Executive Director’s Report December 2020
Federal Policy Update – The TREE Act included in House Clean Energy Bill – On September 24, the House passed the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act (H.R. 4777) with an amendment that includes provisions of the TREE Act. Introduced in July by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the TREE Act would “create a cost-sharing grant program at the Department of Energy to provide funding to plant a minimum of 300,000 trees annually in residential neighborhoods that will reduce energy consumption and help protect public health.” Information on the TREE Act can be found on Booker and Capito’s websites.
An urban wood funding effort is afoot with the Forest Service. We’ve been asked to participate but I don’t have details yet.
Forest Service Regional Update – No update.
Forest Service Funding – Paperwork has been submitted for the July 2021-June 2022 – $195,000. Same as three years running.
Forest Service Research – The FS is asking for feedback regarding what we think is important. Please feel free to respond! Here is the text of an email I received:
As a federal research organization funded by taxpayer dollars, Forest Service Research and Development (R&D) must be responsive to the needs of consumers of our products and services. As one of our valued customers, we are committed to providing you with the information, technology, and service you would expect from a research organization working at the forefront to improve the health and use of our Nation’s forests and grasslands.
To help us continue to meet your needs and improve the level of our service, we ask you to please complete the attached survey. The survey, conducted every three years, is being managed and fielded by the CFI Group, a world leader in customer satisfaction measurement. Your responses will help pinpoint problems and identify ways in which we can improve our products and services and provide valuable feedback in guiding the future of R&D programs. This modest investment of your time will greatly help us as we strive to serve you better.
Click the following link to access and start the survey“
Cal Fire – Good news! Late last year we submitted grants to the CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry program – one was funded; one was not because of limited dollars available. Of the approximately $4M that CAL FIRE received from previous Bond Measures unspent dollars – our second grant for $1.5M for City Forst Renewal 2.0 received the go-ahead. We are waiting for the paperwork now. YAY!
As I said previously, due to COVID-19’s negative impacts on the State budget no Cap and Trade dollars were allocated AT ALL – anywhere, for the current budget. However, carbon auction sales did increase in August and it is assumed that after the December auction the State will have a significant amount of Cap & Trade dollars to decide what to do with, most likely early in the new year. Backfilling the COVID impacted budget will be a big part of that (illegal, who knows?) and CAL FIRE, and the fires will get more. We are working out our strategy with Pacific Policy Group now and looking for Legislators who will become advocates for U&CF to carry the request for additional funds, for all the right reasons.
CUFAC – (California Urban Forest Advisory Committee – to CAL FIRE)– met 10/28/2020 – finalizing the new strategic plan and working with U&CF staff for deliverables and applicability.
State Policy & Advocacy – Working on our various approaches – I, along with Pacific Policy Group have a Zoom call with the Governor’s office next week based on Newsom’s Executive Order – Innovative Strategies to Use California Land to Fight Climate Change, Conserve Biodiversity and Boost Climate Resilience (linked here). Two items we will focus on 1) Forests, 2) Urban Green Spaces. This is exciting. It has been hard to break into the new administration, but Amanda Hansen has these exact responsibilities and urban forestry and greening are part of the deliverables. Stay tuned! Through all of this, we are looking for legislative champions to help carry our message and funding request. I have reached out to CA ReLeaf regarding us joining forces, at least to a certain extent, on our advocacy work, so we have similar messaging and funding requests. We will be meeting again on this soon.
NEW – CIRCLE 4.0 (Cap & Trade Funding) –
More preliminary planning meetings have been held including with Project Learning Tree, Treetures, marketing folks at Taylor guitar, and Matt Ritter at Cal Poly SLO. We are working on an educational “APP” for kids partnering with Treetures and Harvey Mudd College while planning events out into 2022. As well, video production is underway with Beatie Wolf and Taylor Guitar, along with Street Tree Revival.
Cool Parks Program –
We tentatively have plantings coming back online in October 2020; to be confirmed as we get closer and COVID-19 impacts are being assessed. We have till 2022 on this grant so there is a lot of flexibility to meet obligations. Meanwhile, we are planning for the future. We are working on protocols for planting events and additional safety materials and procedures now.
We held an Instagram/Facebook live event with Sacramento State on 9/24/20! The new ways to get the work done during COVID-19!
Number of Trees
City Forest Renewal. This project is moving forward as COVID19 is less impactful. These are the cities we have begun work in or are in the planning stages with. We are addressing the removal of dead, dying, and diseased trees due to the ISHB. The cities will replant 2-for-1 for each removal. Each city is also reviewing its policies and ordinances as we succeed updates and changes.
Number of Removals
The Intersection Between Wildland Urban Interface and Urban Forestry – Daniel Jackman is the project manager through Davey Resource Group. I have received two reports regarding the research underway, and we recently had a planning call. Waiting to hear now with the next steps from that call. As well, The Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability’s new researcher, Francisco Escobedo, is beginning research into this topic too, bringing more resources to the table including social scientists, biologists, economists, and more. We will be looking at combining efforts. We have a call scheduled with the team and Eric Douglas, our facilitator, for planning out into 2021, in January.
Working with CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture – Tasha Newman, from Pacific Policy Group, has been in touch with David Pegos from CDFA. She and I are having a call with John Kabashima next week, getting an update on the two previous expenditures of $5M, the success of what’s happened, what still needs to be done, and whether we will be advocating for more funds for ISHB (Invasive Shot Hole Borer).
Regional Councils – each council is on its own schedule regarding events and five of the seven are generally very active. However, due to COVID-19 impacts things have been dialed way back. Most of the efforts are via GOTOMEETIMG or some version of this outreach tool. It would be fabulous to have the councils submit a monthly report to support our reporting to the Forest Service – here’s the link; we can try again! https://caufc.org/regional-council-report/
Webinars – We are happy to entertain ideas. If you have one reach out. Otherwise, Deb and I are brainstorming, one, for example, will be on Advocacy. REMEMBER REGIONAL COUNCILS – if you work with us locally addressing municipal policies we can fund your council for an additional $1,000! I’ll have a list soon of the first ones we will be offering in January – March 2021.
QuickBooks – I attended online training on managing restricted funds in QuickBooks. I still need to apply what I’ve learned but I am hopeful it brings the solution we need.
Prop 1 – California Coastal Conservancy We have preliminary news that our grant submittal has been approved for funding in 2021 utilizing our current model working with cities, community-based groups, etc., to plant 500 trees in the San Gabriel Watershed. Their board meets in February 2021 to make final authorizations.
We are acting as Fiscal Agent for the San Diego Regional Urban Forest Council and their project “Healthy Trees – Kate Sessions program” – As they raise funds they will plant trees in San Diego and we will manage their finances and make 10% overhead on the project admin.
A Company, We Mail For You, Inc. run by Wayde Masuko, contacted us regarding donating a mailing for us for fundraising. They were legitimate and Deb designed a postcard which was mailed right before Thanksgiving. Some donations have come in. We are hoping for more. Through this, our mailing list was partially cleaned-up. But names and companies and cities are always changing so it makes it hard. Anyway, it was a really nice thing for them to do and a good test.
Financial Documents – we received our 2019 Tax Documents back from the auditor and they have been submitted appropriately. I have paper copies if you are interested.
We are working on materials as an outgrowth of our webinar with Ming Kuo. This is so exciting! If you haven’t seen the webinar, you must! https://caufc.org/growing-human-health-equity/
Deb and I have also talked with Matthew Browning, the other key researcher on the Kaiser study, and we are looking at creating additional materials for him as we. Deb and I have received the study (proprietary) and are combing it for important facts to share.
Two of the three strategy Committees have met and reviewed their tactics. Committee 3 still needs to schedule. I will have a flowchart completed in time for our next call on October 15th capturing all of the ideas together.
Board of Directors Trainings – on our call next week we will discuss dates, timeframes, and topics for three board training, January, February, and March 2021.
Please be well; stay healthy and strong!