This report explores new or expanded funding sources and financial tools that state and local governments in California can use to prepare for and respond to the effects of climate change in a fiscally responsible and equitable manner. The four pathways focus on funding for regional transportation planning, extreme heat policy reform, resilience finance districts, and wildfire risk reduction. This report, released on April 30, 2021, is authored by the OnClimate Team with support from Resources Legacy Fund.
Biden’s Conservation Commitment Much More Than A Climate Solution
May 7, 2021
The United States is facing a multitude of crises: climate change, species extinction, languishing public health, racial and economic inequity, and the legacies of colonialism. These crises were destined to collide, which is why resolving them demands an integrated problem-solving approach. President Biden’s launch on May 6 of an ambitious national initiative to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 (“30x30”) is an important contribution to solving the problems our nation and world have incubated over the past two centuries. We’re at a tipping point, and that is why the ambitious 10-year goals of this…
South America Conservation Fund
Established to facilitate existing conservation work in South America to protect wild landscapes and near-shore ocean waters in Chilean Patagonia and to explore possible conservation initiatives in other South American countries.
Canada and Mexico Protected Area Fund
Created to aid in the establishment of new terrestrial and marine protected areas in Canada and Mexico. The project supports, among other things, educational material development, short-term contract organizing support, public opinion research, and paid and earned media.
Campaign for Nature
This initiative is focused on establishing a new global goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the planet’s land and ocean in a natural state by 2030. Campaign for Nature staff work closely with leaders around the world to develop more ambitious international conservation targets through the Convention on Biological Diversity, increase financing for biodiversity conservation, and advance rights for Indigenous Peoples. The “30×30” conservation target is based in science and is designed as a rights-based approach to conservation to help reduce mass species extinctions and the devasting impacts of climate change as well as decrease the risk and impact of future pandemics.
Argentine Protected Areas
The project identifies near-term opportunities to capitalize on Argentinian support for protected areas, including developing campaigns to gain permanent protection for key marine and terrestial areas.
Sustainable Fisheries Fund
Since 2002, the Sustainable Fisheries Fund (SFF) has provided match funding for small-scale and under-resourced fisheries to work toward sustainability through seafood certifications, including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and most recently, the Fair Trade capture fisheries standard. SFF has supported work toward MSC certification for more than 55 fisheries, 33 FIPs that have received a grade of B or higher on FisheryProgress.org, and three Fair Trade-certified fisheries. SFF grants build technical capacity within small-scale fisheries and leverage industry investments in sustainable fishing. In coordination with our partners, RLF regularly updates SFF program criteria to keep pace with the changing landscape of sustainable seafood.
Northwest Mexico Land Conservation
Since 2008, under this program RLF implements a coordinated, adaptive framework to concentrate conservation investments in coastal priority areas on the Baja California Peninsula, systematically preserve the landscape integrity of the region, and prevent further fragmentation of coastal and marine habitats. RLF undertakes a multi-faceted approach to its work in Northwest Mexico, including land protection, capacity building, policy, and communications activities. RLF also coordinates with other grant makers and grantee networks to create synergies that multiply the impact of individual projects.
Boreal Strategic Advisors
Boreal Strategic Advisors (BSA) was created in 2017 to provide strategic direction, campaign management, and fundraising support for the International Boreal Conservation Campaign (IBCC). The IBCC, launched in 2000, has been working to conserve and sustainably manage at least one billion acres of intact boreal forest in Canada by the end of 2022. At the heart of this campaign is collaboration with and support for First Nations leading the effort to manage protected areas. Benefits of this work include: biological diversity, carbon sequestration, clean water and air, healthy communities, and sustainable economic development.
Ocean Defense Initiative
Ocean Defense Initiative works to strengthen ocean conservation leadership and raise the profile of the ocean climate nexus among decisionmakers and the public. The project supports policies that would leverage the ocean as a source of climate solutions, benefit ocean wildlife, protect ocean ecosystem health, and ensure the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources in a changing climate.
National Ocean Protection Coalition
Launched in 2018 to lead a coalition of more than 40 ocean-focused organizations defending America’s most treasured ocean places. The organization provides leadership, strategy, and coordination to a national marine monument defense campaign and is laying the groundwork to regain and expand marine protections.
Federal Fisheries Policy Coalition
Established in 2015, the project is a coalition of national ocean fish conservation organizations working in close coordination to preserve and, where possible, advance conservation gains in U.S. marine fisheries policy and management. Project priorities include ecosystem-based fisheries management and promoting climate-ready fisheries in the United States.
