Advocacy & State Budget Update to the Network

Dear Network,

Governor Newsom signed several bills last month related to climate resilience that included record spending plans to address drought, wildfires, climate change, extreme heat and more.  

One of the most noteworthy elements of the plan is the proposed three-year commitment to supporting both new and existing programs directly pertinent to climate change and community resiliency. In total, the package commits $15 billion through the Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget.

There is much to be excited about in the package for community benefit organizations dedicated to greening this Golden State. CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program receives a record $30 million for 2021, while CNRA’s Urban Greening Program nets $50 million. Both programs will share a $100 million pot in FY 2022-23, and another $100 million in the year thereafter. 

Multiple new programs will also come online next year to address extreme heat through community resilience hubs and cooling surfaces. The $800 million for extreme heat also contains a $300 million appropriation to implement the State’s Extreme Heat Framework, which is still in development. These funds are not yet dedicated to specific programs, but can be used for a variety of purposes, including  projects that “reduce indoor and outdoor school temperatures through nature-based solutions.”

Additionally, the package contains another $800 million over three years “to support programs and activities that advance multibenefit and nature-based solutions.” This includes at least $120 million to regional conservancies, and can be used to support “efforts to scale nature-based climate solutions in climate vulnerable communities.”

Finally, these aforementioned funds don’t include the over $300 million for state and local parks, or items passed in the State Budget back in June such as the EEMP or Active Transportation Program – both of which were fully funded. 

The amount of details to provide on this package and recognizing the numerous leaders that helped make this happen is far too great for a single email. California ReLeaf will be hosting a Network webinar in November that takes a deeper dive into these programs and more, and gives a shout out to everyone that stepped up on this effort.

Thank you to all who supported our advocacy effort this year, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

Chuck Mills