Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
November 16, 2018
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
Dear CRCRC Members & Supporters:

I'm at my desk as I type, and even inside the office my eyes are burning from the smoke that has reached Sacramento from the Camp Fire raging in Butte County. Another fire is burning simultaneously in Southern California, stretching literally from the mountains to the sea and leaving horrific destruction in its wake. While we know that wildfire is only one of the significant impacts of climate change we face here in the Capital Region, the intense air pollution and the ripple effects of the damage it causes are probably the most visceral reminders of how deeply connected we are and how distant disasters can affect us all directly. Jurisdictional boundaries mean nothing when the whim of wind direction can send smoke hundreds of miles in any direction, bringing "business-as-usual" to a halt and wreaking havoc with the health of our most vulnerable populations. These events are heartbreaking reminders of the importance of building capacity to address climate changes and improve our resilience across the region - starting with awareness and knowledge and continuing with new types of collaborative projects and programs.

To that end we are actively planning our Q1 2019 Adaptation Exchange on February 6th, which will be a presentation of the Sacramento Valley Regional Report of California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment and a dialog about the findings with local leaders. Please make plans to attend and invite your colleagues, as this will be an excellent chance to hear what the latest studies are telling us about the impacts we face in our region.

As 2018 draws to a close I want to thank you all for your membership and support of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative. Together we make possible what none of us could accomplish alone.


Kathleen Ave,
Chair, Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

To read the full letter, from Kathleen, click here.
Protect yourself from wildfire smoke and help wildfire victims
To find the latest data on local air quality and smoke impacts, you can visit AirNow, Spare the Air, or if you prefer to communicate in only emoji, this map. Learn how to keep yourself safe outdoors and at home. Please consider donating to help the communities affected by the Camp and Woolsey Fires; the New York Times provides a list of ways to help as does Curbed SF.
California's wildfire and climate warnings still too conservative, says scientist
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
As firefighters battle to contain the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, a climate scientist says the reality on the ground is surpassing what the 4th Climate Change Assessment projected just months ago. The report estimated that the average area burned by wildfires would increase 77% by 2100 and the frequency of extreme wildfires would increase by nearly 50%, assuming a high-emissions scenario. Dr. LeRoy Westerling of UC Merced said wildfires are likely to continue to outpace those recent projections because the underlying global climate models underestimate precipitation changes in California, including periods of prolonged drought. ( Link)
The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires
Photo: NASA
A succinct summary of the scientific evidence on how climate change is worsening California wildfires: Higher temperatures dry out vegetation and soil, creating more wildfire fuel. Climate change is shortening the rainy season, thus extending the fire season. Climate change is also shifting the Santa Ana winds that fan particularly dangerous wildfires in Southern California later in the year. The warming atmosphere is slowing the jet stream, leading to more California heat waves and high-pressure ridges in the Pacific. Those ridges deflect from the state some storms that would otherwise bring much-needed moisture to slow the spread of fires. ( Yale)
Solutions to wildfires in time of climate change are costly, unpopular
California's deadly wildfires have a straightforward solution, experts say: stop building homes in places that are likely to burn - and make homes that already exist in those areas a whole lot tougher. That approach, would be expensive and unpopular. But as climate change causes more frequent and shocking blazes, wildfire experts say anything less won't make enough of a difference. Suggestions include broadening the definition of high-risk areas, mandating compliance with wildfire codes for older homes, and restricting development in high-risk areas. ( Insurance Journal)
Devastating storms may spur action on disaster preparation
Photo: Zack Wittman/Bloomberg
A record 12 months of storms across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico has intensified the debate over climate adaptation: Whether, and how much, to tighten the rules that govern home construction in areas prone to flooding, hurricanes and other dangers that are increasing because of climate change. Insurers have typically argued for more stringent codes and standards, while home builders and realtors often warn higher up-front costs could deter buyers. People who work in resilience cite early indications that the record disasters of the past two years may be starting to shift the discussion - even if the effects of that shift are still hard to see. ( Link)