Sustaining California’s Ocean
The Sustaining California’s Ocean (SCO) program builds on more than a decade of RLF support for the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a public-private partnership that established the nation’s first science-based network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2012. California’s MPA network protects nearly 17 percent of nearshore waters including some of the state’s most iconic and beloved coastal areas. SCO cultivates a new approach to managing ocean and coastal habitats through inclusive partnerships to advance research and monitoring, stewardship, and compliance. SCO also seeks to modernize California’s ocean governance by helping to build capacity, leadership, and financing among local, tribal, and state governments and nonprofit organizations to effectively implement and manage the MPA network over the long term.
California Fisheries Improvement Strategy
The California Fisheries Improvement Strategy (FIS) program works to ensure commercially and recreationally significant California state-managed fisheries meet global standards for sustainability and good management. FIS fosters innovations in fisheries management and practices, supports improved capacity of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and promotes modernization of data collection and analysis.
California Coastal Program
Established in 2012, the California Coastal Program (CCP) seeks to elevate coastal conservation as a priority for California policymakers. The program works to advance funding and policies that address important threats, such as sea level rise, to coastal and marine resources and communities, promote equitable public access to beaches and other coastal resources, and ensure public agencies and officials are accountable for strong coastal management.
Parks Forward Implementation Initiative
In 2015, California’s Parks Forward Commission, with support from leading California philanthropies, set forth an ambitious ten-year vision for California parks. The Commission’s recommendations call for modernizing the California Department of Parks and Recreation to improve and diversify partnerships, provide access to all Californians, and ensure stable, diverse funding for parks. RLF collaborates with the Department, California Natural Resources Agency, and park partners to implement high priority Commission recommendations that deliver tangible outcomes in parks for all Californians.
Montana Parks Program
RLF launched the Montana Parks Program (MPP) in 2018 to support Montana’s Parks in Focus Initiative, an effort modeled after California’s Parks Forward Initiative, aimed at addressing the ailing Montana state parks system. Through MPP, RLF has conducted extensive public outreach and education, and is helping to shape and advance a set of recommendations that create more diverse and stable funding sources for state parks; broaden and strengthen the constituency for parks; and connect state parks to larger recreation and economic initiatives and community needs.
Equitable Infrastructure for Los Angeles
With the passing of Measures A, M, and W in Los Angeles and California Proposition 68—all developed and passed with the help of our partners—Los Angeles is poised to transform communities with billions of dollars of public funding for parks, transportation, drinking water, and coastal protection. Working with local groups, RLF is advancing a vision that will drive these new public funds toward priority parks and multiple-benefit infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities. This Los Angeles-focused program, launched in 2019, builds on RLF’s successful track record of policy and funding work and community engagement to leverage and mobilize recently created public funding sources to ensure the funds deliver on their promise to reach the county’s neediest communities.
California Conservation Innovations
The California Conservation Innovations program seeks to strengthen land and water conservation policies in California, increase long-term public funding for land and water conservation, and engage younger and more ethnically diverse conservation constituencies to help shape program conservation initiatives and increase conservation benefits for their communities. It works toward these goals by supporting efforts to advance policy goals related to parks access and stewardship, water resources, and climate change adaptation and resiliency; increase public funding and expand finance mechanisms for conservation; and increase participation and influence of under-engaged communities in conservation.
Western Energy Project
The Western Energy Project works to protect our treasured landscapes in the American West by ensuring that any development of oil and gas from our federal public lands is done in a responsible manner. We support the preservation of ecologically and culturally important areas, the adoption of common-sense protections for our water, air, land, and wildlife, and the safeguarding of opportunities for Americans to enjoy our public lands.
Center for Western Priorities
The Center for Western Priorities works to advance responsible conservation and energy practices in the West through the release of reports, polls, videos, podcasts, and earned media events. CWP encourages open, public debate and works to advance those discussions online, in the media, and throughout Western communities.
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Project
Established to support robust community and tribal involvement and promote sustainable use and enjoyment of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, providing tribal governments and local community organizations with resources to help manage the monument and to ensure that meaningful on-the-ground projects are resourced properly. The five member tribes (Hopi, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, and Zuni Tribe) are currently in litigation against the Trump Administration’s actions, which sought to reduce the monument by 85 percent and modified the make-up of the Tribal commission.
