Newsletters

Capital Region Climate News & Resources: October 3, 2019

Collaborative Update

We’d like to give a warm welcome to our newest members – cbec eco engineering, the San Juan Water District, and the Regional Water Authority!
cbec specializes in eco-engineering for the water resources industry, such as floodplain and channel management, fluvial and tidal wetland rehabilitation, and green urban stormwater mission Their mission is to develop innovative, multi-benefit solutions in water resources engineering that improve the health of the natural environment while also meeting the needs of humanity. Their global projects plan for hydrology and ecosystem services using climate-informed data.
The San Juan Water District provides drinking water supplies to approximately 160,000 residents in retail and wholesale areas in Sacramento and Placer counties. The San Juan Water District holds some of the oldest water rights in the state, dating back to 1853. Their book – History of the San Juan Water District – tells the history of the district from its founding as a water provider to the 1800s gold miners to its 150th anniversary in 2004.
The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is a joint powers authority formed to protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources. To help achieve RWA’s priorities of adapting to climate change and advancing the human right to water, RWA is pursuing efforts to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the region, decrease demands through water use efficiency, and increase resiliency to changing hydrology.
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News

UN Climate Summit: Small countries step up while major emitters are silent
Dozens of small nations ramped up their commitments to cut carbon emissions at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. But the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluters offered only silence, met by a stinging rebuke from 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg that echoed throughout the day-long session. A total of 66 countries—together accounting for just 6.9 percent of global carbon emissions—announced that they would increase their climate efforts in the next round of commitments due under the Paris climate accord next year. Another major announcement came from the banking industry—more than 50 financial institutions worldwide, representing 2.9 trillion dollars in assets, have committed to assess and disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of their loans and investments. (Inside Climate News) Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them
We are in the middle of a climate breakdown, and all they can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. (Guardian)

 

Major power shut-offs are new reality as California enters peak wildfire season
Preemptive blackouts to reduce wildfire risks is adding a new element of uncertainty and controversy in scores of communities. There has been heightened concern about those with health issues who rely on medical equipment to stay alive. Some state and local officials have also complained that utilities don’t always give enough notice before turning off the power. And they have expressed concerns about communications and evacuations if the power is out, especially if traffic signals don’t work and cellphone service is affected. (LA Times) Photo: Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images

 

We’re in a race to save our urban canopy. Why Sacramento’s trees are under threat
Can the city maintain the majestic canopy that arches high over houses in neighborhoods like East Sacramento and Land Park, or will it have to settle for smaller more sustainable trees that merely reach 30 or 40 feet high? Will new urban development adequately replace the trees they tear out for new apartments? Many in the city are planning for decades to come, acknowledging that the quality of life in Sacramento could hinge on how well it protects and replants the tree canopy. Sacramento researchers are testing trees from Australia, Texas, and Oklahoma to see if they can withstand hotter and drier days that could unleash a new rash of pests and diseases — both threats to urban trees. (SacBee)

 

How private capital is speeding up forest restoration in the Sierra Nevada that benefits water
In the North Yuba River watershed, the forest restoration effort has been kicked into high gear thanks to an innovative infusion of public and private sector dollars that fund forest projects with many benefits — including improved water supply. “There is a big opportunity to address climate resiliency using money that typically resides in bonds, funds and markets.” The Forest Resilience Bond uses private capital to finance forest restoration activities. Beneficiaries, including the Forest Service and CalFire, reimburse investors over time. The Yuba County Water Agency has pledged $1.5 million toward the project and the State of California has committed $2.6 million in grant funding, with additional funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.(Water Education Forum)

 

68,000 homes in Sacramento metro area face ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ wildfire risk, report says
 It would cost nearly $30 billion to rebuild the tens of thousands of homes that are most vulnerable to wildfires in the Sacramento metropolitan area, a projection that ranks California’s capital region fourth highest in the nation for wildfire risk. Nearly 650,000 California residences total are considered to be at “high” or “extreme” wildfire risk, with 68,000 of them located in the four-county Sacramento metropolitan area, according to data consultancy CoreLogic. While the capital city itself is not at high risk of burning, many of the most vulnerable single- and multi-family residences lie in the farther reaches of El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties. (SacBee)

 

California wildfires could lead to increased snowpack and water storage
Wildfires in California leave behind acres of scorched land that make snowpack formation easier and more water runoff downstream from the Sierra Nevada to basins in the Central Valley, increasing the amount of water stored underground. That’s the finding from researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who discovered that blazes in some parts of the state could result in more water availability. (SacBee)

 

