Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January 27, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

We are excited to share with you the news that the National Disaster Resilience Competition awarded the State of California $70 million to help Tuolumne County recover from the devastating Rim Fire in 2013. The Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, of which we are a member, helped to support this application, and we'd like to congratulate everyone who worked on this. The award will develop a Community and Watershed Resilience Program in Tuolumne County that will support forest and watershed health, develop a bioenergy and wood products facility, and establish a community resilience center - all designed to be sustainable long-term and replicable throughout the state.   

In light of this good news, we are using this issue to highligh the challenges faced by California forests during this severe drought. Without good forest management and watershed restoration, millions of dead and dying trees will increase our vulnerability to drought, flooding, wildfires, and more. Programs like the one in Tuolumne will be vital for California to protect its peerless landscapes and habitats, as well as the clean air and water on which we all depend.  

We are also excited to announce that Dudek has now joined the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative as our newest member. Welcome Dudek!

News and Research
2015 tops record for most acres burned by wildfire in the U.S.
For the first time, wildfires burned over 10 million acres in the U.S., reaching 10.12 million acres. The three largest fires were all in Alaska; California's Butte and Valley Fires were also among the top 10. The record acreage burned in 2015 underscores a pattern of an ever-lengthening wildfire season marked by more intense blazes driven by rising temperature and earlier snowpack melting. (Climate Central)
Drought could kill 58 million trees, with terrible consequences for water supply
Photo: Greg Asner
Using a laser imaging-mounted airplane, researchers have created detailed maps measuring water loss in California's forests as a result of the drought. The results are grim: 58 million trees are severely stressed and will likely die should the drought continue. New tree growth would also be suppressed, leaving room for shrub or grasslands to take over and destroying current ecosystems. There will also be a huge loss in carbon stocks, as well as future carbon sequestration and water storage potential. The maps will help to identify areas vulnerable to wildfires and inform decisions on areas to target fire prevention strategies. (Newsweek)
Closing biomass plants leave California forests in jeopardy
Photo: Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio
Millions of dead and dying trees in California create a huge risk of wildfire, but one solution that both reduces fire risk through forest-thinning and produces renewable energy is in jeopardy. Biomass power plants are idle or are closing down across the state, facing competition from the much cheaper wind and solar energy. That leaves thinned forest biomass facing the prospect of either open burning or landfills, neither of which is good for air quality and the climate. (NPR)  
North American conifers face massive die-off due to climate change
Photo: Craig D. Allen, US Geological Survey
Due to prolonged drought and rising temperatures, conifer forests could all but disappear from the Southwest by 2050, and forests all across the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere could face massive tree mortalities by 2080. The result is a feedback loop: as more trees die, future carbon sequestration will decrease while the carbon in the dying trees will also be released, further increasing climate change. This has important implications for ecosystem health, water storage, and the use of forests for carbon offsets and emissions reduction targets. (Nature Climate Change, Washington Post)

The devastating link between wildfire and sprawl

Photo: REUTERS/Noah Berger
All across the West, millions of homes have been added to the fringes of undeveloped, natural lands-the "wildland-urban interface"-since the 1990s. By extension, more people now live on the front lines of wildfires, which are growing in severity. Reining in sprawl through infill, zoning ordinances that allow greater density, and stronger land conservation laws would help ease wildfire-related losses and potentially decrease residential and vehicle emissions. (City Lab)

Privately owned forests can play bigger role in protecting critical watersheds

Millions of acres of forests across the West that are crucial to providing clean water are privately owned by small landowners, who may face challenges in managing them against increased wildfire risks. These forests are crucial to the health of watersheds supplying water for millions of people in the West, but few small landowners have taken steps to reduce fire risk, many of them citing cost as an obstacle. (AFF)

Seven charts to help you understand California's water prospects

Despite all the rain, the drought is far from over. Reservoir levels around the state are still hovering between 25 to 50 percent of their historical average. It is difficult to predict whether the storms will continue to come, and water conservation efforts - which failed to reach the state target in the last two months - should not slacken. (Grist)

How climate change could worsen the spread of Zika virus and other infectious diseases

Photo: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP
A warming world is likely to make it easier for mosquitos that carry dengue, West Nile, and other tropical diseases to reproduce faster, survive longer, and spread northward. Scientists warn that predicting their spread won't be easy. (Washington Post) Chagas is one of some 40 infections known as neglected tropical diseases, so-called because they infect 1.5 billion people in tropical regions but are largely ignored by governments and drug companies. An estimated 12 million Americans have one or more tropical infections, but most U.S. doctors have little knowledge about tropical diseases, and many cases remain undiagnosed. (Dallas Morning News