RLF Statement on Events of January 5-6, 2021
January 6, 2021
Today has been an extraordinary and scary day in American history, its developments generating feelings across an unimaginably broad emotional spectrum. We have been riveted, watching unprecedented violence in the nation’s capital (and, literally, in its Capitol building) that was driven by at best disingenuous and arguably seditious actions, taken at the highest levels of government. This jaw-dropping, mesmerizing spectacle almost eclipsed events of the last 24 hours in Georgia. Almost, but not quite. For in Georgia we are once again able to celebrate the effectiveness of fair and inclusive elections, led by dedicated, strategic grass roots organizing and advocacy…
Tomorrow’s Solutions Will be Found Where Issues Intersect
December 14, 2020
The lessons of 2020 are harsh and profound: science and leadership matter, resilient natural systems are essential to our health and security, and we have a long way to go on racial equity. As much as we all wish for 2021 to usher in a new era of hope and positive change, the work to achieve that reality is up to us. The last nine months have made clear that we need to think about and solve our problems in different ways. If we are to ensure a just and resilient future in which people and nature thrive, we must…
Governor Announces Ambitious Biodiversity Targets for California
October 7, 2020
Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of California’s land and ocean by 2030 (30x30). This announcement makes California the first state in the United States to commit to the global 30x30 effort targeted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The executive order also directs California to elevate the role of natural and working lands conservation in its efforts to combat climate change. “Resources Legacy Fund congratulates Governor Newsom for taking this bold and necessary step to stem the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. With this announcement, the governor demonstrates that…
A bond measure to protect California communities from wildfires, droughts, floods, and extreme heat events could create between 75,000 and 119,000 jobs statewide, and generate between $9.6 billion and $15 billion in total economic activity according to a new study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. The study, supported by the Resources Legacy Fund, provides a quantitative, model-based analysis of the economic and job impacts of a potential bond measure between $5 billion and $8 billion that reflects recent proposals from Governor Newsom and the State Senate and Assembly.
As California nears the milestone of its first decade of MPA network implementation, valuable new lessons continue to emerge that can be applied both to improve its own efforts and to inform MPA managers around the world. As the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems become more dire, there is also a growing interest in understanding how MPAs may help build resilience. Ensuring California’s MPA network is effectively managed is critical to both meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act itself and to ensuring the state’s MPAs contribute to a healthy and abundant ocean.
RLF commissioned this report to evaluate the constituency engagement strategy of its California Conservation Innovations (CCI) program. A research team conducted 19 interviews, two focus group sessions, and an online survey of 75 grantees to describe CCI’s grantmaking approach and its impact. This report summarizes the findings and makes five recommendations to RLF that can further evolve CCI’s constituency building strategy and outcomes.
California has committed to partnership-based model of managing its marine protected area (MPA) network, focusing on community stewardship and education, enforcement, policy and permitting, and scientific monitoring. This document summarizes some of the key components and lessons learned from California’s experience designing, launching, and implementing a program to monitor the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of its MPA network.
Climate change touches the lives of all Californians and virtually every aspect of state government. As California works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it must adapt to the climate impacts that have already begun and build resilience to face the changes to come. To help guide adaptation policies and funding under the Newsom Administration, RLF commissioned a review–including input from an advisory team of California scientists and policy experts–of California’s climate policy and approaches from the last 10 years and developed strategic recommendations for moving forward.
In March 2019, Resources Legacy Fund, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Ocean Conservancy together recommended actions the Newsom administration could take to help ensure the state’s extraordinary coast and ocean are healthy, productive, and accessible for generations to come.
Montanans cherish their outdoor heritage, including 55 state parks that get two million visits a year. In 2018, RLF worked with Montana Governor Steve Bullock to address the stagnant funding, lack of public awareness, and deferred maintenance plaguing Montana State Parks. The Governor created a Parks in Focus Commission. RLF staffed its year-long effort to solicit public input and craft recommendations to ensure the necessary resources, capacity, and expertise to build and support the parks system Montanans deserve. Read the Commission’s final recommendations, published in December 2018.
In partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, in December 2018 RLF offered near-term actions for the Newsom administration to consider in addressing wildfire and forest management; flood, drought, and safe, affordable drinking water supplies; and climate mitigation, transportation, and housing. The recommended actions were distilled from three separate half-day discussions of a dozen or more policy experts, stakeholders, and practitioners.
RLF commissioned this report, in collaboration with other funders, to define equity in the context of infrastructure funding, explain why equity matters, and identify strategies and recommendations for measuring equitable implementation of infrastructure funding. The report provides a simple framework for funders, advocates, and government agencies to use in advancing inclusive and integrated implementation of Measures A and M in Los Angeles County. These funding measures, passed by voters in 2016, will make available billions of dollars for years to come to support parks, open space, and transportation projects.