California wildfire insurance is in crisis. And the real estate market is suffering
California’s wildfires have found yet another way of doing serious harm to rural California — by hammering its housing market. The refusal of insurance companies to cover homes in fire-prone areas is prompting home buyers to cancel purchases and look elsewhere. Sales are down 15 percent in Nevada County, 10 percent in Placer county, 18 percent in Shasta County and 24 percent in Tuolumne County. In many cases, the disruption in the housing market is happening in the parts of California that can least afford it. (Sac Bee)

 

Restoring natural fire regimes can yield more water downstream
Following a century of suppressing fires in the Illilouette Basin, Yosemite National Park managers enacted a new management policy in the early 1970s that allows most lightning-sparked fires to burn out naturally. The results indicate that restoring a natural fire regime has reduced forest water stress and increased the availability of water downstream. (EOS) Photo: Gabrielle Boisramé

 

Thinning and prescribed burns may help boost forest resilience
Thinning forests and conducting prescribed burns may help preserve trees in future droughts and bark beetle epidemics expected under climate change, suggests a study from UC Davis. The study found that thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-2016. Current rates of treatment are not sufficient to reduce the impacts of hotter droughts and large-scale bark beetle outbreaks. (UC Davis) Photo: Getty
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Tools and Resources

IPCC Report: The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
A landmark IPCC report on how the climate crisis is affecting the world’s oceans and ice caps concludes that many serious impacts are already inevitable, from more intense storms to melting permafrost and dwindling marine life. But far worse impacts will hit without urgent action to cut fossil fuel emissions, including eventual sea level rise of more than 13 feet in the worst case, an outcome that would redraw the map of the world and harm billions of people. Extreme El Niño events are projected to occur twice as often this century whether emissions are cut or not. Coral reefs will suffer major losses and local extinctions. Across the ocean, heat, acidification and lower oxygen is set to cut fisheries by a quarter and all marine life by 15% if emissions are not slashed. (Guardian, Nature, IPCC)

Health care’s climate footprint: How the health sector contributes to the global climate crisis and opportunities for action
If the global health care sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet, according to Health care’s climate footprint, a report by Health Care Without Harm in collaboration with Arup. The report provides the most comprehensive global analysis of health care’s contribution to climate change to date, examining how energy, food, anesthetic gases, and transportation contribute to health care’s climate footprint. The report also outlines a series of international, national and subnational policy recommendations for health care climate action. The report makes the case for a transformation of the health care sector that aligns it with the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5C. (Health Care Without Harm)

Identifying Market Interests and Opportunities for Sierra Nevada Sustainable Forestry Materials
This research paper aims to promote a regenerative wood products industry using renewably harvested California wood and biomass by identifying high-potential companies, use cases, and barriers. The research aims to support policymakers, forest managers, advocates, and entrepreneurs seeking to increase the pace and scale of forest health and resilience management efforts in California’s Sierra Nevada region. (Link)
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Upcoming Opportunities

Survey for Local Governments – Call for Participation
If you work for a local government, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research hopes you’ll participate in its Specific Plan Survey and its Climate Action Capacity Survey. By completing the surveys, you help inform OPR’s work so that it can best support local planning. (OPR)

 

Local Jurisdictions Adaptation and Resiliency Planning: SB 379
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research is conducting a mini-survey to learn about local adaptation and resiliency efforts. The results of this survey will help our office understand how local jurisdictions are meeting SB 379, as well as their obstacles, questions, and innovative strategies. SB 379 requires every local government in California to incorporate climate into the Safety Element of their General Plan, or by reference in other plans. (SurveyMonkey)

 

Local Public Agency Climate Capacity Survey
Local Government Commission is conducting a study to better understand how climate programs and projects might be helping to build public agency capacities in various ways, what kind of capacity building goals public agencies have for their work, their capacity to implement projects over time, and the factors that influence progress. (LGC)

 

Eco-Adapt Health and Climate Change Survey
EcoAdapt is assessing the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to health. This survey aims to assess the needs of health professionals working to prepare for and respond to multiple stresses, including climate change. The survey intends to assess understanding of climate change impacts among health professionals, and identify activities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related challenges. (Survey)

 

Recreational Trails and Greenways Grant Program
All projects must provide non-motorized recreational infrastructure development and enhancements that promote new or alternate access to parks, waterways, outdoor recreational pursuits, and forested or other natural environments to encourage health-related active transportation and opportunities for people to reconnect with nature. Deadline: Oct 11. (CNRA)

 

Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants
Projects should benefit the multimodal transportation system and achieve other community benefits such as improving equity, public health, and the environment. Deadline: Oct. 11. (Link)

 

 

Urban Flood Protection Program Draft Guidelines
The California Natural Resources Agency is releasing for public comment its draft guidelines for the Urban Flood Protection grant program. This program will fund multi-benefit projects in urbanized areas to address flooding. The program will emphasize and give priority to projects that serve severely disadvantaged communities. Deadline: October 14. (CNRA)

