor communities of color with a creek area full of trash, barriers to fish passage, and non-native weeds. I supported the criterion but noted it was given little weight compared to other criteria. I moved that it be made one of the most important criteria for determining which projects received funding, and my motion had unanimous support.

I think improving access to natural areas for communities of color, and improving the quality of those natural areas, are important work opportunities for groups like CGF.


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