SACRAMENTO, CA, Sept. 16, 2016 – Today, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) announced the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1716, which establishes the Lower American River Conservancy Program with the goal of enhancing and protecting the natural habitat and water conveyance of the American river.

“The Lower American River and the Parkway is the jewel of our community.  This new program will assist us in ensuring that we can continue to improve access, while at the same time protecting this natural resource and preserve the surrounding habitat for future generations.  I thank the Governor for his forward thinking in signing this important legislation,” said Assemblymember McCarty upon passage of the bill.

“My wife loves the parkway and rides in it almost daily,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova). “As a Rancho Cordova Councilmember I championed its preservation, believing in Henry Thoreau’s dictum, ‘In wilderness is the preservation of the world.’ This bill carries this great stewardship ambition forward and makes its funding more secure.”

“Sacramento County is pleased that Governor Brown today signed into law AB1716,” said Roberta MacGlashan, Chair, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. “This bill will enhance the partnership between the State of California and the County of Sacramento in protecting and restoring the American River Parkway. The County wishes to thank all our community supporters and Assemblyman McCarty, Assemblyman Cooley and Senator Pan for their leadership and advocacy for the protection and improvement of the American River Parkway.”

“My constituents were very clear during the development of AB 1716 – they wanted to preserve local control and stewardship of the Parkway,” said Phil Serna, Sacramento County Supervisor, District 1. “With the Governor’s signature, response to that critical concern is now memorialized as law, and Sacramento County looks forward to future funding availability to pursue worthy enhancement projects.”

“Thank you to the Governor for having the foresight to sign AB 1716 which will bring much needed funds to the lower American river parkway for restoration and access,” said Councilmember Jeff Harris.  It has been a pleasure to work with Assemblymember McCarty, Corey Brown, local environmental advocate, and County Representatives to bring this important bill forward.”

The American River Parkway encompasses 5,000 acres of riverfront accessible by bikers and pedestrians.  State conservancies provide a framework for allocating state funds to enhance and protect natural lands and waterways.  Since 1996, of the $740 million of state bond and general funds allocated to rivers, $660 million has gone to rivers with state conservancies however, the American River has only received $3 million.  By establishing the Lower American River Conservancy, the river will be eligible for additional state resources.

AB 1716 will go into effect on January 1, 2017.