Financing and implementing local action key to climate progress

At least one-third of the carbon budget remaining to stay under 2C is in the control of cities and local governments, and everyone at COP21 seemed to know it. At the end of the talks, more than 7,000 cities and regions committed to slashing carbon emissions through their own local actions. Organizations like C40 and the Covenant of Mayors provide places for cities to compare practices, pool expertise and resources, and make collective commitments that don't require national rubber-stamping. With the majority of the world's population living in cities, financing urban resilience and climate action will be fundamental. (Next City
Resources and Tools
New tool to guide investments and community development in EJ communities
A new feature of the Regional Opportunity Index (ROI), My ROI allows users to produce customized maps of needs and opportunities using statistical and GIS tools to integrate information about a wide variety of key indicators (including education, economic development, housing, mobility, health, the environment and civic engagement). My ROI users can build maps with custom boundaries and indicators, generate summary statistics, and export PDF reports. (UC Davis CRC)
Upcoming Opportunities
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
This program seeks to develop community-based stewardship of local natural resources and address water quality issues in priority watersheds.  Its goal is to meet the conservation needs of important species and habitats, providing measurable and meaningful conservation and educational outcomes. There are $2.5 million in grants available, and applications are due February 3, 2016. (NFWF)
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. One award will be made per EPA region in amounts up to $120,000 for a two-year project. Proposals are due by February 12, 2016. (Learn more)
Science and Technology Policy Fellowship
The California Council of Science and Technology's Science and Technology Policy Fellowship provides a unique professional development opportunity to scientists and engineers. The fellowships are ideal for applicants who are interested in improving the interface between science and legislative decision-making. Deadline: February 29, 2016. (CCST)
USDA: $350M to protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and working lands
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is providing $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands, and wetland. Native American Tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase conservation easements. (USDA)
Upcoming Events

Local Government Commission: Groundwater Sustainability Training

January 28, 2016, 8.30am-5pm

The Local Government Commission is offering workshops for local agency staff to gain a better understanding of groundwater management in their region, impacts of recent legislation, and tools for effective stakeholder engagement. The Jan. 28 workshop is in Marysville. (Register)

Downstream Savings: From Water Efficiency to Energy Savings

Tuesday, February 2, 12-1pm PST

Join this webinar to hear innovative measures that the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge partners are taking to improve water efficiency while reducing energy use. United Technologies Corporation will discuss best practices in managing water at diverse manufacturing sites. The City of Atlanta will discuss their new, high-efficiency pumping station and how the efforts of large-scale users to reduce water use can help the City reduce both water and energy use. InterContinental Hotels Group will highlight their worldwide water management program, which includes metering and tracking consumption and water efficiency strategies. (Department of Energy)

Registration is still open for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference!

February 11-13, 2016, Portland, Oregon

Don't miss this opportunity to register for the 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference. This year's 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 ARCAA), green infrastructure, integration with hazard mitigation planning, community solar, and more. Registration is still open through February 8th. (Register)

American Water Resources Association: Webinar Series on Climate Adaptation

Feb 3-March 16, 10am PST

The Feb. 3 webinar will feature a discussion on flood planning and adaptation strategies proven to be successful in flood-prone U.S. coastal regions and cities, with examples and solutions drawn from Miami and Louisiana. On Feb. 24, the City of Santa Monica, NOAA, and the Western Regional Climate Center will discuss drought response and governance. On March 16, CH2M Hill and the Water Environment Research Foundation will present on climate adaptation and wastewater infrastructure challenges. (AWRA)

Sacramento Region Environmental Justice Tour

March 2016

The Environmental Justice Coalition for water is organizing an environmental justice community bus tour and training in March 2016. Participants will learn about local environmental justice issues from direct, lived experience of low-income and people-of-color communities in Sacramento and Yolo counties. Community hosts will lead the tour of affected communities. Several prominent environmental justice leaders from around the state will lead remaining sections of the training and group discussions on cross-cutting themes, collaborative, community-based environmental enforcement models and more. Use the link to see the proposed agenda, express your interest and share your availability. (Link)

2016 California Adaptation Forum

September 7-8, 2016

Long Beach, CA

Save the date for the 2nd California Adaptation Forum, heading to Long Beach, CA on September 7-8, 2016. This year's forum will feature a series of plenaries with high-level government, business and community leaders; a variety of breakout sessions on essential adaptation topics that reflect the diverse needs and challenges facing California; regional project tours highlighting adaptation efforts in Southern California; pre-forum workshops on tools and strategies for implementing adaptation solutions; and numerous networking opportunities where participants can share insights, best practices and lessons learned about how to most effectively respond.

The Call for Session Proposals process opens in early March, so be sure to mark your calendar and submit a proposal for the forum. Visit for more information.
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: