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New Budget Spends Million For Parkways, Open Space

California is set to spend about $14 million on new river parkways and open land in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges under the budget signed today.

But Governor Schwarzenegger sliced the original nearly $50 million sought by legislators — because the programs will start halfway through the budget year.

Spending $4 million through the Sierra Nevada Cascade Program is contingent on legislative approval of a new Sierra Nevada Conservancy — a sweeping new government body that is drawing opposition from some rural lawmakers.

The new River Parkways Program will spend the remaining $10 million on projects to help with recreation, wildlife habitat, water quality, flooding, and river restoration or conservation.