Resolving the Ruckus

Proposition 68

Copy of vote.jpg

California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018

initiative statute


Official Summary

Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for: parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. Fiscal Impact: Increased state bond repayment costs averaging $200 million annually over 40 years. Local government savings for natural resources-related projects, likely averaging several tens of millions of dollars annually over the next few decades


  • The state would pay approximately $2.3 billion in interest

  • The measure would also reallocate $100 million in unissued bonds that voters approved via Proposition 1 (2014), Proposition 84 (2006), and Proposition 40 (2002).

  • For several of the programs funded by this bond, recipients—mostly local governments—would only be eligible to receive the funding if they provide some funding to support the projects.

  • The proposition also includes several provisions designed to assist “disadvantaged communities” and very disadvantaged communities (generally, communities with lower average incomes). For example, the local cost-share requirement would not apply to most of the grants provided to these communities. In addition, the proposition requires that for each use specified in the bond, at least 15 percent of the funds benefit very disadvantaged communities.

  • This bill passed the State Assembly Sept 15, 2017, the Senate on Sept 16, 2017, and was signed by the Governor Oct 15, 2017. Why is this on the ballot? The California Constitution requires that general obligation bond issues of $300,000 or more be referred to voters for approval or rejection.

summary of allocations

summary of allocations


  • Allocations:

    • $725 million - creation and expansion of safe neighborhood parks in park-poor neighborhoods

      • including $48 million for central valley, Inland Empire, gateway, rural, and desert communities

      • $22 million to desert community towns in the County of San Bernardino (population <22,000)

    • $350 million - flood protection facilities, levee improvements, and related investments that protect persons and property from flood damage in the Central Valley

    • $290 million - drought and groundwater investments, including groundwater recharge with surface water, stormwater, and recycled water and projects to prevent contamination of groundwater sources of drinking water

    • $250 million - clean drinking water and drought programs

      • $30 million to San Joaquin River

    • $218 million - restoration and preservation of existing state park facilities

      • first priority to deferred maintenance

      • $10 million for projects that facilitate new or enhanced park use and user experiences and increase revenue generation to support operations

      • local cost share min 25%, unless disadvantaged community

      • $18 million for facility improvements for county fairs

      • $30 million for lower cost coastal accommodation project development in units of the state park system

      • $25 million for protection, restoration, and enhancement of natural resources

      • at least $10 million each in : Central Valley, Central Coast, East Bay, Imperial and Coachella Valley, Inland Empire

    • $200 million - per capita grants to local governments for the improvement of local parks

      • local community has to match 20%, unless severely disadvantaged

      • $15 million for urbanized counties (population > 500,000)

      • County minimum of $400,000

      • 40% of total: Allocation of funds shall be in same ratio as the county's population is to the total state population.

    • $200 million - Natural Resources Agency to implement agreements for water quality, water supply, and watershed protection projects

    • $180 million - state conservancies

      • $30 million each: San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy; Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; Sierra Nevada Conservancy

      • $27 million: California Tahoe Conservancy

      • $20 million each: San Francisco Bay

      • $12 million: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy; San Diego River Conservancy

      • $7 million: Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy

      • $6 million: Baldwin Hills Conservancy; San Joaquin River Conservancy

    • $175 million - projects related to ocean, bay, and coastal protection

      • $85 million to State Coastal Conservancy for protection of beaches, bays, wetlands and coastal watershed resources - 25% to San Francisco Bay Area Conservation Program

      • $35 million to California Ocean Protection Trust Fund

      • $30 million to State Coastal Conservancy for lower cost coastal accommodation grants and project development to public agencies and nonprofit organizations

      • $20 million to State Coastal Conservancy for coastal forest watersheds

      • $5 million to State Coastal Conservancy for acquisition of land to help estuarine lagoons

    • $170 million - restoration activities identified in the Salton Sea Management Program Phase I

    • $162 million - grants to conservancies and programs to protect urban creeks and streams

      • local communities must match 20%

      • $37.5 million to Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

      • $37.5 million to San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy

      • $20 million to Los Angeles River in the City of Glendale

      • $16 million to Santa Ana River Conservancy Program

      • $15 million to San Fernando Valley / Los Angeles River watershed

      • $10 million to Lower American River Conservancy Program

      • $10 million to Santa Margarita River (San Diego)

