Topic: Public Funding

Proposed Funding Pathways for Adaptation to Climate Change in California

Climate Funding Pathways Report Cover

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.


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.

San Francisco Bay Area Conservation

RLF has been working in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001, when it commenced efforts to secure the acquisition of commercial salt ponds surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Current efforts support wetlands restoration around the Bay, with a focus on building a diverse constituency to support equitable, long-term funding and government policies for Bay restoration and flood improvements, including the effective implementation of Measure AA.  

RLF also supports a regional land conservation approach in the Bay Area that boosts ecosystem resilience for conservation and communities. RLF focuses on multi-benefit conservation efforts that protect and restore high-value habitat and wildlife linkages, provide recreation opportunities, and address natural threats such as climate change, flood, drought, and fire.  

Oregon Conservation Program

Launched in 2015, the Oregon Conservation Program supports development of effective conservation projects and policy, including long-term funding for land and water conservation. The program employs public education campaigns to build awareness and support for dedicated public funding streams and policies that advance Oregon’s conservation practices, including working lands and forest conservation. RLF engages diverse voices, including Oregon Tribes, in water conservation policy and funding discussions.

Even a Child Can See: Parks Access is More Important than Ever

The other day, my daughter asked if it was safe for us to have a family beach day again. She immediately frowned when I reminded her that even if a nearby beach were open, we would have nowhere to park because the lots are closed. “So, only people close enough to walk there, get to go to the beach?” she asked. “How is that fair?” She’s only 11 years old, but she already understands something many adults don’t: That everyone needs access to outdoor spaces, but not everyone has it. The COVID-19 crisis is reminding us how essential parks and…

CCI Constituency Engagement Strategy Evaluation

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.


Finding Ways to Pay for Climate Adaptation

RLF supported and guided AECOM’s creation of Paying for Climate Adaptation in California: A Primer for Practitioners. The October 2018 report describes options for investing in more resilient California communities and infrastructure and recommends ways to overcome the challenges that discourage cities, counties, water districts, utilities, state agencies, private companies, and other entities from making the investments California needs to thrive despite climate change. (Summary can be found here.)