After months of hard work, California ReLeaf and its partners secured passage of Senate Bill 99, which funds California’s popular Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) at $7 million in the 2013–14 State Budget. It also makes three important changes to the EEMP.
CA CapitalThe bill, signed into law last month by Governor Jerry Brown, changes several elements of the EEMP:
- It moves the administration of the EEMP from the Department of Transportation to the Natural Resources Agency. This is a major victory for the conservation community that was 20 years in the making.
- It focuses EEMP primarily on funding resource lands and urban forestry projects. This $7 million fund is the only statewide funding assistance for urban forestry projects in California in fiscal year 2013–14.
- It moves funding for “roadside recreation” projects (i.e., parks and trails) out of the EEMP to a new and much larger funding source established as a major component of SB 99–a $124 million Active Transportation Program.
This California framework for providing statewide grants for urban forestry projects through an environmental enhancement and mitigation program may offer a useful model for ACTrees members in other states.