Executive Director’s Report July 2020
Federal Policy Update – The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2021 budget. The bill includes $40 million for the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program, which is an $8-million-dollar increase over the current fiscal year. Congress is not likely to pass an appropriations package before the election, but this proposed boost to the program is great sign for urban and community forestry.
There is the TREES ACT and the TREE ACT, each moving from a different Chamber of the Congress. I have attached the TREE ACT sponsored by Doris Matsui in the House of Representatives.
Forest Service Regional Update –No update
Forest Service Funding – no update
Forest Service Research – Dr. Francisco Escobedo has accepted the position of Research Social Scientist with the Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics Program. Francisco will be reporting to Pacific Southwest Research Station in September and will be stationed at the Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability. Francisco has a PhD in Forest and Environmental Policy from State University of New York-ESF, an MS in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona, and a BS in Soils from New Mexico State University
Cal Fire – The contract for our newest CalFire U&CF grant proposal has been received, signed and returned awaiting the CAL FIRE final signature. I’d expect September before we will be able to begin planning the program.
CUFAC – the next meeting, planned as a Zoom event is tentatively scheduled for July 29th.
State Policy & Advocacy – Pacific Policy Group, our consultants, are still working with legislative staff in an attempt to acquire more funding for urban forestry for Cal Fire. Currently, there is $4 million budgeted from funds left-over from previous bond measures but no new allocations. We are hoping CAL FIRE will add from their own General Funds dollars to increase that amount. We are also working with LiUna, a labor union that represents West Coast Arborists, to include urban forestry in all of their labor negotiation conversations.
Legislators have pushed the return date of the Legislature from July 13 to July 27 because of Covid. Likely some kind of state and or Fed stimulus that could include green jobs; working to make sure UF is included.
CIRCLE Projects (Cap & Trade Funding) all three CIRCLE projects are complete. The newly awarded grant will be CIRCLE 4.0 – yet to be titled.
Cool Parks Program – All plantings for Spring 2020 are postponed, due to the COVID-19. It appears all will be rescheduled for the Fall 2020, 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.
City Forest Renewal. This project is moving forward as COVID19 is less impactful.
Webinars – We have held two webinars so far – one via Cool Parks called “Trees Are Essential – Urban Forestry 101” and the other called “Trees Are Essential – Managing Risk to Promote a Safe & Healthy Urban Forest”. Both can be found on our website. Our next upcoming webinar on July 20th is called “Tree Are Essential – Growing Human Health & Equity” – with Dr. Ming Kuo – not to be missed!
Other – We finally received the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program via Wells Fargo!
The “Trees Are Essential Campaign” has launched – please go to our site and take a look. Also, we NEED you, as leaders of this organization, to spread the word! Please follow us on FaceBook and other social media and forward out our messaging. Take the survey. Help us gather this important information! Thanks you!
Please be well; stay healthy and strong!