Clean Water & Wildfire Protection Ballot Initiative Effort Launched


Clean Water and Wildfire Protection Advocates Launch Signature-gathering Effort for Countywide Ballot Initiative: Measure Will Address Critical Environmental and Climate Resilience Issues

From Santa Cruz County Residents for Clean Water, Fire Safety and Climate Resilience

On November 16, 2023, local advocates from environmental and community organizations launched the signature-gathering effort for a countywide ballot measure to address critical environmental and climate resilience concerns in Santa Cruz County. The measure focuses on water quality protection, wildfire risk reduction, the health of the Monterey Bay and our beaches, forest preservation, wildlife habitat enhancement, and the improvement of parks and natural areas.

Called the Santa Cruz County Safe Drinking Water, Clean Beaches, Wildfire Risk Reduction, and Wildlife Protection Act, the proposed ballot initiative is supported by local organizations such as Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Coastal Watershed Council, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, Regeneración - Pajaro Valley Climate Action, County Park Friends, Peninsula Open Space Trust and Sempervirens Fund.

"It is vitally important for our community and the natural environment that we do everything we can to protect local rivers, streams and groundwater sources as we face climate change,” said Laurie Egan, executive director of the Coastal Watershed Council, a nonprofit organization working to preserve and protect coastal watersheds, including the revitalization of the San Lorenzo River. “This measure represents an essential investment to address today's challenges and create lasting impact for future generations."

"Our forests and open spaces are part of what makes Santa Cruz County so special. This measure will provide the funding needed to better manage them and protect against the threat of wildfire by managing fuels and protecting habitat, while at the same time improving public access," said Matt De Young, executive director of the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, a local nonprofit organization that builds and maintains trails throughout the region.

The measure will fund local activities that will:

  • Protect groundwater, drinking water sources, and other natural water sources now and for future generations, including local creeks, streams and rivers
  • Preserve and protect the health of the Monterey Bay and our beaches by addressing pollution
  • Reduce the risk of dangerous and damaging wildfires
  • Protect redwood trees and local forests
  • Restore wildlife habitats and protect endangered native species, marine life and wetlands
  • Care for and maintain natural areas, open spaces and parks

“This measure represents a tangible, practical and visionary way for our community to truly make headway against the challenges we’re facing from climate change and other long-term environmental threats,” said Sarah Newkirk, executive director of Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, a local nonprofit organization focused on protecting the natural and working lands that are essential for our community and nature to thrive together for generations to come. “Our local forests, rivers, natural spaces, parks, the Monterey Bay and every resident of our community will benefit immensely from passage of this important ballot measure.”

Learn more at