November 2018
A Look Into Our 2018-19 Projects
The 2018-19 CivicSpark cohort has been busy these past three months preparing and beginning to serve their communities through their climate, water, and opportunity access projects. From a pool of over 335 applicants, 85 outstanding candidates were selected to serve as CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellows for our fifth service year. There are 50 Fellows serving local governments on climate projects, 20 fellows serving on water projects, and 15 fellows serving on opportunity access projects.

As a program, CivicSpark AmeriCorps fellows will be engaging in 71 distinct projects and helping 169 local government beneficiaries, from the North Coast of California down to the San Diego Region of the state. About 45% of our water projects are in more rural locations, while about 45% of climate projects and 50% of opportunity access projects are in more urban areas. The top planned project outputs in each track for the service year include evaluations, assessment or analysis products and Implementation Plans.

Below is a rough breakdown of the types of agencies we are serving this year:
  • 47% Cities and Towns
  • 26% Counties
  • 13% Special Districts
  • 7% COGs, CAGs, or MPOs
  • 7% JPAs

Learn more about our Fellows by visiting our  Fellows page .
Regional Spotlights
Clean Energy in the North Coast
Sierra Huffman is a Climate Fellow serving in Humboldt County at Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). RCEA is a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) that buys and sells power distributed by PG&E, as well as an implementer of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Sierra is working for the Public Agency Solar Program within the Demand Side Management Team to provide public agencies with the information and support they need to implement solar PV projects at their facilities. To date, PASP has performed 23 solar site assessments, delivered 16 solar site feasibility reports, which has led to 3 Governing Board Resolutions to pursue PV projects. Sierra has assisted on all aspects of the solar study process including load analyses, rate analyses, energy efficiency evaluations, on-site solar assessments, and shading analyses. In addition to her work with the PASP, Sierra is helping build capacity within RCEA by developing financing documents, instructional forms, utility rate plan research, and GHG accounting procedures.   
Flood Risk Reduction through Sewer System Management in Lake County
Michael Burley is a Water Fellow supporting the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District , a water utility in rural Lake County. Working in the water resources department, Michael focuses on analyzing municipal water use data in preparation for the installation of smart meters sometime in 2019. For the bulk of his project, he is partnered with water fellow Ernesto Ruvalcaba, who is taking the lead on mapping the town’s sewer system using GIS software, and helping to develop a hydraulic model. This model will be used to reduce inflow and infiltration into the sewer system, increasing the efficiency of the waste water treatment plant and reducing the risk of a sanitary sewer overflow in the event of a flood. Michael is really excited to be a part of a team focused on water conservation and long term sustainability, and to see what can be accomplished in the coming service year.
Zero-Net Energy Projects in San Diego
Bella Spies is excited to be back in her hometown of San Diego serving as a Climate Fellow at the U.S. Green Building Council - San Diego Chapter . Her role is to assist in the implementation of a zero-net energy (ZNE) building retrofit project in three City of San Diego libraries. The goal of this project is to model best practices for government agencies to take to reach ZNE in existing buildings to support the California requirement that half of all existing state-owned buildings in California must operate at ZNE by 2025. Bella’s primary task is to create educational materials to engage City of San Diego staff and the public on ZNE and how it relates to San Diego’s sustainability goals. Bella is enjoying her project work and is looking forward to learning more about energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : "As you get started on your project, what resources have you found that have been the most helpful?"
Kyle Schweizer | Sacramento and Sierra Region
" The most helpful resources have been my coworkers at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The organization is staffed by people who have a vested interest in helping others in the direst situations – emergencies. I’ve found that this desire to help others comes out in non-emergencies, and through meetings and talks with several people in various departments in the organization I’ve received a myriad of ideas and assistance with my project as I get the ball rolling. "

Kyle Schweizer is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon (Sco ducks!), originally from southeast Pennsylvania – near Philadelphia. He joined CivicSpark in order to begin his professional career in a way that helps not only himself to achieve personal goals, but helps others in a way that makes the experience feel empowering and important. Throughout the service year he hopes to gain skills that are relevant to working in the government sector, and in addition – to work with amazing people that are also driven by doing work that aids the community they're involved with.
Bryan Iwamoto | Central Coast Region
"I have found that being engaged and having thoughtful interactions with colleagues has been the most helpful resource so far. It is very useful for me to listen and understand how a task has been done in the past, consider the best options to complete the task, and ask specific questions about how the task can be completed quickly and in an easily understandable way. Productivity and organization resources are also important to stay on top of my projects. Email folders, digital calendars, to-do apps and diligent note-taking pay off down the line when deadlines start piling up, so staying well organized is something I have been focusing on; and I am always looking to improve in this area!"

Bryan is an entry-level professional with interest in the City Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Planning industries. He has a Bachelor's degree in City and Regional Planning and a minor in Sustainable Environments from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He has the ability to pick up new concepts and skills quickly along with a strong desire to find creative solutions to problems. He is enthusiastic about giving back to his community, and has a history of public service stemming from his background as an Eagle Scout.
Great Stories
Edgar Barraza, 2018-19 Climate Fellow - Bay Area Region
" This great story is something you might not expect as its draws its empowerment from systemic oppression, drawing its encouragement from the struggles of indigenous women in environmental activism. This great story is about Berta Caceres and how her legacy allowed me to continue my environmental work when facing challenging adversity... "

Micah Houston, 2018-19 Opportunity Access Fellow - Central Inland Region
"When I got the unlikely email in October that I had passed the screening phase of the United Nations Young Professional Program and had been convoked to take the first written exam, I was thrilled! This is a program which is only open to certain nationalities on certain years, and in 2018 Americans happened to be eligible, so just the fact that I had passed the screening phase along with only forty of my countrymen/women was great news..."
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Regional Climate Symposia
Long Beach, CA | Stateline, NV
Fresno, CA | San Luis Obispo, CA

The State of California has released the  Fourth Climate Change Assessment , which provides the scientific foundation for understanding climate-related vulnerability at the local scale and informing resilience actions. A series of regional workshops are being organized to showcase key findings, as well as to discuss opportunities to advance local adaptation initiatives.

Join researchers, key state agencies, local jurisdictions, and community leaders at a regional climate symposium to learn more and build connections! In the meantime, we encourage you to take the  Cal OES Adaptation Planning Guide User Needs Assessment Survey !

Learn more about the regional events here .
CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Each year, 90 Fellows are placed across California in regional hubs to implement targeted projects that build capacity for local government agencies to better address community resilience issues such as climate change, water resource management, and access to opportunities.

Learn more about CivicSpark at .