1. Addressing Racial and Environmental Injustice

    The brutal and unsettling images that have captured headlines and sparked outrage in populations around the globe this month force us to recognize that, as a nation, we are still failing to guarantee everyone the basic human rights and equality of Dr. King’s Dream and promised in the U.S. Constitution. In fact, it’s a tragic reminder our nation has never guaranteed everyone these basic human rights and equality. California ReLeaf works closely with grassroots and social justice organizations in many marginalized neighborhoods to build stronger, greener, and healthier communities through trees. Seeing the incredible work these partners are doing and...
  2. 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...
  3. Funding for FY 2019-20 State Budget

    Urban forestry, urban greening, and other natural resources investments gained ground yesterday in the ongoing discussion of project priorities within the next Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) Expenditure Plan. In the Assembly Budget Subcommittee for Resources, multiple members pushed back against the Administration’s assertions that urban greening investments would be covered under the Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC). Subcommittee Chair Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) quickly observed that urban greening and TCC are very different programs, while simultaneously clarifying that urban forestry and wetlands were left out of the Governor’s Budget. California ReLeaf representative Alfredo Arredondo offered further distinctions between TCC and...
  4. It’s All About The Trees!

    California’s urban forestry community came together in Los Angeles in August to celebrate The Power of Trees. Participants also gave a shout out to supporting Climate Investment Funds for CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. Check out the YouTube video here.
  5. Another Big Budget Year for Trees!

    by Chuck Mills I recently learned while watching television – the definitive device for expanding one’s education – that three well-respected dictionaries included alternate definitions of the word literally in 2013 that essentially amount to “being taken figuratively.” This is my reason #827 for not having kids: they will speak jibberish if adhering to the likes of Oxford, Cambridge and Merriam-Webster. But I digress. I raise this point to emphasize that when I say California’s urban forest stakeholders literally had no state funding two years ago, I’m going old school on y’all. Not very long ago, CAL FIRE’s Urban and...
  6. The Green Rush

    by Chuck Mills   A California ReLeaf board member recently commented that urban forestry is now experiencing a “Green Rush” of funding stemming from recent State Budget appropriations. It’s a poignant observation that should motivate all of us to seize this moment. Like California’s seven-year gold rush, this unprecedented stream of new dollars will not last forever. In an effort to help Network members and community groups mine the state’s urban forestry-related funds, California ReLeaf has a new web page that provides one-stop shopping for the most pertinent California public grants programs that currently exist or are in development for...
  7. Setting the Stage for 2015

    by Chuck Mills   Now that CAL FIRE has received over $17 million in cap-and-trade auction proceeds to support the Urban and Community Forestry, we must all take to celebrate… for about four months.   This single victory represents a huge win for all of us, but the next battle at the State Capitol could be for the jackpot – an all-in opportunity to secure long-term funding for urban forestry.   Supplemental state budget language (commonly referred to as a trailer bill) that will be signed By Governor Brown in the coming days sets up a long-term funding strategy that...
  8. Urban Forestry Makes History

    By Chuck Mills   On June 15, 2014, the Legislature passed a state budget bill that includes $17.8 million for CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program.  Governor Brown is expected to sign this deal.   To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest single-state annual appropriation for urban forestry in US History.   More details will follow, but this much is certain: $15.7 million for projects and grants through the U&CF Program, with $2.1 million to support staffing and administration. Per the statutory requirements of Senate Bill 535, the majority of these funds will benefit disadvantaged...
  9. Silence Isn’t Golden

    Over the next month, community groups and ReLeaf Network members across California have an opportunity to comment on two important issues. They are the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWM); and the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Urban Forest Project Protocols. To date, these efforts have been fairly non-profitable for urban forestry groups working daily to green our golden state, but with guidance from stakeholders they could prove to be beneficial.   In March, 2014, Governor Brown and the Legislature directed DWR to expedite the solicitation and award of $200 million in IRWM funding to...