This 'tree' has the environmental benefits of a forest
Photo: Green City Solutions
The CityTree, a mobile installation which removes pollutants from the air, has been popping up in cities around the world, including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong. Berlin-based Green City Solutions claims its invention has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees. But the CityTree isn't, in fact, a tree at all - it's a moss culture. "Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants," said Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions. The huge surfaces of moss installed in each tree can remove dust, nitrogen dioxide and ozone from the air, as well as 240 metric tons of CO2 per tree per year. The installation is autonomous and requires very little maintenance: solar panels provide electricity, while rainwater is collected into a reservoir and then pumped into the soil. ( Link)
Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds
Photo: Michael Nichols/National Geographic/Getty Images
The annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilization, according to a major report produced by WWF involving 59 scientists from across the globe. It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water, pollination, and food. The biggest cause of wildlife losses is the destruction of natural habitats, much of it to create farmland. Three-quarters of all land on Earth is now significantly affected by human activities. Other recent analyses have revealed that humankind has destroyed 83% of all mammals and half of plants since the dawn of civilisation and that, even if the destruction were to end now, it would take 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover. ( Guardian)
How to write about a vanishing world
Illustration: Emiliano Ponzi
Hope and its doleful twin, Hopelessness, might be thought of as the co-muses of the modern eco-narrative. Such is the world we've created-a world of wounds-that loss is, almost invariably, the nature writer's subject. The question is how we relate to that loss. Is the glass ninety-five per cent empty or is it five per cent full? The message that there's still "something we can do actively" has a lot to be said for it. It offers a rationale for not giving up-on species, on whole ecosystems-which is also a rationale for continuing to research these subjects and, perhaps most relevant for scientists turned authors, for continuing to write about them. Narrating the disaster becomes a way to try to avert it. ( New Yorker)
Climate change has created a generation suffering from 'ecological grief.'
More researchers have been looking into the psychological effects of climate change, especially since experts have warned that the cycle of fires and floods appear to be here to stay. A 2017 recent study on health impacts of a smoky summer in Yellowknife showed that people demonstrated feelings of fear and isolation due to the rapidly changing climate, calling the feeling "ecological grief" over the loss of the environment they once knew. But the wildfires, and climate change in general, are also impacting mental health in more urgent ways: the immediate mental distress caused from being forced to evacuate, and the more subtle, prolonged feeling of anxiety or loss for people who are seeing the smoke and watching the crisis unfold from afar. ( Link)
Tools and Resources
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family From Wildfire Smoke
The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's air quality experts offer advice and suggestions on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, including tips on how to protect your home and settings for your HVAC systems. ( LBNL)
EPA: Smoke-Ready Toolbox for Wildfires: Smoke and Your Health
This page provides a list of resources that can be used to understand the health effects from wildfires and actions to take to protect your health from smoke exposure. ( EPA)
Upcoming Opportunities
Input needed: Share your thoughts on the Adaptation Planning Guide
The State is currently in the process of updating the California Adaptation Planning Guide, a set of four documents designed to help local jurisdictions plan for hazards exacerbated by climate change. Part of the update process is gaining public input on what is needed to develop and incorporate climate strategies specific to each of the State's regions. Please participate by taking this brief survey. Your input will play a critical role in helping your community best respond to the impacts of climate change. Deadline: December 19. ( Link)
Provide input on Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has opened a proceeding to guide and review investor owned electric utilities' wildfire mitigation plans, which are required by SB 901 and are central to California's strategy to prevent and prepare for catastrophic wildfires. Stakeholder review and input is crucial. Participation in this proceeding is your community's opportunity to provide guidance and review of wildfire plan components including: wildfire prevention strategies for electric utilities; protocols for mitigating impacts of public safety power shutoffs; utility procedures for maintenance and inspection of lines; outreach to first responders and customers, including low-income, elderly, disabled, and those with limited English; and restoration of service after a wildfire. Comments can be submitted up to Dec, 31, 2018. ( CPUC)
