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Legislative Update: Governor’s Revised Budget Includes Additional Funds for Fish and Wildlife Department

The proposal increases the California Department of Fish and Wildlife budget by $252.1 million, according to the CDFW.

SACRAMENTO— On May 14 Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $100 billion economic recovery package dubbed the “California Comeback Plan” and a revised 2021-22 California budget, which includes additional funding for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Among the highlights is $1.3 million for the Drift Gill Net Transition Program, which provides a one-time payment for fishermen and women voluntarily transitioning out of the drift gill net shark and swordfish fishery and funding to improve license purchasing technology and provide a mobile application to display fishing and hunting licenses.

CDFW issued nearly two million sport fishing licenses in 2020, an 11 percent increase from 2019. Much of the sales increase was credited to Californians seeking safe outdoor activities during the pandemic.

The “California Comeback Plan” is part of the Governor’s revised 2021-22 budget, which includes a boost in funding for many sectors after an unexpected budget surplus of $75.7 billion from tax revenues.

The proposal increases the CDFW budget by $252.1 million, according to the CDFW. The comeback plan and revised budget include funds to safeguard California’s biodiversity, protect endangered species and their habitats, support the Cutting the Green Tape initiative, enhance drought preparedness through the water resilience package, increase renewable energy on land and in the ocean, and address other CDFW’s budget shortfalls identified through years of in-depth budget analysis and research through the Service-Based Budgeting (SBB) Project.

Directed by the Legislature, and working with many diverse stakeholders, CDFW conducted the SBB project, one of the first and most comprehensive state agency reviews of its budget, tasks, and labor needs. The SBB project defined CDFW activities, tasks, and resources required to deliver their mission and was delivered in a report to the Legislature in January.

“It is through the continued engagement by a wide range of stakeholders that CDFW was able to show needed resource increases that are reflected in this budget proposal,” said CDFW in a press release.

To advance implementation of the SBB Legislative Report recommendations and the mission of the CDFW, the revised budget proposed $3.8 million in ongoing General Funds to continue the Cutting Green Tape Initiative and a $80.9 million one-time allotment to deliver more effective and efficient services with limited-term and temporary-help staff, make strategic investments in equipment and technology, address a deferred maintenance backlog, and advance process improvements. These one-time investments build upon the $41.8 million one-time General Fund allotment included in the Governor’s budget and help the CDFW continue to improve mission levels of service, according to the budget summary.

CDFW said the proposal will allow the agency to augment major efforts underway to increase access to natural resources throughout California. This includes increasing access to approximately 1.2 million acres of ecological reserves and wildlife areas. These efforts also include increasing tribal representation and care for cultural resources, focusing on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion both within the CDFW workforce and among constituents.

The Legislature has until June 15 to pass a budget and the governor has until July 1 to sign a budget.


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