Sierra Sun Times file photo
March 23, 2023 - SACRAMENTO – The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) in coordination with the California Transportation Commission (CTC) today announced more than $6.6 million in funding for nine projects in six counties under CNRA’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation (EEM) grant program. EEM provides grants to local, state and federal governmental agencies as well as nonprofit organizations for projects that mitigate environmental impacts produced by new or modified state transportation facilities.
“As we continue to improve California’s transportation networks, great opportunities exist to pair these projects with environmental conservation improvements,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “This mitigation funding will enable more protected open space, habitat restoration and recreational access. It’s a great example of multi-benefit investments that improve our communities and environment.”
Many of the nine projects will specifically contribute to California’s effort to conserve at least 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters in their natural state by 2030.
The awarded projects are as follows:
El Dorado County
- The American River Conservancy was awarded $1 million to acquire, in fee, 1,025 acres in the upper Cosumnes River watershed in western El Dorado County to protect oak woodland and riparian habitat and provide connectivity between existing protected lands.
Los Angeles County
- The Trust for Public Land was awarded $1 million to acquire, in fee, 113 acres of high desert land south of Acton, Los Angeles County to permanently protect riparian and scrub habitats and provide public trail access.
- The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority was awarded $1 million to acquire, in fee, the undeveloped 512-acre Gilmore Ranch to protect chaparral, coastal sage scrub, grassland, and riparian woodland habitats. The property will be merged into the adjacent 6,006-acre Temescal Ranch Preserve and managed for conservation and passive recreation.
- The Los Angeles World Airports was awarded $500,000 to restore 50 acres of El Segundo Blue Butterfly habitat within the LAX Dunes Preserve, a 203-acre wildlife preserve adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport. The preserve is one of the biggest remaining coastal dune fragments in Southern California and contains the largest existing population of the federally endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly.
- Amigos de los Rios was awarded $500,000 to green the Monrovia High School campus in Monrovia by replacing turf with native landscape bioretention areas, planting drought-tolerant trees and shrubs and installing permeable surface paths.
- The County of Mariposa was awarded $429,330 to restore a three-acre riparian corridor in the City of Mariposa by removing invasive plants and planting native drought and fire-resistant trees and understory plants.
- Save the Redwoods League was awarded $900,000 to acquire a conservation easement on 1,116 acres of biodiverse redwood and Douglas fir forest to permanently protect 33 acres of old-growth redwoods, 38 legacy trees and 2.2 miles of fish-bearing streams.
- The Oswit Land Trust was awarded $1 million to acquire, in fee, 165 acres in the San Jacinto Mountains foothills, south of the City of Hemet, to permanently protect Riversidian sage scrub, coastal sage scrub, wetland and riparian habitats.
- The City of Dinuba was awarded $360,500 to develop a “pocket park” between two buildings in downtown Dinuba which will include trees, a rain garden, a bioswale, infiltration system, irrigation and permeable sidewalk.
EEM grants are funded through fuel taxes distributed to the CNRA by the California Department of Transportation. CNRA evaluates the initial applications and forwards recommendations to the CTC for final approval and allocation.