Antioch University: Climate Change Resilience Series
Join Antioch University New England's Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience in an exciting series of online courses focused on the fundamentals of climate change resilience. The six courses include Climate Impacts: Communication, Facilitation and Stakeholder Capacity Building; Climate Impacts: Vulnerability & Adaptation Planning; Business Resilience & Continuity; and Climate Justice & Equitable Adaptation. Each course runs four weeks and may be completed online in approximately 8 hours per week. Starts Nov. 4. ( Register)
Free Technical Assistance: Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities
The Strategic Growth Council is offering technical assistance (TA) in the form of direct application assistance and capacity building services for potential applicants to the FY 2017-2018 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program. These services are offered at no cost to the TA recipient and are available statewide. Interested applicants should complete   this form. SGC Staff will assess the collected information and allocate TA resources according to a number of selection criteria. Deadline: Wednesday, November 21. ( Link)
CARB: Grant Solicitation for Clean Mobility Options for Disadvantaged Communities
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is announcing a grant solicitation for an administrator to implement the Clean Mobility Options Projects for Disadvantaged Communities, which aims to improve clean transportation access and to increase zero-emission and near zero-emission mobility choices for disadvantaged communities. The Grantee, in collaboration with CARB, will develop and administer a program to fund small-scale car sharing and ridesharing projects for these communities. Currently up to $17 million is available for fiscal year 2017-18, intended to support this program over the next two years. Deadline: November 28, 5pm. ( CARB)
California ReLeaf - 2019 Social Equity Forest Improvement Grant Program
The 2019 Social Equity Forest Improvement Grant Program will support nonprofit and community-based organizations with funding for tree planting projects. While significant focus will be on supporting projects located in disadvantaged and low-income communities, 25% of the funds will be open to state-wide competition in all communities. Emphasis will be placed on shovel-ready projects. Proposals are due by Friday, November 30. ( ReLeaf)
Caltrans FY2019-2020 Grant Programs - $40 million available
Caltrans has $40 million available for transportation planning projects for FY2019-20. The Sustainable Communities Grants ($29.5 million) program will encourage local and regional planning that furthers state goals, including, but not limited to, the goals and best practices in the Regional Transportation Plan guidelines adopted by the California Transportation Commission. The Strategic Partnerships Grants ($4.5 million) will identify and address statewide, interregional, or regional transportation deficiencies on the State highway system in partnership with Caltrans. The transit component will fund planning projects that address multimodal transportation deficiencies with a focus on transit. The Adaptation Planning Grants ($6 million) will support planning actions at local and regional levels that advance climate change efforts on the transportation system. Deadline: November 30, 2018, 5pm. ( Link)
CARB Solicitation: Financing Assistance for Lower-Income Consumers Pilot Project
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is announcing a grant solicitation of $18 million for an administrator to implement the Statewide Financing Assistance for Lower-Income Consumers Pilot Project. The project goal is to help improve access to affordable financing mechanisms for lower-income consumers throughout California to purchase or lease clean vehicles by providing low-cost loans and vehicle price buy-down grants. This solicitation is open to federal, state, or local governments, and California nonprofit organizations with expertise in building partnerships, coordinated outreach and education in disadvantaged communities, and general knowledge of CARB's Low Carbon Transportation Equity Projects. Deadline: December 3, 2018, 5pm. ( Link)
Draft Guidelines for the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program
The Strategic Growth Council is accepting comments on the draft guidelines for the   Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program. There will be two public workshops on the draft guidelines, one in Sacramento on November 20. Deadline: December 3, 5pm. ( Link)
Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program
The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program is now accepting applications for awards for 11 grantee communities in 2019. The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program provides tailored technical assistance for communities to develop Safe Routes to Parks action plans and awards $12,500 to each community to begin implementation of those plans. Deadline: Monday, December 10. ( Link)
Cal Fire releases $155 million funding programs for forest health and fire prevention
