Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
November 4, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Monday brought Northern California's biggest rainstorm in the past six months, with more than a foot of snow falling in the Sierra Nevada. While the rain lowers the risk of new wildfires, the rainstorm does not mean the drought is over, or that we can now use water with abandon. Such is the severity of the drought that even above-average precipitation this winter will not be enough to fully recharge depleted reservoirs and groundwater levels. In fact, the combination of intense rainstorms and extreme drought increases the risk for flooding, leaving Californians in an uncomfortable paradox: we need enough rain to recover from the drought, but not so much that our drainage systems and levees are overwhelmed. 
News and Research
World braces for top three El Niño since 1950
It has choked Singapore with smoke, triggered Pacific typhoons, and left Vietnamese coffee growers staring nervously at dwindling reservoirs. In Africa, cocoa farmers are blaming it for bad harvests, and in the Americas, it has Argentines bracing for lower milk production and Californians believing that rain will finally, mercifully fall. While the peak of the effect won't reach the U.S. until February 2016, much of the world is already feeling the impact. (Bloomberg)
California faces future of droughts alternating with floods
Photo: Ray Bouknight via Flickr
A warming climate coupled with more intense El Niño and La Niña events could cause twice as many droughts and three times as many floods in California by 2080, according to a new study. The findings provide a more detailed look at how California's precipitation will change in the coming decades; previous models looked at decadal means, which do not take into account increasing variability in extremes of wet and dry. (InsideClimateNews)
Drought may decimate California's forests by 20 percent
Photo: Carnegie Institution for Science
Through aerial flyovers and a spectrometer that can measure the amount of water in leaves, biologist Greg Asner has painted a devastating portrait of California's forests. Up to 120 million trees are so dry and water-stressed that they are likely to die - even after a normal winter of rain. Low-elevation forests will be the worst hit, including the oak forests of the Sierra Foothills. Asner hopes that his detailed maps can help land managers identify vulnerable terrain and consider how to strengthen stressed trees and protect healthy ones. (LA Times)
Governor Brown declares bark beetle emergency
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency to address California's widespread tree mortality, which is exacerbated by extreme drought that has made millions of trees vulnerable to native bark beetles. More than 22 million trees have already died in the state, and Brown is asking the federal government for money and assistance to help private landowners remove dead and dying trees. (NY Times)

Endangered chinook salmon run nearly extinguished in Sacramento River

Warm water temperatures in the Sacramento River may have killed most of this year's juvenile winter-run chinook salmon, with less than five percent of juveniles surviving to migrate out to sea. Because of its three-year spawning cycle, the winter-run chinook could be at risk of extinction. This means that water may continue to be held back from Lake Shasta next year, while the state's $1.4 billion salmon-fishing industry may also be affected. (Sac Bee)

Intel, Google, PG&E join White House in climate pledge

Photo: EnergyBiz
Sixty-eight new companies, which also include Monsanto, Coca Cola, and Wal-Mart, have signed onto the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, bringing the total to 81 since June 2015. The companies promise to advocate for a strong global climate deal in Paris and also pledge to take steps to reduce their own carbon emissions. PG&E pledged to invest $3 billion per year through 2020 to upgrade California's electricity grid, weatherize 500,000 homes, and eliminate methane leakages from its natural gas distribution network.  (Link)

City of Sacramento makes solar cheaper and easier

The City of Sacramento launched a new program, Sacramento Streamline, to expedite the approval of residential and commercial installation permits for solar photovoltaic and water heating systems. Many residential permits can now be processed in one to three days. Permit fees were also lowered - a residential solar PV system under 10 kilowatts now costs $304 instead of $1,000. (City of Sacramento)

