Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
July 15, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative


We'd like to congratulate Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative member Sacramento Tree Foundation on receiving not one, but two awards from cap and trade funding from CalFire. The first project - which CivicSpark members have been supporting - will increase the urban forestry canopy in disadvantaged communities in South Sacramento, and the second project will creatively reuse urban wood. The Tree Foundation is the only community-based organization to receive two grants. Urban trees are an important community asset, and no less so in times of drought, as they help to clean our air, cool our houses, beautify our neighborhoods, and promote healthier, happier residents.  

News and Research
EPA calculates high costs of climate change for the U.S.
Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

If nothing is done to stop climate change, by 2100, the U.S. will see an additional 12,000 deaths related to extreme temperatures and an additional 57,000 premature deaths related to poor air quality, in one year in the 49 cities analyzed for the peer-reviewed report. The economic costs would be enormous, as well: an additional $4 to 7 billion in road-maintenance costs, $3.1 annual damage to coastal regions, $6.6 to 11 billion in agricultural damages, and $110 billion lost each year due to unsuitable working conditions. (NY Times

Federal agencies asked to factor climate impacts into budget
Photo: Getty Image

The Office of Management and Budget is asking all federal agencies to consider climate preparedness and resiliency objectives in their budget requests for the construction and maintenance of federal facilities, starting for the fiscal year 2017 budget. ( The Hill)

Neighborhood trees are unintended victim of watering restrictions
Photo Credit: City of Newport Beach

As people have stopped watering lawns and landscapes, they are inadvertently killing trees in parks, along streets and medians, and in residential neighborhoods. But unlike lawns, trees require less water and provide many benefits, and their slow growth makes them difficult to replace. State agencies are launching a new campaign to let people know that they can and should water their trees. The number of street trees in California has not kept up with population growth, with tree density declining 30 percent since 1988 as cities added more streets than trees. (Al Jazeera)

Graywater systems taking off in California
Photo Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

Californians are increasingly turning to graywater systems that channel water from laundry, showers, and bathroom sinks to irrigate trees, lawns, and other outdoor landscaping. Graywater systems were only legalized for homeowners in 2009, and today the systems are becoming more popular, despite high costs and permits. The greatest potential lies in the future, when buildings are built "gray-water ready", as a forthcoming proposal to the Los Angeles city council would require. (LA Times)

Signs suggest strong El Niño could provide drought relief - and flooding?

There is growing evidence that California could see an even stronger El Niño event this winter than the 1997 one that caused massive flooding across Northern California. Stunning images from a new weather satellite show what could become a historic El Niño in full bloom. Rainstorms could help recharge reservoirs, but massive runoff could also bring floods. (USA today)

Drought brings the use of wastewater for irrigation

Photo: OriginClear via Bloomberg

Fracking produces billions of gallons of wastewater, and with the current drought, the industry is considering ways to recycle that water or sell it to farmers. Last year, Chevron piped almost 8 billion gallons of wastewater to almond and pistachio farmers in the Central Valley, while the state's biggest oil company plans to quadruple the amount of water it sells to farmers. Fracking has come under renewed scrutiny this year. A new report from the California Council on Science and Technology found that there were many information gaps in fracking, such as unknown toxicity levels for a third of chemicals used. (Bloomberg)

New NASA data shows how the world is running out of water

The world's largest underground aquifers - a source of freshwater for hundreds of millions of people - are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of groundwater storage. The study found that 21 out of the world's 37 largest aquifers are being depleted faster than they are replenished, among which 13 were declining at the most rapid rates. The most-stressed aquifer is the Arabian Aquifer System, and fourth is California's Central Valley. (Washington Post)

How the drought can support an ecological rebirth for California

Californians ripping out their lawns have more options beyond dirt or gravel. Some people are choosing native plants such as California poppies and sage scrub to turn their backyards into a part of the local ecosystem. The result is an ecologically rich garden that benefits a range of wildlife and insects, sustaining local biodiversity while saving water and maintaining aesthetic appeal. (Guardian)

Upcoming Opportunities
Sign up for the Cool California challenge!