      • %5 million to Clear Lake

      • $3 million to Los Gatos Creek and Upper Guadalupe River Watersheds

      • $3 million to Russian River

    • $137 million - Wildlife Conservation Board to provide regional conservation investment strategies, conservation plans, funds for the UC Natural Reserve System, and to improve national recreation areas serving urbanized areas

    • $100 million - programs to prevent damages from stormwater, mudslides, and flash floods

    • $100 million - competitive grants for multibenefit projects in urbanized areas to address flooding, including stormwater capture and reuse, low-impact development planning, urban watershed restoration, and permeable surfaces

    • $80 million - competitive grants for groundwater cleanup of contaminated drinking water sources

    • $60 million - improvement of wildlife and fish passage, incl 1/2 for Southern California Steelhead

    • $60 million - protection and restoration of upper watershed lands in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains that improve water supply and quality

    • $60 million - competitive grants to protect natural, cultural, historic, and Native American resources; covert retired fossil fuel powerplant sites for open space, parks, or tourism; science centers; civic and athletic venues; cultural centers that recognize that contributions of the state's ethnic communities; and nonprofit aquariums

      • $20 million for multi-benefit green infrastructure in disadvantaged communities

    • $50 million - Department of Fish and Wildlife to address deferred maintenance

    • $50 million - projects that provide ecological restoration of forests, including projects to reduce fire risk

      • min 30% for urban forestry projects, min 50% of that to previously underserved local entities

      • 50% to Sierra Nevada Conservancy

    • $40 million - grants to local jurisdictions whose voters passed local measures between 2012 and 2018 to improve local or regional park infrastructure

      • minimum $250,000 per recipient

    • $40 million - to California Ocean Protection Trust for projects to assist coastal communities with adaptation to climate change, including projects that address ocean acidification, sea level rise, or habitat restoration

      • 35% for San Francisco; 12% for West Coyote Hills

    • $40 million - California Conservation Corps to rehabilitate state and local parks and restore watersheds

    • $30 million - grants to regional park districts, counties, open-space districts, joint powers authorities, and eligible nonprofit organizations to restore and improve parks

    • $30 million - grants to local agencies, state conservancies, Native American tribes, joint powers authorities, and nonprofit organizations to promote new or alternative access to parks, waterways, outdoor recreation, and natural environments

    • $30 million - Salton Sea Authority to provide air quality and habitat projects

    • $30 million - protection and restoration of habitat associated with the Pacific Flyway

    • $30 million - Department of Fish and Wildlife to improve conditions for fish and wildlife in streams, rivers, wildlife refuges, wetland habitat areas, and estuaries

    • $30 million - projects on farms and ranches to sequester carbon, improve habitat, reduce development pressures, and increase water absorption and retention

    • $25 million - competitive grants to rural areas for recreational projects to support economic and health-related goals

    • $25 million - stream restoration to benefit fisheries and wildlife

    • $18 million - Wildlife Conservation Board to provide wildlife corridors and open space, improve threatened and endangered species habitat, improve adaptation and resilience of natural systems to climate change, protect and improve existing open-space corridors and trail linkages, provide wildlife rehabilitation facilities, control invasive plants or insects, improve aquatic or riparian habitat, provide projects to benefit salmon and steelhead, provide hunting and wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities through agreements with private landowners

    • $15 million - grants to cities and districts in urbanized counties with populations of 200,000 or less that provide park and recreation services

  • Rules

    • California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Fund is created

    • Not more than 5% of a grant program may be used for administrative costs.

    • Up to 10% of funds allocated can be used for planning and monitoring, more if the project benefits a disadvantaged community.

    • At least 20% of funds shall be allocated to severely disadvantaged communities, 15% of projects that enhance and protect coastal and ocean resources or projects that plan, develop, and implement climate adaptation and resiliency projects.

    • Up to 10% may be allocated for technical assistance to disadvantaged communities.

    • A project whose application includes the use of services of the California Conservation Corps or certified community conservation corps shall be given preference for receipt of a grant under this division.

    • A project that includes water efficiencies, stormwater capture for infiltration or reuse, or carbon sequestration features in the project design may be given priority for grant funding.


  • In recent years, the state has spent about $5 billion annually to support programs to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, provide flood protection, improve water quality, and offer recreational opportunities for the public.

  • Since 2000, voters have authorized about $27 billion in General Obligation bonds in statewide elections to fund various natural resources projects.

  • As of December 1, 2017, California had $73.33 billion in debt from general obligation (GO) bonds. The state repays GO bonds over time, with interest, using the state’s General Fund.