Placer County recognized by Dept. of Energy for energy efficiency leadership

The Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Placer County for improving energy efficiency by 20 percent in 10 years across its 5-million-square-foot portfolio of county-owned buildings and schools. Through DOE's Better Buildings Challenge, Placer's showcase project, the Granlibakken conference center and resort, is expecting a 43 percent reduction in energy use and savings of up to $44,000 each year. (DoE)
Upcoming Opportunities
Job opening: Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is recruiting to fill the Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator position for the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. This position will focus on assisting local governments to meet goals within the California Long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. The coordinator is responsible for developing and disseminating local government energy efficiency best practices, tracking statewide progress, facilitating partnerships between local government staff, and more. Application deadline is November 6, or until the position is filled. (More information)
Urban Waters Small Grant to address urban runoff
EPA's Urban Waters Small Grants Program helps community organizations, particularly those in underserved communities, restore their urban waters in ways that also benefit community and economic revitalization. For the 2015/2016 grant cycle, EPA seeks to fund projects that address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, with emphasis on underserved communities. Proposals are due November 20, 2015. (EPA)
USDA Innovation Challenge
The USDA Innovation Challenge is seeking apps that help build a sustainable U.S. food system by putting USDA data into the hands of farmers, researchers, and consumers. Given its complexity, agriculture has great potential for the use of big data and analytics, but the data must be accessible and insightful for users. Deadline: November 20, 2015. (More info)
100 Resilient Cities Challenge
Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the challenge seeks to find 100 cities worldwide that are ready to build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges of climate change. Cities will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, assistance in developing a resilience strategy, access to innovative tools, and more. The application deadline is Nov. 24. (Link)
Environmental Justice Small Grants and Funding Opportunities
The California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Small Grants are available to help eligible non-profit community groups/organizations and federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. Applications due January 22, 2016. (CalEPA)
EPA: Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants
This program encourages local, community-based organizations to address environmental or public health concerns within their community and to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve effective solutions. Cooperative agreements will be awarded to local community-based organizations. Proposals are due by February 12, 2016. (Learn more)
Upcoming Events

SACOG's 2016 Draft MTP/SCS and Draft Environmental Impact Report

The SACOG Board released the Draft 2016 Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (2016 MTP/SCS) and Draft Environmental Impact Report for a 60-day comment period closing on November 16, 2015 at 5 p.m. Public hearings will be taking place in Lincoln (Nov. 4), Woodland (Nov. 5), and Sacramento (Nov. 10). (More info)

Office of Planning and Research: General Plan Guidelines Workshop

Friday, November 6, 9-1.30pm

County Board of Supervisor Chambers

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research has thoroughly updated the General Plan Guidelines (GPG) and will be holding community outreach events throughout California during the public comment period. The new GPG will include resources, data, tools, and model policies to help cities and counties update their general plans. Planners, practitioners, and community members are invited to attend and learn about the updated guidelines, ask questions, and share their feedback. See the draft or register here

Webinar: Climate Action through Conservation

Friday, November 6, 1-2.30pm

Come and learn about a new, replicable portfolio of tools, policies, and economic incentives developed by the Nature Conservancy to help counties take climate action through natural conservation and land use. The initiative provides tools to assess how land-use scenarios, zoning, and policies for natural and working lands and urban forests will impact carbon stocks, GHG sequestration potential, and other conservation and climate benefits. It also helps counties and local governments to align positive conservation and climate outcomes with emerging state and local initiatives. Please RSVP to Alex Leumer ( 

Energy Secure Cities Coalition: Sacramento and Northern California Workshop

Thursday, November 12, 1-4pm

Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District

This half-day workshop will facilitate the exchange of knowledge among Northern California cities and counties, Northern California Clean Cities Coalitions, Vision Fleets, and the Electrification Coalition. (Register)

Webinar: The Ins and Outs of the LA Energy Atlas

Monday, November 16, 1-2pm PST

You're invited to join the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA) for a webinar diving into the LA Energy Atlas with project leads, Dr. Stephanie Pincetl and Zoe Elizabeth from the California Center for Sustainable Communities. During this webinar, you will learn about how to navigate and use the Energy Atlas and what it will take for an atlas to be developed for your community. (Register)

Webinar: Let's Talk Climate - Messages to Motivate Americans

Friday, November 20, 9-10am PST

71% of Americans believe that climate change is happening, but 68% believe that it's risky to admit their views on the issue if they differ from those of friends and family. EcoAmerica's new report Let's Talk Climate: Messages to Motivate Americans aims to help America start a new conversation on climate change. It delivers rigorously tested words, phrases, and narratives that link climate change to mainstream American values. The findings include personally relevant messages and will help your organization communicate successfully on the impacts - and opportunities - of climate change. The report will be released Nov. 13. (Register)

Region Rising: An inaugural collaborative conference

November 20, Sacramento

Region Rising is dedicated to dreaming big about what our region's future will be, and having challenging discussions on how each of us can bring it to life, now. The goal is to create one massive collision spot where more than 1,000 people come together from all areas to mix and collaborate in an idea-rich, high-value series of conversations that turn ideas into action. It is a day dedicated to helping us all better understand how and why we arrived at this point, and what we ought to do to make it even better - for everyone. (Register)

Registration for New Partners for Smart Growth is now open!

February 11-13, 2016, Portland, Oregon

The 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will focus on practical tools and innovative strategies for creating great communities, and will include more than 80 plenaries, breakouts, focused trainings, experiential learning opportunities, and implementation workshops. Climate change-related topics include regional collaboration (featuring the CRC and ARCCA), green infrastructure, integration with hazard mitigation planning, community solar, and more. Early-bird rates are available through December 4th. (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: