Executive Director’s Report January 2021
Federal Policy Update – Please see the letter to the incoming Biden Administration from the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition laying out the needs for U&CF in the new administration.
Federal Urban Wood Funding – No update
Forest Service Regional Update – No update.
Forest Service Funding – waiting for the final contract to be returned.
Forest Service Research – No update.
Cal Fire –
Good news! The grant paperwork on our latest grant arrived yesterday (City Forest Renewal 2.0), I’ve printed and signed it and returned it to CAL FIRE. It’ll be a few more weeks, then we can get started.
The legislature is back at work, and for the most part virtually. We are beginning work on co-sponsoring an Urban Forestry Bill with State Senator Anna Caballero, also working with CA ReLeaf. This is exciting, and it is being kept very simple, essentially further procuring funds for CAL FIRE U&CF and the Strategic Growth Council’s Urban Greening program, by allowing CA taxpayers to check a box on their tax forms to donate money to trees in CA! This can grow over time, and we have a long way to go.
The Governor has also included $10 Million in his budget for U&CF – a first! We’ll be working for more but this is unexpected and good news.
CUFAC – (California Urban Forest Advisory Committee – to CAL FIRE)– No update.
State Policy & Advocacy – see above.
NEW – CIRCLE 4.0 Amplifying Urban Forestry –
Work continues with planning meetings being 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 planted 100 trees in the City of San Rafael on October 17, 2020, utilizing new COVID policies. Of course, much harder to manage so we are rethinking our approach further for upcoming events, potentially this Spring. We have till 2022 on this grant so there is a lot of flexibility to meet obligations.
Not any real change since the last report due to the holiday break!
Number of Trees
City Forest Renewal. This project is moving forward as COVID19 is less impactful in this process. 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 in updates and changes. Upland is our first City to update its tree care policies through our program! More to come.
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 four reports regarding the research underway, through December. 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 planning call scheduled with the team and Eric Douglas, our facilitator, for our outreach into the community and the workshops we will be facilitating later this year, supporting our efforts to meet our goals of the grant and support U&CF recognition in fire impacted communities.
Regional Councils – 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/
San Diego is the first Council to take advantage of sponsoring a webinar partnering on our City Forest Renewal policy update efforts. Reminder! Each council that does so will get an extra $1000 for the support.
Webinars – We are happy to entertain ideas. Our next webinar is scheduled for 2/2/20 entitled HOT & DRY! Cutting Edge Urban Forestry Efforts Outside of California! Presenters are from Boise and Phoenix.
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.
2020 Financial Documents – I will have the DRAFT 2021 Budget for the Board call next week and most likely the draft closeout financials for 2020.
Outreach – No update – 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.
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.
Over the break, I took a tour of a wood mill in West Marin called Arborica. What a remarkable place addressing the use of trees once removed due to death or dangerous conditions. The place is like no other I’ve visited.
Please be well; stay healthy and strong!