State Budget Mess Dries Up Grant Money

Just a few years old, the state funded Sierra Nevada Conservancy has become a victim of the state budget mess. In the Eastern Sierra that means that state grants for local projects, paid through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, have been cut. Local non-profits, like Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access received word late last week that their state grant money had run dry and that they were to stop work on any project funded by the Conservancy.

John Wentworth with the MLTPA, writes that the non-profit that has worked hand in hand with the Town of Mammoth on trails, recreation, and transportation issues, now has no budge to pay for employees. Our 2007 grant from the SNC for $120,099, contracted and being spent and budgeted to get us through March of 2009, has been indefinitely suspended,

Wentworth reports, that the Town of Mammoth also had two Sierra Nevada Conservancy grants suspended, but Mammoth voters passed measure R, the sales tax raise for parks and recreation which will allow Town staff to continue with the environmental work on the Trails Master Plan along with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The Town of Mammoth and the MLTPA are not the only groups working with SNC grants. The Conservancy website lists $1.4 million dollars in grants for the Eastern Sierra in fiscal year 07-08. The grants are slated to pay for work that has been done and work yet to be completed on projects like the fuels reduction efforts in the Mono Basin, Twin Lakes Area, Swauger Creek near Bridgeport, and Mill City. Inyo County has grants for the recreation plan on the Lower Owens River Project and other projects.

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