Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
March 8, 2017
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

We are living the reality of climate change models. On the heels of a dire five-year drought, we now have California's wettest winter, bearing uncomfortable witness to predictions that climate change will bring more frequent fluctuations between extremes of wet and dry. As the floodwaters recede, communities are now evaluating the full extent of the damage that the winter storms have wreaked upon roads, railways, bridges, and homes. The damage in the Capital Region include two buckled lanes on Highway 50 east of Placerville, disrupted freight and passenger rail, mudslides, and more. Californians know that climate change is not a distant fear for the future, but a tangible problem to be addressed today. Read our factsheet on resilient infrastructure, and learn about solutions and strategies that can protect the Capital Region.
Oroville Dam's close call shows regulatory need to account for climate change
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) currently does not account for climate change in its relicensing process for existing dams, most of which were built between 1930 and 1970. Instead, FERC uses only historical data to issue licenses that may last for 30 to 50 years. Incorporating climate change into the relicensing process is an opportunity to account for future precipitation extremes and update old infrastructure, using best practices to balance power-generating capabilities with safety, habitat and recreation. ( SacBee)
Storm-lashed California roads and dams could cost one billion to fix
Photo: Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images
The bill to repair California's crumbling roads, dams and other critical infrastructure hammered by an onslaught of storms this winter could top $1 billion, including nearly $600 million alone for damaged roadways that more than doubles the state's budget for road repair emergencies. More than 350 roads have been wrecked, and at least 35 roads are shut down, including iconic Highway 1 in Big Sur. Repairs for a buckled section of Hwy 50 near Placerville are estimated at $6.5 million. The state has not yet fully tallied the cost for repairing other infrastructure, though an early estimate for Oroville Dam repairs is $200 million. Many communities have drained their emergency budgets and are looking to state and federal funding for help, while the state has an annual $6 billion backlog of roadway projects that leaders can't agree on a way to fund. ( Link)
White House proposes steep cuts to NOAA, threatening research and resiliency 
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP
The Trump administration is seeking to cut NOAA's budget by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, and entirely eliminating funding for external research, coastal management, estuary reserves, and coastal resilience, including Sea Grant, which supports critical research on climate adaptation. A 22 percent cut to NOAA's satellite division would compromise weather forecasting for tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other extreme weather, which could seriously jeopardize public safety, the electric grid, commercial ships, and other infrastructure. (  Washington Post)
Climate change is turning minor floods into a major problem
While major storms such as Katrina and Sandy capture far more attention, minor storms could be costly for cities too. The cumulative impact of frequent, minor nuisance flooding is significant over time, as frequent flooding can significantly degrade infrastructure like roads and building foundations and impact sewer infrastructure. Minor flooding events are also a drain on municipal budgets and also can force the closure of schools and businesses. ( HP)
Despite Oroville Dam's near disaster, California remain focused on building new dams
Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
The State of California has applied to Congress for funding to repair existing and build new dams, but they are giving short shrift to cheaper, more environmentally benign alternatives for groundwater recharge. The most popular proposed new dam is the Sites Reservoir, which would dam a dry valley 60 miles northwest of Sacramento and fill it with water from the Sacramento River, storing up to 1.8 million acre-feet of water at about $4 billion to $6 billion. Stanford University researchers have demonstrated that storing water in the ground is much cheaper and has many environmental benefits. But dam projects are moving faster than groundwater projects at the California Water Commission, which will use a median climate change model to determine which water storage projects pass muster, ignoring potential climate extremes - which is where dam failures would occur. (  SF Chronicle)
$3.1 million for Sierra Nevada projects to reduce tree mortality and protect watersheds 
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy approved $3.1 million in grants for ten projects that will decrease wildfire risk, lessen tree mortality, and restore forest and watershed health in the Sierra Nevada region. Funded by Proposition 1, the projects also support the goals of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program. Projects include $476,709 for the El Dorado Irrigation District to complete forest management and restoration activities on 6,800 acres in the South Fork American River Watershed, and $359,838 for the Placer County Resource Conservation District to remove fire-killed trees and brush, restore approximately five acres of timber landings, and stabilize watershed slopes along a 13-mile stretch of the Rubicon River, which burned at high severity in the 2014 King Fire. ( Link)
How Californian farmers are using floods to feed soil
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
As California confronts the impact of aging water infrastructure and need for more water storage infrastructure, farmers are testing new groundwater recharge projects, which not only cost less than building new dams but also result in less environmental damage and provide more benefits. Groundwater recharge can reduce flood risks, booster water storage, and alleviate land subsidence. A Stanford University program estimates that the $2.7 billion approved by voters for water storage in Proposition 1 could store six times more water if the money was used to boost underground storage instead of above-ground reservoirs. ( Green Biz)