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) is soliciting applications for $155 million in projects that will help prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forest health while sequestering carbon and reducing GHG emissions. The Fire Prevention Grants Program will fund local projects that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential to communities in, and adjacent to, forested areas. Qualified activities include hazardous fuel reduction, fire planning and fire prevention education with an emphasis on improving public health and safety. The Forest Health Grants Program will fund projects that proactively restore forest health, protect upper watersheds, promote the long-term storage of carbon in forest trees and soils, and minimize the loss of forest carbon from large, intense wildfires. Conservation easements and land acquisitions are also eligible under the Forest Legacy Program. In addition to the $155 million, up to $3.5 million will be available specifically for applied research studies that examine forest management and health to support forest landowners, resource agencies, and fire management organizations. The deadline for the Fire Prevention program is 3pm, December 19, 2018, and for the Forest Health Program, 3pm, January 29, 2018. ( Link)
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Mini Grant Program
SACOG will award mini-grants of up to $3,000 per project in support of small events and non-infrastructure programs or projects that encourage biking, walking, riding transit, carpooling, vanpooling and teleworking, as options for reducing car trips and vehicles miles traveled. Projects that focus on testing a new strategy or tactic for changing travel behavior will be prioritized. Applications considered on a rolling basis until $30,000 has been awarded for each of two application phases. The second phase is open July 15 through December 31, 2018. ( Link)
FEMA FY 2018 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program and Flood Mitigation Assistance Program
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program (PDM) funds State, Local and Tribal Governments 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. The   Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program funds State, Local and Tribal Governments to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In FY18, the FMA Program will prioritize proposals that address community flood risk by setting aside $70 million for this purpose. Deadline for both programs: January 31, 2019. ( PDM & FMA)
$395 Million Available for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Round 4
Round 4 of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program is now open for applications. Administered by the Strategic Growth Council and implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the AHSC program funds land use, housing, transportation, and land use preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduces GHG emissions. Deadline for   applying for technical assistance is Nov. 21. Deadline: February 11, 2019. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Mayors' Commission on Climate Change Public Meeting
Monday, November 26, 1-4pm, Sacramento City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento
The Mayors' Commission on Climate Change will be conducting its first public meeting to discuss the City of Sacramento and City of West Sacramento's vision to achieve carbon zero by 2045. Presentations and discussions will be centered around climate risks and impacts facing the region, key opportunities and barriers to achieving carbon zero, progress updates on city climate action efforts, and the overall goals and structure of the Commission. The meeting will be open to the public and allow for public comments regarding the Commission's work. An RSVP is not required to attend. Learn more about the Mayors' Commission on Climate Change here. ( Link)
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Guidelines Workshop
Tuesday, November 20, 1pm
Department of Conservation, 801 K Street, MS 14-15, Sacramento
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Staff invite to you to workshops in on the Program's recently released 2018-19 Draft Guidelines. The workshops will cover significant changes made to the Guidelines, including changes to the risk options, planning grant requirements, easement associated costs allowances, jobs reporting, and incentives for projects located within priority populations. ( Link)
Meeting of the Minds Annual Summit
November 27-29, 2018, Sacramento
The 12th Meeting of the Minds Annual Summit convenes 400+ smart city leaders across the globe with the purpose of spotlighting emerging and tested urban sustainability solutions which are scalable, replicable, and transferable for cities and regions. Discussions are rooted in a deep understanding of technology and equity as key drivers for smart cities. Key urban issue areas will include water policy, mobility, EVs, electric bikeshare, parking, downtown and waterfront redevelopment, housing, inclusion and equity, food systems, health, homelessness, climate resiliency, IoT, innovative governance, and more. ( Register)
Getting Ready for the Rain! Nature-Based Solutions and Hazard Mitigation Plans
Wednesday, November 28, 10-11.30am PST
This webinar will showcase unique approaches in Massachusetts and Vermont to incorporate nature-based solutions in hazard mitigation and climate adaptation planning at the state and local level. This webinar will cover State Hazard Mitigation requirements, showcase how State plans incorporate and implement nature-based solutions. Massachusetts staff will discuss the Municipal Vulnerability Program and Vermont staff will showcase a partnership to protect and improve water quality and reduce the impacts of erosion and flooding during extreme weather events. ( Register)
