1. Governor’s Budget Directs Millions for Local Projects

    Just over a year ago, California ReLeaf staked 100% of its public policy agenda on the idea that cap and trade auction revenues were the very best opportunity to breathe new life into CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which allocated its last remaining project bond funds in March 2013.  In other words, we went “all-in” on cap and trade.   Today, Governor Brown released a proposed 2014-15 State Budget that directs $50 million in auction revenues to CAL FIRE with a significant portion directed to support urban forestry projects that help meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse...
  2. State’s Right to Sell Carbon Permits Upheld

    By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s environmental regulator can sell carbon emission permits at quarterly auctions as part of the state’s cap-and-trade program, a state court said on Thursday, in a setback to businesses that argued that the sales constitute an illegal tax.   The California Chamber of Commerce and tomato processor Morning Star sued to stop the sales last year, arguing that the permits should be given out freely to companies covered by the program.   They said the California Air Resources Board (ARB) overstepped its authority when it approved auctions as a mechanism for distributing permits....
  3. Government Shutdown Hitting Close to Home

    We recently received this letter from Sandy Bonilla, the Director of the Urban Conservation Corps for the Southern California Mountains Foundation. Sandy spoke to California ReLeaf Network members at our August 1 workshop. The audience was moved by the work that she and her colleagues have done in San Bernardino. Unfortunately, that work has come to a halt. Hopefully, Sandy and the rest of the UCC will be back to work soon.   Dear Friends & Partners: As many of you know, our federal government has shutdown due to congress failing to pass legislation for funding government agencies and services....
  4. Health in All Policies – A Guide for State & Local Governments

    A new guide for health in all policies for state and local governments is available. You may wonder why you’re reading about this on a blog about urban forestry, but if you take a quick look at the cover of the guide, you’ll quickly see that trees and greenspace are an important part of creating healthy communities.   In the guide’s preface, Adewale Troutman – President of the American Public Health Association – and Georges Benjamin – Executive Director of the American Public Health Association – say, “There is an increasing recognition that the environments in which people live, work,...
  5. A New Era for EEMP

    California’s popular Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) was funded at $7 million in the 2013-14 State Budget through legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown today.  This is the only statewide local assistance funding for urban forestry for this fiscal year.   While the reinstatement of EEMP funding certainly comes as a welcome addition to the state budget, the real news is focused around permanent changes to the EEMP, and the creation of a new program that could provide competitive grants for recreational resources.   The measure signed by Governor Brown (Senate Bill 99) restructures elements of the EEMP, as...
  6. California’s Water – Where does urban forestry fit in?

    I sometimes wonder how urban forestry can create and maintain a strong and resilient presence in such large-scale state issues such as improving California’s air and water quality.  This is especially true when specific topics surface at the State Legislature such as AB 32 implementation and the 2014 water bond.   Take, for example, the latter.   Two bills amended in August seek to redefine what the next water bond will look like.  Most stakeholders agree that if it is going to garner 51% or more of the popular vote, it will not look like what is currently on the 2014...
  7. Change is Coming to Two California Communities

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very dedicated people in two of California’s largest cities – San Diego and Stockton. It’s been amazing to see both what needs to be accomplished in these cities and how hard these individuals are working to make sure the work in done.   In Stockton, volunteers are facing an up-hill battle. Last year, the city declared bankruptcy. It has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. Trees are the least of this community’s worries. Yet, there is a group of citizens there who know that...
  8. Making Urban Forestry Part of California’s Water Conversation

    Water can be a contentious issue in California’s communities. With resources becoming more limited and restrictions increasing, it’s important to make sure that urban forestry finds it’s place as one of the solutions Californians turn to to solve their water problems. Join us on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:00 a.m.-noon to hear from experts in the field and also hear case studies from an organization that has produced superior water conservation programs.   Speakers: Alf Brandt, Principle Consultant, California State Assembly Edith de Guzman, Research & Analysis Manager, TreePeople Deborah Weinstein, Director of Policy, TreePeople
  9. Congresswoman Matsui Introduces TREES Act

    Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) celebrated Arbor Day by introducing The Residential Energy and Economic Savings Act, otherwise known as TREES Act. This legislation would establish a grant program to assist electric utilities with energy conservation programs that use targeted tree planting to reduce residential energy demand. This legislation will help homeowners lower their electric bills – and help utilities lower their peak load demand – by reducing residential energy demand caused by the need to run air conditioners at a high level.   “As we continue to tackle the combined challenges of high energy costs and the effects of climate...
  10. Partnerships Pave Path to Success

    Last summer, California ReLeaf suddenly found itself in the unenviable position of being the torch-bearer for nonprofits across the state with regards to critical legislation that would set in statute eligible recipients for cap and trade funding. The first thing we did was activate the California ReLeaf Network. The second was build partnerships with other statewide groups.   The result was we got what we wanted, and we did it by teaming the local voice of the Network with the statewide clout of Trust for Public Land and the Nature Conservancy.   So when the chance came along for ReLeaf...