Tools and Resources
Mapping tool shows energy infrastructure at risk of flooding
This tool from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows critical energy infrastructure vulnerable to coastal and inland flooding (including flash floods and river overflows). The tool combines flood risk information from FEMA with the EIA's U.S. Energy Mapping System that maps power plants, oil refineries, crude oil rail terminals, and other critical energy infrastructure. It also shows levees and other policies that reduce flood risk. ( EIA)
Upcoming Opportunities
Apply for a public fleet rebate
California public fleets in disadvantaged communities can apply for 2017 rebate funding for new, eligible zero-emission and plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles. The Public Fleet Pilot Project has $3 million available, with rebates up to $15,000 per vehicle. Fleets may reserve rebate funding at any stage in the procurement process up to six months in advance of expected delivery to six months after delivery. Check your ZIP code to determine eligibility; ineligible fleets can still receive standard Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebates of up to $2,500 per vehicle. ( Link)
Strategic Growth Council: Transformative Climate Communities Draft Guidelines
The Strategic Growth Council is seeking comments on its draft guidelines for the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program. The TCC will administer $140 million from California's cap-and-trade revenues to develop and implement neighborhood-level transformative climate plans that will reduce GHG emissions and provide economic, environmental, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities. CRC is working with ARCCA to develop a comment letter. Please send any comments you would like included in this letter to Julia Kim ( by March 13th at 10am. ( SGC)
USDA Rural Development: Community Connect Grants
The program helps fund broadband deployment in rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service. Grant funds may be used to deploy service to critical community facilities, residents and businesses; construct, acquire, or expand a community center; and equip a community center that provides free access to service to community residents. Rural areas that lack any existing broadband speed of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream are eligible. Deadline: March 13. ( USDA)
Comments requested: Draft California Forest Carbon Plan
Many Californian forests are in a state of deteriorating health, at risk of catastrophic wildfires and becoming a net carbon emitter. The California Forest Carbon Plan seeks to reverse these trends and firmly establish our forests as a more resilient and reliable long-term carbon sink. The Plan provides strategies to promote healthy wildland and urban forests and emphasizes working collaboratively at the watershed or landscape scale. The Plan will be the detailed implementation plan for the forest carbon goals in the 2030 Target Scoping Plan and the mechanism for addressing black carbon emissions from wildfire. Deadline: March 17. ( Link)
Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program Draft Guidelines
The Strategic Growth Council welcomes comments on the Draft 2016-17 Guidelines for the Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program (SALC) program. SALC provides funding to protect at-risk agricultural lands from conversion to more GHG-intensive uses to promote growth within existing jurisdictions, ensure open space, and support a healthy agricultural economy and food security. Deadline: March 17. ( Link)
Sacramento Tree Foundation: Nominate a Tree Hero
Help the Sacramento Tree Foundation honor the people and projects that make TREEmendous contributions to our community by nominating a Tree Hero! Tree Heroes showcase the tree-healthy behaviors we support and promote. Awardees will be recognized at the Tree Hero Awards Celebration on May 31. There are categories for committed individuals; organizations or corporations; government jurisdictions; and a tree, landscape, or woodland. Deadline: March 25. ( STF)
USDA Local Food Promotion Program
The Local Food Promotion Program offers grants to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Deadline: March 27. ( USDA)
Call for Abstracts: Behavior Energy and Climate Change Conference 2017
The Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC) is the premier international conference focused on understanding human behavior and decision making to help accelerate the transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future. BECC is seeking new, innovative research and applied work from leaders in behavioral sciences on the adoption of energy efficiency in energy production and use, in the format of oral presentations, lightning talks, panel discussions, and poster presentations. Deadline: April 1. ( BECC)
United Nations 2017 Momentum for Change Awards
Organizations, cities, industries, governments, and other key players that are taking the lead on tackling climate change can nominate their game-changing projects for the United Nations Momentum for Change award. This award will showcase action and ambition on implementing the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Categories include climate change and health, women's leadership, financial solutions, technology, and climate neutrality. Deadline: April 9. ( UN)
Enterprise Climate & Cultural Resilience Grants
Enterprise's Climate & Cultural Resilience Grants support organizations seeking to use the tools of creative place-making in the context of a climate resilience project. Projects should identify a climate resilience challenge and propose a plan for building cultural resilience in the process of addressing that challenge. Five grants of $100,000 each will be made to organizations to support the proposed activities. Deadline: April 31. ( Link)
PG&E: Better Together Resilient Communities Grant Program 
PG&E is launching a new grant program that will award $1 million over five years to support local climate resilience initiatives. For the first year, PG&E will award two grants of $100,000 each for projects that will build healthy and resilient forests and watersheds to help communities plan and prepare for increasing wildfire risk. Eligible projects include research, planning or demonstration projects, and applicants must include a local government within PG&E's Northern and Central California service area as a partner. Deadline: May 12. ( PG&E
