- How much money is being invested? $17.8 million in 2014
- What are the conditions? The vast majority to be distributed through competitive grants on a statewide basis
- Who’s in charge? Cal Fire
California’s 2014-15 State Budget provides $17.8 million to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (CAL FIRE) Urban and Community Forestry Program for projects that will reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) through tree planting, tree care, and other related activities.
Though urban forestry does not receive a continuous appropriation under SB 862, it is identified as one of only nine programs identified in the bill that will compete for 40% of all cap-and-trade funds on an annual basis. Other SC4A priorities captured in this category include low-income weatherization and local parks.
The Urban and Community Forestry Program will dramatically exceed SB 535’s requirements of using funds to benefit disadvantaged communities. 100% of all urban forestry funds will be used to provide benefits to disadvantaged communities, with 55% of those funds directed to projects located directly in these identified communities.
California’s existing urban forest of 200 million trees sequesters 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually while also displacing an additional 1.8 million metric tons each year. The eligible projects for funding will sustain and even augment that figure over time, and include the following:
- Urban tree planting projects and tree establishment care;
- Tree inventory, and/or urban forest mapping and analysis, and/or long term management plan or updating existing versions of these critical management components;
- Projects that will use urban woody biomass for its highest and best use, thereby diverting it from the urban waste stream and avoiding GHG emissions while sequestering GHG for a longer time period;
- Projects that assist local entities to purchase and improve unused, vacant urban neighborhood properties in environmental justice communities or to serve such communities for purposes consistent with the Urban Forestry Act;
- Green Innovations projects falling within the scope of the Urban Forestry Act of 1978 that are not able to fit in one of the other Urban Forestry Grant Programs above.
- CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry Website
- CAL FIRE Urban & Community Forestry Program GGRF Procedural Guide
- California ReLeaf Urban Forestry Fact Sheet
- CAL-EPA’s CalEnviroScreen
- Air Resources Board's draft guidelines for SB 535 compliance
To learn more or get involved, contact:
- Chuck Mills, California ReLeaf
- Michelle Passero, The Nature Conservancy
- Rico Mastrodonato, The Trust for Public Land