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State Budget Crisis Halts Wetlands Work


Aired 4/19/09

California's budget crisis has caused a shutdown of wetlands recovery projects in five Southern California counties. San Diego County is especially hard hit because it has more wetlands than the others. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has the story.

When a state investment board voted to freeze some payments, the decision rippled throughout California.  

San Diego County is no exception.
The state Department of Finance has asked the Coastal Conservancy to suspend work on all contracts and grants funded by state bonds.

The money pays for wetlands restoration projects from Imperial Beach to Oceanside.

The funds also pay for seven employees that work in the five coastal counties on wetlands projects through the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project.

Steve Aceti is with the California Coastal Coalition.

He says the slowdown will affect more than seven jobs.

Aceti: And then you have the consultants that are working on these projects and the contractors and their employees.

He says projects from the Tijuana Estuary to Santa Barbara are affected.  
Officials hope the projects will resume when the state resolves the budget crisis.

But Aceti fears the seven layoffs may be permanent.

And he says the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project may be finished as a state entity.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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