Explore the Coast grant program at risk
The California Coastal Conservancy’s ability to support communities that have been systematically excluded from accessing the coast is at risk. This risk comes from the Governor’s California State Budget proposal for 2023, which seeks to cut $2.6 million in Explore the Coast grant funding – potentially impacting dozens of equity centered organizations. Brown Girl Surf believes that adequate and reliable funding for equity based coastal access work is integral to delivering culturally responsive, healing, and relevant beach programming. We will continue to speak up and organize against actions that threaten this work.
What is the issue?
- Governor Newsom has proposed to revert $2.6 million from the Explore the Coast (ETC) program to the CA General Fund with no proposal for alternative funding or support to ETC
- ETC funding cuts are proposed in attempt to fill $22.5 billion deficit in CA budget – revoking the $2.6 million allotted to ETC will have little to no impact on relieving the General Fund and doing so will perpetuate disconnection to nature
What is Explore the Coast?
- The State Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast (ETC) grant program provides grants to public agencies, federally-recognized Tribes and Indigenous communities, and nonprofit organizations for programs that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore California’s spectacular coast and San Francisco Bay shoreline.
- As one of a handful of equity-focused state grant programs, Explore the Coast (ETC) has granted more than $18 million to organizations, Tribes, and agencies who work directly with communities facing barriers to coastal access.
- In addition to redressing harms such as inadequate access to nature, community disinvestment, and disproportionate climate impacts, the ETC program also educates and inspires the coastal stewards of our future.
What impact will cutting funding have?
- These funds directly support programs like Brown Girl Surf and others who work to dismantle systemic barriers to coastal access. Restricting and removing this funding will limit the organizations that already receive financial support from ETC and impede other organizations from being allotted funding to continue programming that is essential to environmental and social justice along the California Coast
- Since 2013, the Conservancy has awarded over $18.2 million in 296 separate Explore the Coast grants (updated October 2022).
- The organizations impacted by this cut are working with a majority of communities who have been historically excluded from ocean joy and healing. This cut will further ostracize those with the least access. *ETC Priority Communities include but are not limited to lower-income individuals and households, people with disabilities, people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, immigrant communities, and foster youth, among others.
Why are we advising against the budget cut?
- Equitable access advocates need reliable, sustained sources of funding to continue connecting people to nature and breaking down barriers to access. The ETC program has always granted all of its appropriated funding, and losing such a significant portion of its funding now will stymie partnerships and momentum.
- Equitable access to California’s beautiful coastline aligns with the Governor’s Outdoors4All Initiative, and the ETC program stands alone in its focus to bring systematically excluded communities to the coast and San Francisco Bay Shoreline to participate in joyful, educational stewardship activities and programs.
- Given the climate disasters and ongoing inequities our youth and communities face, taking back committed funds from a program that connects thousands of systematically excluded community members to nature each year is unacceptable.
How can you support our efforts?
The Senate and Assembly Budget subcommittees will be discussing Explore the Coast cuts THIS WEEK, on both Wednesday March 1st and Thursday March 2nd. We understand that this information has a tight deadline so we are only inviting you to do what feels feasible. Every effort helps, here are a few ways to influence these discussions:
1. Call-in to provide public comment about ETC and the impact its had on your experience accessing the coast. BGS will be listening in to both of the meetings, and can notify you when the public comment period is set to begin so you don’t have to wait on hold for too long. We’re told it will start around 12:30pm both 3/1 and 3/2, but depending how long discussion goes, it could be a few hours on either side of this.
- March 1, 2023 Public Comment Line: 877-692-8957 / Access Code: 131 54 47
- March 2, 2023 Public Testimony: Phone Number: 877-226-8216 Access Code: 6785618
2. Submit written testimony in advance of the hearings. Write your legislators and let them know how important the Explore the Coast program has been for you!
- Senate Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy – firstname.lastname@example.org, cc’ing email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Climate Crisis, Resources, Energy, and Transportation – BudgetSub3@asm.ca.gov
3. Join BGS in calling offices of the Senate and Assembly Budget Chairs, Senator Skinner: (916) 651-4009 and Assemblymember Ting: (916) 319-2019 and the Governor: The Office of the Governor, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Hazel Miranda, who covers environmental issues at (916) 445-4341.
If you’re interested in engaging in any of these ways, please email us at email@example.com so we can support you.