• P. McNutt

California Conservation Innovations

California Conservation Innovations—an RLF initiative with core funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and additional support from other foundations and individuals—advances conservation priorities and funding that better reflect the needs, values, and faces of California. The five-year program strengthens conservation policies, increases long-term public funding for conservation, and engages younger and more ethnically diverse Californians in ways that increase conservation benefits to their communities. RLF understands that diverse leaders and organizations involved in conservation policy and funding will transform decision making and yield policies, programs, and projects more relevant to all Californians. This, in turn, will strengthen the overall conservation movement for generations to come.

Three strategies underpin California Conservation Innovations (CCI): policy, funding, and constituencies across parks, water, and climate change issues.

Conservation Policies
CCI supports implementation of the 2015 recommendations of the Parks Forward Commission, including equitable access to parks, modernized management systems for State Parks, and stronger partnerships. RLF also works to bring diverse voices to the state’s policies on climate change adaption, sea level rise, and safe drinking water, as well as to water quality and quantity issues in Los Angeles. Starting in early 2015, RLF managed a public education campaign—Our Bay on the Brink—to increase awareness of threats to San Francisco Bay, along with potential solutions. RLF adjusts engagement based on need and opportunity.

Conservation Funding
RLF works to develop new, stable sources of local, state, and federal conservation funding, equitably distributed. In June 2016, Bay Area voters in nine counties passed Measure AA, which will raise $500 million over 20 years from a parcel tax. The funds will support wildlife and wetlands restoration, trails and recreational assets, and flood protection for shoreline communities. RLF supports community organizations shaping the implementation of not only Measure AA but also 2016 Los Angeles County parks and transportation measures and a statewide marijuana legalization initiative projected to yield up to $300 million a year for stewardship of state parks and wildlife areas.

Conservation Constituencies
RLF engages with younger and ethnically diverse populations on CCI policy and funding priorities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley and statewide. These efforts include the Parks Now coalition, EnviroMetro, the Climate Justice Working Group, and numerous environmental justice and equity organizations.

RLF works closely with the Packard Foundation in implementing, monitoring, and refining the program.

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