The California Legislature is back in session for this second year of a two-year session and there are many exciting issues at play.

CaUFC continues to work with Conservation Strategy Group, our partners, and decision makers on supporting urban forestry in Sacramento. Our 2014 public policy efforts include:

AB 32 Implementation (CA Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006)

  • Cap and Trade Revenue –- CaUFC is continuing our work that has been building over the 3-4 years with the Legislature and the Administration on making early and long-term investments in urban forests for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, focusing on disadvantaged communities and maximizing co-benefits of investments. The Governor’s Proposed Budget includes $50 million to CalFire for Urban Forestry and fire prevention.

More details will be revealed in time about specifically how much funding is going to Urban Forestry and how the program will be developed.

A history of the cap and trade revenue program can be found on the Air Resources Board’s website.

  • Urban Forest Protocols Update – Not to be confused with the cap and trade auction revenue allocation efforts (above), CaUFC is working on a committee to update the Urban Forestry Offset Protocols for more applicability and relevance to the potential for urban forests as offsets to capped sectors. More information can be found here.
  • Scoping Plan Update – CaUFC submitted letters to Air Resources Board as part of the process in updating the State’s Scoping Plan for meeting the goals of AB 32. This is the overarching long-term plan for how the State plans to meet the regulatory requirements laid out in Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). CaUFC has continued to advocate for the role of urban forests in meeting AB 32’s 2020 and 2050 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

2014 Water Bond

Two pieces of legislation are currently being negotiated in the Legislature to revise the Water Bond passed in 2009 and currently slated for the November 2014 ballot.

  • AB 1331 (Rendon) was amended on 1/6/14 and now includes promoting urban forestry pursuant to the Urban Forestry Act, among many other eligible activities, as an eligible expenditure under from the $1.5 Billion allocated under Chapter 6: Protecting Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters, and Watersheds.
  • SB 42 (Wolk) has not yet been amended this year, but the current version (9/11/13) does include funding for river parkways, urban streams, watershed restoration, multiple -benefit projects, and stormwater management through natural systems.

Parks Bond

Senator de Leon introduced a “spot bill” (i.e. placeholder) SB 783 last year for a Parks Bond. We expect the Senator to continue working on the content of this bill over the course of the legislative session and may offer it as an alternative to the water bond, should negotiations or public interest dwindle.

We will continue to work on these important opportunities with our partners – Local Government Commission, California Urban Streams Partnership, California Native Plant Society, Trust for Public Land, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Planning Association, California ReLeaf, and more.

Please keep checking back for more information and how you can help us secure these great opportunities for urban forestry in California!