Grassroots environmental organizations including the Friends of the River, the American River Conservancy and California Native Plant Society, have reported dwindling income in recent years, the result of declining foundation funds and membership donations available due to the current economic disaster.
Many organizations are having to lay off key staff, close offices and curtail their programs. Environmental justice, river advocacy and grassroots groups working to restore salmon and other fish populations have been particularly hard hit.
While local and state groups are facing cuts in their programs, the CEOs and top staff of large foundations and environmental NGOs – referred to by some as “Gang Green” or “Big Green” – are raking in huge salaries, up to $1,196,037.00 per year.
At the same time that it is increasingly difficult for grassroots environmental organizations to keep their doors open, Californians are faced with some of their greatest environmental challenges ever, including Governor Jerry Brown’s plan, announced on July 25, 2012, to build twin peripheral tunnels around the Delta to export more northern California water to corporate agribusiness and southern California.
The same Governor has continued many of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s other abysmal environmental polices, including forging ahead with the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called marine protected areas on the California coast, killing record numbers of Sacramento splittail, a native fish in 2011 and exporting record levels of water out of the California Delta last year.