CAL FIRE Announces Urban Forestry and Forest Legacy Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

CONTACT: Daniel Berlant (916) 651-FIRE ex. 3473

SACRAMENTOCAL FIRE announced today the award of nearly $20 million in grants to local groups that will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon. The grants will add trees to urban communities and protect more than 2,400 acres of forest from development.

The grants are among the first for CAL FIRE using proceeds from California’s cap-and-trade program for combating climate change. Through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, CAL FIRE and other state agencies are investing in projects that directly reduce greenhouse gases while providing a wide variety of additional benefits in California communities.

The relationship of healthy trees to our state’s water supply is even more critical now because of the drought. California continues to invest millions of dollars into protecting working forest lands and improving our state’s urban forests which will help increase carbon sequestration and has the added benefit of helping protect our state’s precious water supply.
— Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director

The Urban Forestry Program grants will add trees to communities, make commercial use of felled urban trees that would otherwise be sent to landfills and help cities and counties track and better manage the trees that shade and beautify their communities. Grant rules require all new planting to occur later this fall, when temperatures have cooled, trees require less water, and planted trees face better odds of survival.

CALFIRE’s Urban Forestry Program helps advance the development of sustainable urban and community forests in California. Trees provide energy conservation, reduction of storm-water runoff, extend the life of surface streets, improve local air, soil and water quality, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, improve public health, provide wildlife habitat and increase property values.

The Forestry Legacy Program grants will enable the purchase of conservation easements on properties in Humboldt, Napa and Siskiyou counties, protecting the land from being used in ways that would increase greenhouse gas emissions – such as urban or agricultural development – and harnessing the ability of trees to “sink” or sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Landowners will retain ownership of their land and will not be restricted from using it for activities such as timber harvest, hunting, fishing and hiking.

CAL FIRE’s voluntary Forest Legacy Program ensures that forest will remain such forever – providing wildlife habitat and watershed protection as well as jobs, strong rural economies, grazing, recreation, wood, scenic beauty and research opportunities. To date the Forest Legacy Program has conserved nearly 96,000 acres of working forest lands in California.

Grant winners include cities, counties, districts and non-profit organizations across the state. Click here for a complete list of grant recipients.