Upcoming Events
Sacramento Tree Foundation - 2017 California Arbor Week Celebration
March 7-14
2017 marks the Sacramento Tree Foundation's 35th anniversary building healthier, more livable communities in the Sacramento Region by helping residents grow the best urban forest in the nation. With ceremonial plantings in Rancho Cordova, South Sacramento, North Sacramento, and three volunteer events, the Tree Foundation has planned an exciting week of celebrations for California Arbor Week. See their website for the full list of events. ( Link)
CivicSpark 2017-18 Project Partner Informational Webinar
March 8 or March 17
CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water resource management issues. Each year, 70 fellows serve for 11 months, implementing projects related to water resource management, climate change mitigation, and adaptation. CivicSpark helps local governments build capacity by working directly with local staff or in the community. Join the webinar to learn more about being a project partner, program structure, application process, and local match costs. ( Webinar, CivicSpark)
ARB Workshop: Senate Bill 375 Regional Targets Update Process
Thursday, March 9, 1.30-3.30pm
Coastal Hearing Room, Cal EPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
The California Air Resources Board is seeking public input on issues the Board should consider when updating the regional passenger vehicle greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for California's metropolitan planning organizations. At the workshops, ARB will present information on the target update process, share MPO target recommendations, and seek input on preliminary target update concepts. The Sacramento workshop will be webcast. ( Link)
The Future of California Climate Law & Policy: View to 2030
Friday, March 10, 8.30am-5.30pm
UC Davis School of Law, 400 Mrak Hall Drive, Davis
The 2017 UC Davis Environmental Law Symposium will explore California's role as a domestic and international climate. Panels will address the challenges and opportunities associated with California's bold new climate legislation, SB 32; agriculture and water scarcity; zero emission vehicles and alternative transportation systems; and the future of our state's distinctive climate change "foreign policy." As part of the discussion, each panel will address the potential impacts of the Trump administration on California climate law and policy. ( Register)    
World Water Day Webinars, Water Justice Leadership Training, and Conference
March 10-25
The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW) is hosting a series of World Water Days webinars on March 10, 17, and 24 from noon to 1pm. Topics will include the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, water affordability in California, and best practices in engaging environmental justice communities. In addition, EJCW will host a day-long Water Justice Leadership Training in Sacramento on Saturday, March 25. Finally, EJCW will also co-host the Trinity Wall Streets Water Justice Conference (March 22-23), which will include speakers, workshops, and live-streamed events from across the country. ( EJCW)
Climate Justice and Hope: A Spiritual-Political Calling
Saturday, March 11, 1.30-4.30pm
Davis Community Church, 412 C St., Davis
The Fifth Annual Interfaith Climate Conference will feature Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and community-led discussions that explore the moral crisis of climate injustice and paths toward climate justice. The increasingly pressing and depressing situation of Planet Earth poses urgent ethical questions for people of faith and conscience. But the future of the earth is not simply a matter of protecting species and habitats but of rethinking the very meaning of ethics. (Register)  
Urban Greening Grant Workshops: Technical Assistance Workshops
Monday, March 13, 9am-noon
California Natural Resources Agency auditorium, 1416 9th St., Sacramento
The California Natural Resources Agency will hold technical assistance workshops for the Urban Greening Grant Program, which will fund projects that transform the built environment by establishing and enhancing parks and open space, using natural solutions to improve air and water quality, reduce energy consumption, and increase activity. Workshops will include a presentation and breakout sessions to provide guidance in preparing grant applications. Participants are encouraged to attend in person to benefit from the networking opportunities and access to technical assistance. ( Link)
Webinar: Communicating about Clean Energy and Climate Change Solutions
Thursday, March 23, 9-10.15am
Struggling to reach and motivate stakeholders to engage in outreach events? Participants in this webinar will learn about best practices that can be incorporated into communication and engagement strategies. This EPA and Antioch University webinar will cover a summary of public opinion on climate and energy issues; tips on developing values-based framing; examples of community engagement approaches; and common communication challenges and how to overcome them using translated and applied social science research. ( Register)
ARCCA Learning Session: SB 379 Implementation
Wednesday, March 29, 10-11am
ARCCA's first Learning Session of 2017 will focus on the requirements and timeline for SB 379 implementation, which requires that cities and counties address climate adaptation in the safety element of their general plan or their local hazard mitigation plan. Panelists will also present replicable strategies and good practices from Four Twenty Seven's work with six cities in Alameda County. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about additional resources available to support their efforts. ( Register)
Registration Open for Business of Local Energy Symposium
Friday, May 5, Hyatt Regency Long Beach
Join government, business, and community leaders from across the state to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy. Don't miss this opportunity to network, exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs, and learn about energy policy, regulations, markets, and technology. Use CRC's discount code BLE17CRC to receive a 10% discount off registration! ( Learn more or register)
About the Capital Region Climate  Readiness  Collaborative
The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Capital Region.

The CRC is a program of the Local Government Commission.