Groundbreaking Awards Will Accelerate Restoration Across California
March 28, 2023
Note: To view the open Request For Proposals for the Roots Program, please visit this link. To view the open Proposal Solicitation Notice for the Sierra Meadows Partnership Program, please visit this page. Contact information for both programs is at the bottom of this page.
We are thrilled to share the news that this winter, the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) awarded Point Blue two major restoration-oriented block grants. In total, the two grants represent $50 million in funding to be spent over four years to support critical headwaters Sierra Meadow restoration projects, and for community-based restoration on working landscapes across California. Not only are these two block grants the largest by an order of magnitude that Point Blue has ever received, they are among the largest grants the WCB has ever awarded, signaling a deep trust in our organization to responsibly steward these public resources and achieve real and lasting conservation impact. Point Blue will be administering these funds with significant amounts redirected to partner organizations in addition to direct implementation by our own teams.
WCB is a primary implementing agency for Governor Newsom’s bold goal of conserving and restoring 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030, an initiative known as 30×30. As an integral part of this biodiversity and conservation initiative, WCB has been allocated significant general funds from the budget surplus this year to achieve the goals of 30×30. These two grant awards represent the culmination of more than 20 years of collaboration with state agency partners, and a year of deep relationship building and program development by Point Blue with WCB. We are deeply grateful to WCB for their trust in us, as well as the many partners and supporters who will be instrumental in achieving the grants’ outcomes.
The restoration of degraded lands is a tried and true conservation strategy that brings multiple benefits to wildlife and people. Increasing the pace and scale of climate smart restoration is a strategic priority for Point Blue. Restored ecosystems create wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, provide clean air and water, increase agricultural productivity, create recreational opportunities, sustain rural economies, create new career pathways in conservation, and generate other cultural values. The two awards approved by the WCB will support numerous restoration projects in two land types: 1) working landscapes like farms, ranches, school and community gardens, and landscapes that are stewarded for food and cultural resources across California; and 2) mountain meadows in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades.
The working landscapes block grant, which we are calling The Roots Program, provides $26 million over four years to build wildlife-friendly resilience and equity in California’s working landscapes through restoration and habitat improvement projects. Point Blue will prioritize outreach and funds to projects that are otherwise hard to reach through state funding mechanisms, with a focus on reaching disadvantaged communities. The funds will provide resources to support core work in our STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) and Working Lands programs while growing our capacity for equity building and social science research. This grant has a broad coalition of partner support including California Department of Food and Agriculture; California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs); the Yurok Tribe; Amah Mutsun Land Trust; Watts Rising, Compton People’s Garden; and numerous farmers, ranchers, and land trusts. Our block grant was developed in close collaboration with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, which was awarded its own block grant, and designed to complement their award and vice versa.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership Block Grant (SMP) awards $24.7 million over 4 years to the Sierra Meadows Partnership, to be administered by Point Blue. The Sierra Meadows Partnership, which Point Blue currently leads, is an established coalition of organizations working to restore and protect Sierra meadows. Of the estimated 280,000 acres of Sierra meadows, ~50% are degraded and climate change and development continue to threaten them.
Given the iconic nature of the Sierra Nevada and the critical importance of Sierra Meadows to California’s water supply, carbon sequestration goals, and the maintenance of biodiversity, state and federal agencies have agreed on the urgent need to increase the pace, scale, and efficacy of meadow restoration and protection. This grant will enable the restoration of 10,000 acres of critical meadow habitat and identify the next 2,500 acres of priority projects. Importantly, this grant helps the SMP reach its target of restoring and protecting 30,000 acres of mountain meadows by the year 2030.
These two grants represent an unprecedented opportunity for Point Blue to partner with WCB to help implement CA’s ambitious 30×30 goals. These block grants build on the decades of dedication and impact the organization has demonstrated and positions Point Blue for continued success across all of its programs. We were only able to secure these awards due to the continued support of the Point Blue community and we are grateful to all of you who have supported us over the past 57 years. And given that successful implementation of these grants requires that we secure additional funding to support restoration implementation statewide, we will continue to need your support to fuel these and as well as many organizational needs and programs that will not be covered by these grants.
At this critical inflection point in Point Blue’s history and the world around us, we are filled with excitement for the momentum we have and the increased impact our science, restoration, and education will have.
Funds from these awards are specifically designed to implement projects and put plants in the ground. In order for these projects to be as successful as possible, we need your help. To join us in this critical moment and help conserve wildlife across California as we strive to achieve the state’s 30×30 goals, please support Point Blue by clicking here. Thank you for being a part of our journey!