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Proposition 3 and its Environmental Effects

By Nicole Chan

In the November midterm election, several new laws would be voted on by the general public. Many of these pertain to our daily lives and may have a huge impact on our lives and the environment. An example of this is Proposition 3, which would authorize $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater supplies and storage, surface water storage and dam repairs, etc.

What are some positive effects of Proposition 3?

As mentioned above, Proposition 3 would authorize a large sum of money to repair dams, groundwater and surface water storage, and most other water infrastructure. Without a doubt, this proposition would benefit the water supplies of California, which, in turn, can lessen the damage a future drought can cause. More importantly, $80 million of this proposition would be used to remove Matilija Dam, located in Ojai, California(Wilson). This 71-year-old structure needs to be removed due to the weakening structure of the concrete. Also, the dam blocks the migration of steelhead trouts upstream to their historical spawning grounds. Plus, it also prevents sand and gravel from moving to the coast and supplying beaches with sediment. Therefore, by voting “yes” on Proposition 3 and removing the Matilija Dam, the population of steelhead trouts in the region can benefit with an easier route of migration. A richer sediment in California’s beaches will also replenish nutrients to the aquatic ecosystem(“Sediment Transport and Deposition.”).

In addition to removing the Matilija Dam, Proposition 3 would also use the money to improve water storage in California. This could be beneficial as some areas in California are still experiencing drought, with 28.6% facing moderate drought and 16.6% facing severe drought (“Drought in California”). Prop 3 will help prepare cities and farms for future droughts and recycle wastewater for irrigation and industrial purposes. Plus, the funds would make watersheds more fire resilient, which can make sure the watersheds can continue to produce water(Meral). All in all, Proposition 3 will benefit California by authorizing money to prepare for future droughts.

What are some negative effects of Proposition 3?

Some prominent groups opposes Proposition 3, namely the Sierra Club, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Sacramento Bee. The main reason to oppose this proposition is that there have already been two other water bonds, similar to Prop 3, that were passed in the past four years. The $4 billion state bond to improve parks and for water projects was passed in June 2018, while $7.5 billion water bond was passed in 2014 (San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board). The opponents for this proposition feel that a third water bond in four years is impractical. Meanwhile, other sources cites environmental issues that come with Proposition 3: creating incentives that could harm endangered species, and shifts money away from important upland habitat conservation. Proposition 3 does not include prohibitions of expenditures of funds that would harm wildlife, such as eliminating flooding of rice fields and the disking of fallowed agricultural fields. Both of these activities would harm migratory birds and other species that reside in the upland habitat. Moreover, Proposition 3 would shift money away from necessary habitat conservation. The Sierra Club believes that “if there is to be a reallocation of that fund, a substantial percentage should go to wildlife corridor conservation in the face of climate change” (“Prop 3 FAQ”). In conclusion, opponents of Proposition 3 believe that another water bond is redundant and impractical, and would harm the environment.

Works Cited

“Drought in California.” California | Drought.gov, 26 Oct. 2018, www.drought.gov/drought/states/california.

Meral, Gerald H. “Opinion: Prop. 3 Will Provide Clean, Safe, Reliable Water.” The Mercury News, The Mercury News, 14 Sept. 2018, www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/14/opinion-prop-3-will-provide-clean-safe-reliable-water/.

Prop 3 FAQ. Sierra Club, www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/sierra-club-california/PDFs/Prop3_FAQ.pdf.

San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board. “Proposition 3: Two Biggest Reasons to Oppose Water Bond in November Election.” Sandiegouniontribune.com, 24 Oct. 2018, www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/endorsements/sd-proposition-3-water-bond-20180911-story.html.

“Sediment Transport and Deposition.” Environmental Measurement Systems, www.fondriest.com/environmental-measurements/parameters/hydrology/sediment-transport-deposition/.

Wilson, Kathleen. “$8.9 Billion Water Bond Promises $80 Million to Fund Removal of Matilija Dam.” Ventura County Star, Ventura County Star, 24 Oct. 2018, www.vcstar.com/story/news/2018/10/23/8-9-billion-water-bond-promises-fund-removal-matilija-dam/1461188002/.

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