Assemblyman wants to spruce up waterways |

Assemblyman wants to spruce up waterways

Assemblyman Tim Leslie wants Californians to have the opportunity to Adopt A Waterway.

The Tahoe City Republican introduced the bill this month with the inspiration of legislation that helped beautify highways.

If approved, the Department of Water Resources Assembly Bill 66 would allow volunteers to restore waterways. It would also authorize the Department of Transportation to place signs along the nearest highway to recognize the support of program volunteers.

“My hope is that this will inspire Californians to take a more active role in keeping this vital part of our environment clean and healthy for generations to come,” Leslie said. “Our waterways are among our most precious environmental resources and I believe each of us should have the opportunity to help maintain and preserve them.”

The Adopt-A-Highway program led to the cleanup of 6,000 miles of roadsides with the help from 120,000 Californians.

Another issue the bill aims to address is the problem of nonnative weeds, which experts say are choking California’s waterways.

“We’re approaching a major water crisis in this state, one that will make the energy crisis pale by comparison,” Leslie said. “We simply can’t afford to allow these weeds to fester and grow given the amount of water they consume.”

The bill is assigned to the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, of which Leslie is a member. Right now the bill is stuck in a mandatory 30-day waiting period, but Kevin O’Neill, legislative director for Leslie, said action on it is expected before May.

“It’s a framework,” O’Neill said. “It still has some big holes (in it).”

The purpose of the bill is to help protect waterways in California while state government deals with a huge deficit, O’Neill said.

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