From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the availability of over $200 million in new funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under Drought, Climate and Nature-Based Solutions Initiatives. This new funding for restoration and protection of critical habitat and watersheds statewide also supports key initiatives including conserving 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 under California’s 30×30 initiative, Nature-Based Solutions, and increasing the pace and scale of restoration through Cutting the Green Tape.
CDFW has also launched a new online application portal to receive applications for grant funding under these new initiatives. As part of its Cutting the Green Tape efforts, this streamlined application and review process will remain available on an ongoing basis, allowing applicants to submit one application for consideration under multiple funding streams. CDFW is accelerating the review and approval process under this funding with the goal to review and approve the award for grants for selected projects within 30 days of receipt. Following awards, CDFW will work to develop agreements for awarded projects.
“The time to act is right now because California’s ecosystems face dire conditions for our species,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This funding is absolutely the push we all need to put some largescale projects across the finish line.”
An overview of the new funding available for restoration, including grants, is as follows:
Drought Emergency: Protecting Salmon – $100 million
In response to current drought conditions, the California Legislature authorized $100 million to allow CDFW to protect and restore salmon in 2022 and 2023. This funding will support restoration and protection projects that enhance salmon resiliency to drought and climate change.
CDFW also plans to dedicate $20 million of this funding within the Klamath River Watershed to projects demonstrating support from and collaboration with Tribes and landowner interests. This $20 million will be available as follows:
- Up to $10 million available for projects within the Scott River and its tributaries; and
- Up to $10 million available for projects within the Shasta River and its tributaries
Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020 Executive Order N-82-20 (PDF) outlines a comprehensive and results-oriented agenda to expand nature-based solutions across California, advancing an approach to restoration that works with and enhances nature to help address societal challenges. Two new programs within CDFW will work toward this goal.
Wetlands and Mountain Meadows Restoration
As part of the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative, up to $54 million is available for projects that restore or enhance wetlands and mountain meadow ecosystems with quantifiable greenhouse gas reduction benefits, consistent with the Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy (PDF) and Pathways to 30×30. The program will also support pilot projects for CDFW’s forthcoming Beaver Restoration Program.
Up to $42 million under Nature-Based Solutions will be available for CDFW for connectivity planning and implementation projects consistent with the State Wildlife Action Plan, the state’s efforts on connectivity, and the Fish Passage Annual Legislative Report (PDF) or efforts to allow fish and wildlife the freedom to roam in California by accelerating fish and wildlife corridor projects.
Addressing Climate Impacts
Up to $35 million is available to support projects addressing urgent degrading water and habitat conditions due to climate change impacts, including for grants. Eligible uses of these funds include purchasing water from willing sellers to benefit wildlife, protecting instream flows, building water conservation projects, implementing emergency restoration activities and conservation strategies identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan with a priority on actions that protect the Species of Greatest Conservation Need identified in the plan.
CDFW has developed a single set of General Grant Program Guidelines with an overview of eligible project types, priorities and information on the application process, available at wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Restoration-Grants/Concept-Application. Applications submitted under these new initiatives may also be considered for further evaluation under CDFW’s Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 Grant Programs, and a separate call for projects will also be released for these programs in early 2023.
More information about these funding opportunities, including guidelines and how to apply, general information about CDFW’s grant programs, as well as a schedule for upcoming grant solicitations, once available, can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/Grants.