The Mountain Lion Foundation – whose founding fathers include Governor Newsom’s own father Bill Newsom – thanks the legislature and the Governor for coming together to agree during challenging times to avoid cuts to the Department of Fish and Wildlife that otherwise would have jeopardized efforts to manage more than 600 declining species, including mountain lions, whales, and migratory birds, and more than one million acres of state lands, such as state wildlife areas. The budget deal reached this week rejects a proposed $33.7 million cut in General Fund for the Biodiversity Conservation Program. The budget deal also maintains a deal reached last year to extend the Habitat Conservation Fund (HCF) until 2030. The HCF was originally created by voters in 1990 through passage of Prop 117, and has provided nearly $1 billion in important conservation funding across three decades.
“With southern California and central coast lions imperiled and threatened with extinction, now is not the time to walk back critical efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts and scientific efforts to understand the drivers of threats to keystone species,” said Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation. “We are so grateful to Governor Newsom, legislative leaders, and to those within the conservation and wildlife protection community that spoke up and took action.”