On Friday, May 28, 2021 the Fiscal Year 2022 President’s Budget was released, and included $6,750,000 for San Rafael Channel Dredging. The Federal Fiscal Year 2022 runs from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.
The President’s Budget, issued by the Executive Branch, is the first step in the FY 2022 budgeting process for Army Corps of Engineers projects. Once the President’s Budget for a fiscal year is released, then the Congressional Appropriations (budget) Committees – of which there are both House and Senate committees – begin to work on the Congressional budget. Therefore, the President’s budget is the layer upon which the Congressional budget is based. The final congressional budget will hopefully be signed into law in October. While the San Rafael Channel dredge would be in the final, approved President’s budget for $6.75m, it could also receive additional funding beyond the $6.75m though the Army Corps of Engineers “Work Plan”, which is approved by Congress in early 2022.
It is not atypical that a project might not be fully funded in the President’s Budget – but receive the difference needed (in additional appropriations) to be fully funded through the final Congressional Work Plan. Sometimes a project is not funded in the President’s Budget at all and receives all of its funding in the Work Plan. When Petaluma received funding for a full dredge in FY 2021, the project was appropriated $0 in the FY 2021 President’s Budget – but received full funding in the FY 2021 Congressional Work Plan.
Though San Rafael Channel received $6,750,000 in the FY 2022 President’s Budget – which falls short of the $13,000,000 needed for the full dredging – the City still sees this as good news for three reasons:
- This means that the Channel will be dredged in summer 2022 (when the next environmental window opens in June 2022). This in itself is great news – this is the first concrete guarantee that dredging will happen in 2022. Obviously, the City is still advocating that this be a full dredge ($13m).
- The Army Corps San Francisco District staff can now continue to actively work on San Rafael Channel, finalizing the design and environmental clearance. The Corps cannot work on a project that is not federally authorized for funding – so without this first step of receiving appropriation in the FY 2022 President’s budget – our project would technically have to be “on hold” until the FY 2022 Work Plan was finalized.
- There is still an opportunity to receive the full amount needed ($13m) for a full dredge in summer 2022. The good news is that we are now asking the House and Senate Congressional Appropriation Committees (Energy & Water) to make up only the difference between the $6.75m appropriated in the FY 2022 President’s Budget and the $13m needed for the full project (i.e. $6.25m); as opposed to asking the Appropriations Committees for the full $13m. This makes receiving funding for a full dredging in FY 2022 more likely.
Keep updated on all things San Rafael Channel dredging at cityofsanrafael.org/dredging