The CoolCalifornia Challenge is a statewide competition engaging cities to save energy, conserve water, reduce their carbon footprints, and help build more vibrant and sustainable communities. In 2014, 10 cities participating in the Challenge engaged nearly 4,000 households to take simple, everyday actions, saving more than 800,000 pounds of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. All cities receive prize money based on points. If your city would like to participate in this year's Challenge, please sign up by August 31. An informational webinar will take place on July 27. (CoolCalifornia)

Call for Posters: California Climate Change Symposium 2015
Mon-Tue, August 24-25, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento

The California Natural Resources Agency invites researchers, local governments, private sector stakeholders, and other groups working to support climate resilience to submit abstracts for posters. Posters should present current scientific research projects or implementation of strategies to promote climate resilience. Find out how to submit posters here.

Local Government Commission Seeks Regional Coordinators for CivicSpark

CivicSpark is seeking Encore Fellows to serve as Regional Coordinators. Encore Fellowships are paid, time-limited fellowships that match skilled, experienced professionals with social-purpose organizations in high-impact assignments. Each CivicSpark Encore Fellow will spend 1,000 hours over a 13-month period supervising a team of 3-8 AmeriCorps Members, managing partner relationships, and proving support to project management and implementation. Encore Fellows would act as an integral part of the CivicSpark team, supporting the AmeriCorps members and coordinating closely with LGC staff in Sacramento to ensure the program is implemented successfully in the region. We are currently looking for applicants for teams in Fresno, Sacramento, Truckee, and San Luis Obispo. (Application form)

Resources and Tools
CivicSpark: Helping local governments on climate change and sustainability

CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps initiative that supports local governments in their climate change and sustainability work. In its first year, CivicSpark members have been supporting urban forestry for disadvantaged communities in South Sacramento, building community engagement on climate action in Davis, evaluating the Yolo County climate action plan, and analyzing the regional transportation infrastructure's vulnerabilities to climate risks. If you are a local government looking for additional capacity and support on your climate change projects, please consider hiring a CivicSpark member on a 3- or 6-month, or full-year basis. Learn more about how the program works; applications for the 2015 to 2016 service year are now open. 

EPA Releases GHG Inventory Tool for Local Governments

The EPA's step-by-step guide helps local governments to create a GHG inventory with two approaches, one for government operations and facilities, and one for the community as a whole. This can support local governments interested in promoting green government operations, creating a climate action plan, determining a baseline GHG inventory, and setting GHG reduction targets. (EPA)

EcoAmerica: Two reports on climate leadership and public health

In May, ecoAmerica convened the 2015 MomentUs Leadership Summit: Path to Positive that brought together nearly 200 leaders from the health, faith, higher education, business, and local communities sectors to build knowledge and collaborate on strategies to inspire and empower climate leadership in America. This report provides key recommendations from the summit for how leaders within and across sectors can accelerate action on climate solutions. After the Climate for Health National Leadership Convening in April 2015, the report summarizes the findings and thought leadership shared by speakers and participants on how health leaders can elevate their leadership, advocacy, and action on climate change solutions.

Upcoming Events
Webinar: Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Compare Drought Management Practices
Thursday, July 16, noon-1pm PDT

Water utilities need reliable data on the potential impacts and costs associated with drought versus mitigation strategies. This webcast will cover the results of a research project on how drinking water utilities can use cost-benefit analyses in drought planning, and the issues and challenges they face in implementing drought management practices. (Register)

EPA Webinar: Communicating the Connection between Climate Change and Heat Health

Wednesday, July 22, 11am-12:30pm

This webinar will explore how public health and environmental professionals can effectively communicate and leverage the connections among climate change, the heat island effect, and public health to raise awareness among the public and to promote progress on these issues. Topics covered include: EPA's new framework for local governments on communications and outreach; George Mason University's recommendations for effective messaging on climate and health; the American Public Health Association's strategies, tools, and resources for effective communication; and Minnesota's experience communicating these connections through their Climate and Health program. (Register)

Preventing HealthCARE from becoming healthHARM
Thursday, July 23, 8am-4pm
UC San Francisco at Mission Bay

This workshop will identify connections between the environmental impacts of healthcare and its effects on human health. Join us to learn what healthcare professionals can do to make a difference. Presentation topics include the impact of climate change on health, how healthcare organizations are taking action to reduce their environmental impact, and more. Breakout sessions will focus on practical actions and sharing of best practices such as sustainable food, hospital waste, reprocessing of single-used devices, reusable linens, and a tour of the new LEED-gold medical center at Mission Bay. (More info and registration)

Webinar: How to properly manage your urban forest in a time of drought

Join us for this informative webinar as we receive an update on the Governor's Executive Drought Order, and hear from representatives at the local level on strategies that local governments can take towards meeting these water mandates while preserving their tree inventory. (Register)

About the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, visit: