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.
- 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.
For more information on on SB 99 and changes to the EEMP, check out California ReLeaf’s blog.