Save Coyote Hills Gets $19.8M for Acquisition

The effort to Save Coyote Hills got a real boost this week when $19.8M was allocated to the California State Coastal Conservancy to acquire and open West Coyote Hills. This was thanks to Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and former State Senator Josh Newman.

$15M is funded through SB-862, California’s 2018-2019 budget. The remaining $4.8M is funded through SB-5 as a result of Proposition 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond Act voters passed on June 5, 2018.

These fundings are significant in that they are not grants that are open to other projects. They are specifically for West Coyote Hills.

The history of the $15M dates back to last year’s state budget when Senator Josh Newman authored SB-714 to fund a Coyote Hills Conservancy starting with $15M. Since SB-714 did not pass, the $15M in the 2017-2018 budget could never be spent. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva came to the rescue and amended the 2018-2019 budget bill to re-appropriate the fund directly to the State Coastal Conservancy in care of West Coyote Hills.

The 2018-2019 budget bill is on its way for Governor Jerry Brown to sign. The $15M expires by June 30, 2023.

Although $19.8M is probably not enough to purchase all 510-acres of West Coyote Hills, it’s a great start to the Coastal Conservancy’s new Coyote Hills Conservation Program. Large acquisitions like this usually raise funds in stages and from multiple sources. This near $20M will act as a catalyst for other agencies to grant more funds to grow the acquisition.

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