Governor Newsom's Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative Executive Order & Bob Wilkinson's Presentation from the June 19 Community Water Center Listening Session
by John Austin
Click below to access:
Reedley Peace Center Climate Change Effects in the Central Valley Presentation, April 5, 2019
From the last slide of the presentation:
State Issues Nearly $2 Million in Grants to Build Local Capacity to Protect and Restore State Forests
From the California Department of Conservation:
SACRAMENTO March 21, 2019 – Eight organizations have received $1.85 million in grants to hire watershed coordinators who will build local capacity to improve forest health, the Department of Conservation (DOC) announced today.
“Healthy forests are essential to reduce catastrophic wildfires, supply clean water, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” DOC Director David Bunn said. “Watershed coordinators can play a major role in ensuring the health of our forests by promoting collaboration, integrating watershed management efforts, and supporting local activities that restore resilience to forest lands.”
Local projects will support the state’s Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order B-52-18 and help achieve the California Global Warming Solutions Act’s goal of reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Just as the state is divided into counties, it is also divided into watersheds: the geographic areas that channel rain and snow into creeks, streams, lakes, and rivers. Watershed coordinator positions will be funded for two years in project areas that encompass about 31,000 square miles within 26 counties – from Modoc County in the northeast, to coastal areas from southern Humboldt County to San Luis Obispo County, and to Madera, Tulare, and Fresno counties in the inland central part of the state.
The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Grant Program is funded by the California Environmental License Plate Fund and administered by DOC. Areas identified by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as being most at risk of catastrophic wildfires were given priority for the grants. The recipients, headquarters location, and amount of funding each received:
♦ Resource Conservation District of Butte County, Oroville, $217,564.
♦ Sierra Resource Conservation District, Auberry (Fresno County), $235,000
♦ South Yuba River Citizens League, Nevada City (Nevada County), $234, 995
♦ Humboldt County Resource Conservation District, Eureka, $231,900
♦ Tuolumne River Trust, San Francisco, $235,000
♦ Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Capitola, $234,959
♦ Pit Resource Conservation District, Bieber (Lassen County), $235,000
♦ Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Taylorsville (Plumas County), $228,2645
“Each grant application received highlighted good local projects and collaboration,” said Keali’i Bright, director of DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “Our ability to protect forested lands depends on strong local leadership, and this fantastic response underscores the need for continued support.”
The strategy of funding watershed coordinators to organize efforts at the local level has an outstanding track record. DOC provided grants from 2000-2015. A study of that program by the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment indicated that every dollar spent to hire a coordinator leveraged more than seven times that investment in the development of watershed management plans and restoration projects. The study also found that that forest health and watershed health are inextricably linked.
“The return on investment in watershed and forest health has been impressive, and California’s commitment to these issues is strong,” DOC Director Bunn said, noting that the Natural Resources Agency and DOC recently announced $20 million in block grants for local and regional projects to improve forest health and increase fire resiliency.
DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection also manages programs that map land-use changes in California, permanently conserve important farmland, help reduce development pressure on agricultural and open-space land, and provide assistance to California’s Resource Conservation Districts. It also works with the Strategic Growth Council on the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program and the Transformative Climate Communities Program, and with the High Speed Rail Authority on the Agricultural Land Mitigation Program.
Natural Resources Agency and Department of Conservation Announce Awards for the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program
From the March 12, 2019 Press Release:
SACRAMENTO – The California Natural Resources Agency and Department of Conservation
today announced awarding $20 million in block grants for local and regional projects to improve
forest health and increase fire resiliency.
Funded by Cap-and-Trade revenues through California Climate Investments, the Regional Forest
and Fire Capacity Program aims to help communities prioritize, develop, and implement
projects to strengthen fire resiliency, increase carbon sequestration, and facilitate greenhouse
The program is one element of the state’s efforts to improve forest health, protect
communities from wildfire risk and implement the California Forest Carbon Plan and Executive
Order B-52-18. Projects funded through the program will build on priority projects identified by
the Forest Management Task Force and the California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection through Executive Order N-05-19.
“Getting this funding out the door will help local communities develop watershed-level projects
that can make a big difference in forest health and fire resiliency,” California Secretary for
Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “With California facing unprecedented wildfire risk, we
need every tool available to put the state on a path toward long-term wildfire prevention and
Six regional block grants are being awarded on a noncompetitive basis to support project
implementation in the North Coast, Central Coast, Sierra Nevada, Klamath-Cascade, and
Southern California Regions. In addition, two grants are being awarded to assist in
implementing statewide efforts.
Regional block grant recipients will oversee distribution of funding and collaborative planning
with local entities including municipal and Tribal governments, nonprofits and community
organizations, fire safe councils, land trusts, resource conservation districts, residents, private
and public forest landowners and managers, businesses, and others to accomplish the
Block grant recipients were selected based on their history of implementing related projects,
demonstrated capacity to work across regional partners, and ability to serve as fiscal
administrators for the program.
Learn more about recipients HERE.
From the desk of Carol Hart:
With guidance from Professor LeRoy Westerling, Director of the Center for Climate Communication and Professor Teenie Matlock, McClatchy Chair of Communications and Professor of Cognitive Science, both at the University of California Merced, I have completed a survey of California water resource managers. The finalized survey summary report attached here is now available to share and help educate the public about climate change and how it affects water resource management decisions in California.
Complete survey responses were received from forty-seven California water resource managers from February 1, 2018 through May 25, 2018. Our survey outreach was assisted by Armando Quintero, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced; David Boland, Director of State Regulatory Relations at Association of California Water Agencies; Carole Combs of the Tulare Basin Watershed Connections Collaborative; Jennifer Morales, SR Environmental Scientist at California Department of Water Resources’ Climate Change Program; and Michelle Selmon, former Climate Change Specialist/Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Water Resources and current Environmental Program Manager at California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
We are grateful for the assistance provided by all aforementioned individuals and agencies and hope to continue this research in the near future to track trends in water management as they pertain to climate change.
Carol Hart, Outreach Specialist
Center for Climate Communication
University of California Merced