 

WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency Projects
This grant invites states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with the Bureau of Reclamation on Drought Resiliency Projects that will increase the reliability of water supplies; improve water management; and provide benefits for fish, wildlife, and the environment to mitigate impacts caused by drought. Deadline for FY 2020 funding: October 16. (Grants.gov)

 

CARB: Grant Solicitation for the Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project
The California Air Resources Board has released a competitive grant solicitation for one or more grantees to implement the Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project for Fiscal Year 2018-19. Theis grant offers school communities an opportunity to showcase their ability to create meaningful spaces that inspire future generations, realize impactful air quality improvements, and develop real solutions to the climate crisis. Deadline: Oct. 21. (CARB)

 

American Climate Leadership Award
The 2020 American Climate Leadership Summit in Washington DC will host the American Climate Leadership Awards to recognize individuals and organizations for their demonstrated success in mobilizing public support and political will on climate among key constituencies, providing $155,000 in cash prizes to help accelerate the replication of important climate action nationwide. The awards welcome entries from community, faith, health and youth organizations and leaders on the local, regional and national scale. Deadline: October 31. (Link)

 

National Institutes of Health Funding Opportunity – Environmental Influences on Aging: Effects of Extreme Weather & Disaster Events on Aging Populations
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) aims to advance our understanding of the impact of extreme weather and disaster events on aging human populations. Together with companion FOA (PAR- 19-249) that focuses on underlying mechanisms of aging utilizing animal models, these two FOAs will help to explicate the behavioral, biological, and socioecological processes that occur during extreme weather or disaster events and that affect aging processes. The goal is to improve the health and well-being of older adults via increased knowledge about extreme weather and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Deadline: Nov. 4. (NIH)

 

Western SARE: Grants to advance innovations in sustainable agriculture
The Professional Development Program Grant focuses on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices. Other grants help full-time graduate students, farmers, ranchers, and producers to implement projects to address identified needs in sustainable agriculture. Deadline: Nov 11-13. (Western SARE)

 

First Annual E360 Young Writers Awards
Yale Environment 360 and the Oak Spring Garden Foundation are hosting the Young Writers Awards to honor the best nonfiction environmental writing by authors under the age of 35. Articles should focus on topics related to the natural world, with an emphasis on land conservation, forests and plants, or natural places. The writing can be either an essay or a reported piece, but should have a personal voice and point of view. Deadline: November 15. (Yale 360)

 

American Geophysical Union: Thriving Earth Exchange
The American Geophysical Union (AGU)’s Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking several US communities interested in advancing their priorities through collaborative science. For example, communities have worked with AGU scientists to develop a drought vulnerability assessment; assess flood vulnerability of a food distribution center; and save millions in unnecessary remediation costs when creating a recreational park. Join over 98 communities that are advancing their priorities in climate resilience, pollution, natural resource management, or natural hazards! Learn more about our program here. Applications for the December cohort are considered on a rolling basis until 15 November 2019. (Thriving Earth Exchange)

 

CalFire: Urban and Community Forestry Grants
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is offering three types of urban and community forestry grants through California Climate Investments: Urban Forest Expansion and Improvement; Urban Forest Management Activities; and Urban Wood and Biomass Utilization. Concept proposals due November 27. (CalFire)

 

SB 2: $123 million available Housing Planning Grants
The Department of Housing and Community Development has $123 million available under the SB2 Planning Grants Program (PGP). The PGP will help local governments prepare, adopt, and implement plans that accelerate housing production; streamline the approval of housing development affordable to owner and renter households at all income levels; facilitate housing affordability, particularly for lower- and moderate-income households; and promote development consistent with the State Planning Priorities. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. (HCD)

 

FEMA 2019 Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants
In Fiscal Year 2019, the Flood Mitigation Assistance program has $70 million for two types of community flood mitigation activities: 1) Advance Assistance for flood mitigation design and development of community flood mitigation projects; and 2) Mitigation projects that address community flood risk for the purpose of reducing NFIP flood claim payments. The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program provides Federal funds to implement and sustain cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding from future disasters. Deadline: January 31, 2020. (FEMA)

 

Federal government releases $7 billion to build climate resilience
The money — $7.65 billion in total — aims to make disaster-damaged communities more resilient by paying for reconstruction projects that will withstand increasingly severe storms, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. The funding differs from most federal disaster aid because instead of simply repairing or rebuilding damaged buildings and facilities, communities must spend the recovery money on mitigation projects that “increase resilience to disasters.” California will receive $88 million and has until April 6, 2020, to submit projects. (Federal Register)
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