1. 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...
  2. MLK Day of Service: An Opportunity for Environmental Justice

    By Kevin Jefferson and Eric Arnold, Urban Releaf On this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service (MLK DOS), we helped Urban Releaf plant trees on G Street in East Oakland. This is where we’ve been doing a lot of work the past few months. The area needs a lot of help; it’s one of the worst blocks in the city in terms of blight and illegal dumping. And as you might expect, its tree canopy is minimal. We wanted to have our MLK DOS event, which we’ve been doing for the past seven years, here, because this...
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. 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...
  6. 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...
  7. Andy Lipkis Speaks Up About Water

    Recently, TreePeople‘s founder and Executive Director Andy Lipkis was interviewed by Transition Network about the drought occurring throughout California. In the interview, Andy talks about his past experiences that led to the foundation of one of the most influential environmental organizations in the state. He also talks about how integration between top down and bottom up measures has to happen to design creative solutions to our states water problems. Trees and green environments are a big part of that integrated design.   To read the full interview, click here.
  8. Prop 39 Implementation

    Let’s Shade Some Schools California voters passed Proposition 39 in 2012 by a 60% margin in order to eliminate a corporate tax loophole and provide $550 million each year over the next five years for energy efficiency projects throughout the state.   Flash forward to the present. The California Energy Commission has adopted Proposition 39 implementation guidelines, and is ready to roll out nearly $430 million to schools and community colleges to support energy efficiency upgrades that range from solar panels to HVAC improvements to, yes it is true, tree planting projects that support energy conservation.   This is a...
  9. 36 Hours in Sacramento

    36 Hours in Sacramento by Chuck Mills   When a year’s worth of work comes closer to fruition over a such a short period, it’s hard to take time and absorb the good news. This is especially true when it’s better than expected.   Nonetheless, that is what we were faced with in the latter part of the first full week in January, 2014. And on a Sunday afternoon in my quiet office in downtown Sacramento, surrounded by more tree species than I know by name, I am taking the time and absorbing the good news.   I believe it...