“I am very pleased to see how we have achieved our initial climate goals ahead of schedule and under budget. But I would certainly be remiss if I did not recognize the fact that in the first steps, we are really picking the lowest hanging fruit,” said Sen. Ben Allen of California’s 24th District, who chairs the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “I say this not to diminish what has been accomplished, but to highlight the work in progress and to prepare ourselves for what is likely to be the most difficult work to come.”
The California Climate Action Seed and Matching Grants, awarded in August, provide a total of $83.1 million to 38 teams to conduct two-year climate resilience projects in every part of California. In March, 15 UC locations also received $1 million each to seed climate-focused business efforts.
In total, funded projects include more than 130 community, industry, tribal, and public agencies, as well as 12 UC locations, 11 California State University campuses, and two private universities. Partnerships funded by these grants span 51 of California’s 58 counties, with more than $9.2 million going directly to community, nonprofit, and tribal partners.
Raquel Williams, vice chairman of Wilton Rancheria, opened the program with a greeting and prayer in the Miwok language. After what Secretary Crowfoot said, Sen. Allen, UC Vice President for Research and Innovation Theresa Maldonado, Chief Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Saharnaz Mirzazad, and UC Provost Katherine Newman, four of the Climate Action Matching grantees, presented their projects.
Steve Allison, professor of ecology at UC Irvine, talks about how his team is developing new equity-informed approaches to planning for wildfire risk. Ted Grantham, associate professor of cooperative extension at UC Berkeley, will build and deploy new digital planning tools to democratize water allocation. Cynthia Daley, a professor in the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, will compare carbon sequestration between farms managed using regenerative and conventional agricultural techniques. And Megan Jennings, conservation ecologist at San Diego State University, will bring together tribal organizations throughout Southern California to strengthen the connections between the traditional ecological knowledge of Native Californians and academic climate science and management. land.
“Our state is a natural environment for innovative ideas and bold action,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, MD, in recorded remarks. “We are very grateful to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature for this historic investment in research that will help us solve this pressing problem. I am proud to see the University of California and our partners working together to increase the strength of climate change for communities across the state, especially those hardest hit by climate change.