Application Released for New Climate Adaptation Grant Program

Participants on a CalCAN biodiversity farm tour inspect a hedgerow at Preston Vineyards. Hedgerows sequester carbon and provide vital habitat to birds, beneficial insects and pollinators. Hedgerow establishment projects are eligible for funding through the Wildlife Conservation Board’s new Climate Adaptation Program.

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) is currently accepting pre-applications for their new Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program through May 18, 2018. The program will fund conservation easements and adaptation planning, implementation, and technical assistance projects on natural and working lands that result in enduring benefits to wildlife.

Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Enhancement of biodiversity on farms and ranches, including but not limited to establishment of hedgerows, field buffers, shelterbelts and windbreaks, riparian habitats, conservation cover, or forage and biomass plantings to increase climate adaptation and resilience.
  • Development of tools that can be provided to natural and working land managers and supporting organizations to improve long-term management of ecosystems to provide resilience, and how to implement these tools in measurable and meaningful ways.

Eligible entities include: local governments, park and open space districts, resource conservation districts, private landowners, and nonprofit organizations.

Of the $20 million available to the program through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), at least $12 million will go to grants for the acquisition of perpetual conservation easements and long-term conservation agreements that conserve natural and working lands for at least 50 years.

The remainder of the funds will be used to develop and implement natural and working lands adaptation and resiliency planning that prioritizes the conservation and management of natural and working lands, provides technical assistance for natural and working land managers, and supports efforts that improve rural-urban coordination on climate change adaptation.

Program funding is directed toward projects that:

  • Protect and restore ecosystems on natural and working lands to provide climate change adaptation and resilience for wildlife
  • Assist natural and working lands managers in implementing practices that provide climate adaptation and resilience
  • Facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions
  • Increase carbon sequestration in natural and working lands, and provide additional social, economic, and environmental benefits

See the WCB Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program page for application instructions and documents.

CalCAN was among a coalition of natural and working lands groups that advocated for the creation of this new program.

Working lands, including agriculture, in California provide significant wildlife habitat and biodiversity in the state. Unfortunately, agricultural lands are being converted to less wildlife- friendly and greenhouse gas-intensive land uses, with California losing an average of nearly 50,000 acres of farmland per year. Climate change impacts will exacerbate this trend as farmers and ranchers struggle to maintain viable businesses in the face of greater water constraints, more erratic and extreme temperatures and precipitation, and new pest and disease pressures.

Interested to learn more about hedgerows? Check out CAFF’s recently published Hedgerow Guide for Farmers (2nd edition)

The solutions to these challenges can be mutually reinforcing: protecting agricultural lands prevents habitat loss and associated emissions, while restoring habitat for wildlife on crop and rangelands provides carbon sequestration and adaptation and resiliency benefits to both wildlife and producers.

In the Central Valley, for example, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers worked with an almond grower to install a half-mile native plant hedgerow that resulted in an $8,000 discount in bee hive rentals and better pollination for the farmer, carbon sequestration in the hedgerows’ woody biomass, and improved habitat and forage for native pollinators, songbirds, and even a den of coyotes under the coyote brush.

Have climate adaptation and resiliency stories from your own farm or ranch? We’d love to hear them! Send me a note at brian@calclimateag.org

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