Urban Forestry Victories in the FY 2019 – 20 State Budget

California ReLeaf and its long list of policy partners emerged from the 2019 budget debate with a few wins for the urban forestry community, along with several lessons learned that will help inform our efforts moving forward. Please take a few minutes to celebrate these hard-won victories.

The FY 2019-20 State Budget signed by Governor Newsom contains nearly $50 million for urban forestry and urban greening, and another $100 million for flood control and environmental mitigation that includes urban forestry as eligible project components.

CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is planting more than 100,000 trees across California with support from the California Climate Investments Program. The $10 million Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) appropriation will continue their leadership in this field. Similarly, CAL FIRE’s expertise and ability in combatting invasive pests will be supported by a $5 million allocation from the General Fund to address the polyphagous shot hole borer.

As always, legislative champions and nonprofit partners were key to securing these funds. For GGRF, we relied heavily on

Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella)
Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica)
Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica)
Senator Bob Wieckowski (D – Fremont)
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Lakewood)
Senate President Toni Atkins (D- San Diego)
Senator Henry Stern (D- Canoga Park)

Once again, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) was there to champion urban forestry through her $5 million General Fund request for shot hole borer, which was equally embraced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (pictured above).

Nonprofit partners who made calls, crafted petitions, and spoke directly to their elected officials about the need for these funds, such as

Balboa Park Conservancy
Friends of the Urban Forest
Sacramento Tree Foundation
Koreatown Youth and Community Center

Also standing by our side were statewide voices like Nature Conservancy, Audubon California, Environmental Defense Fund, and especially Trust for Public Land (pictured above).

And, finally, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti again lent the full weight of his office to this community effort to continue fiscal support for CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Start thinking about how your project priorities can leverage these GGRF wins or other dollars coming from the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program or a new CNRA program for flood control? And how can your projects (current and future) help support advocacy efforts to continue funding for urban forestry and related green infrastructure? Our collective success only comes from continued collaboration and a shared desire to green our Golden State.