Capital Region Broadband Summit
Thursday, November 29, 1.30-4.30pm
Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive, Rancho Cordova
Join the Connected Capital Consortium for an important discussion on the current state of broadband infrastructure, access, and adoption in the Capital region; learn about actions being taken by community leaders to address critical local and regional challenges; and help determine priorities for ensuring a future-ready region for our work in 2019. ( RSVP)
Sierra Nevada Regional Workshop - 4th California Assessment and Adaptation Planning Guide
Monday, December 3, 10am-3pm
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board Room, 128 Market St., Stateline, NV
For the first time,   California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment included 9 regional reports with localized summaries of climate impacts and adaptation solutions. These regional reports can help local and regional governments respond to climate change, as well as comply with new State mandates such as SB 379. This workshop, hosted by the Sierra Business Council's Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP), will help researchers connect with Sierra Nevada stakeholders and community members to communicate findings, identify gaps, and strengthen researcher-practitioner partnerships. The workshop will also feature the California Adaptation Planning Guide and update process, including a deep dive on region-specific planning needs to identify gaps between adaptation planning and strategy implementation. ( Register)
CARB Workshop: Sustainable Communities Strategy Evaluation Guidelines
Wednesday, December 12, 2-4pm
Sierra Hearing Room, Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
California Air Resources Board (CARB) is hosting this workshop to seek input on development of the SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) program evaluation guidelines. CARB staff will solicit stakeholder feedback on the SCS evaluation framework, information exchange process (i.e., technical methodology, data submittal), and guidance on approaches for quantifying GHG emissions reductions from potential strategies. The Draft SB 375 SCS Evaluation Guidelines as well as the presentation slides will be available prior to the workshop. Webcast available. ( Link)
CEQA: The Year in Review
December 13-14, San Francisco
2018 has been another exceptional year for CEQA legal and policy developments! Major amendments to the CEQA Guidelines are expected to be adopted by the end of 2018, while housing bills enacted in 2017 created new CEQA streamlining options that now are being implemented. In addition, the appellant courts have published numerous CEQA opinions with major implications for environmental practice. As always, California's pre-eminent attorneys, planners, and experts will provide you the latest insights, trends, and practice advice. ( Register)
Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon - Carbon Zero by 2045
Friday, December 14, 11.30am-1.30pm
Sacramento Association of Realtors, 2003 Howe Avenue, Sacramento
We will receive an update on regional air quality in the wake of devastating wildfires, learn about the work of the Mayors' Commission on Climate Change, and talk about upcoming resources to inform environment-related decision-making. These gatherings are an opportunity to connect with leaders in government, business, health and environmental advocacy and learn about important air quality topics affecting the Sacramento region. ( RSVP)
California Bioresources Economy Summit 2019
January 29-30, 2019, David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA
The California Bioresources Economy Summit will bring together policymakers, bioresource experts, technology innovators, community groups, and researchers to explore how the State's bioresources from the forest, agricultural, and urban sectors can help the State adapt to and mitigate climate change, improve air quality, create jobs, and achieve other co-benefits. ( Link)
Save the Date: CRC Workshop on the Sacramento Valley Report from California's 4th Climate Change Assessment
February 6, 2018, UC Davis
By 2050, climate change could lead to an additional 11,300 deaths in California due to rising temperatures, with an exponential increase in the number of extreme heat days in many areas. The average area burned by wildfires could increase 77% by 2100, while the state would also see more swings between extremes of drought and precipitation. Join the CRC at our first quarterly meeting of 2018 to hear from researchers and authors that wrote the Sacramento Valley regional report for the 4th Climate Change Assessment to learn about how climate impacts affect the Sacramento Valley area specifically. See other regional reports and events here.
Registration for the National Adaptation Forum is now open!
The 4th National Adaptation Forum will take place in Madison, WI, from April 23-25, 2019. Attendees will learn how to make their work climate-informed, share insights with others, and develop a stronger network of like-minded peers. Early registration ends March 1, 2019. ( Link )
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.