Measure AA will raise $500 million over 20 years, providing a third of the total $1.5 billion needed to reach the restoration goal. Even with the help of an assortment of other grants, they’re currently less than 30 percent funded.
The Measure AA money hasn’t been used yet — the first year of tax collection ends this month. The regional San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority will review project proposals from various environmental organizations this fall, and the initial round of funds will be distributed to the chosen projects in early 2018.
The slow influx of funds from Measure AA is better than nothing, but additional funding is needed if adequate restoration is to occur before the 2030 deadline.
“The longer you wait, the more expensive this is going to get,” said John Bourgeois, executive director of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project — one of the biggest players in bringing back local marshlands. The project was established in 2003 by the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Coastal Conservancy.