Second Climate Ready Grant Round Announced

The California State Coastal Conservancy announces the availability of funding for three specific types of projects through its Climate Ready program.  Grant applications are due August 22, 2014.




This second round of Climate Ready grants is intended to encourage local governments and non-governmental organizations to act now to prepare for a changing climate by the implementation of on-the-ground multiple-benefit actions that provide public benefits while lessening the impacts of climate change on California’s coastal communities and natural resources.

A total of $1,500,000 is available for awards through this competitive grant program.  The total amount available may be increased contingent on the availability of additional funding.  The minimum grant amount is anticipated to be $200,000; the maximum grant amount is $500,000.  The Conservancy will base the size of the award on each project’s needs, its overall benefits, the extent of competing demands for funds, and its consistency with Climate Ready Programmatic Priorities (page 7-8 under ‘Selection Criteria.’) In addition, projects selected for funding will be those that best meet the Conservancy’s three standard sets of criteria (page 7-8 under ‘Selection Criteria’): Project Selection Criteria and Guidelines, the Conservancy’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018, and specific funding criteria for acquisition and restoration projects. Consideration of social vulnerability will be an additional criterion for urban greening projects.

The 2014 Climate Ready Grants will prioritize funding for projects that implement on-the-ground activities that help prepare communities for a changing climate.  Due to currently limited funding, this grant round is targeting eligibility for funding to three categories of projects including those that:

(1) Address impacts from sea level rise using innovative green or natural infrastructure adaptation approaches, such as living shorelines.

(2) Implement a multi-benefit urban greening project, in communities with a high social vulnerability (see definition on page 6). Projects must contribute to implementing  climate action or sustainability plan targets to reduce GHG emissions (through measures linked to land use) and state natural resource goals by expanding or establishing a public park, open-space land, recreation area or wildlife habitat.

(3) Improve the resiliency and sustainability of agricultural operations and increase the natural resources conservation value of agricultural lands by implementing risk reduction strategies and Best Management Practices.

Research, modeling, development of planning tools, impact assessments, and preliminary planning activities are ineligible for this round of Climate Ready grants.

Successful applications will maximize public benefits to the coast, coastal watershed, or San Francisco Bay region, be consistent with statewide climate policy and natural resource plans, and will include an assessment of the project’s benefits and results to expand the knowledge of potential adaptation measures.  Grant funding would be available starting in spring of 2015.


The Conservancy is a non-regulatory state agency that works to preserve, improve, and restore the natural resources, agricultural lands, watersheds, urban waterfronts, public access and recreation along the Pacific coast and the San Francisco Bay shoreline and its adjacent counties.  The Conservancy is the implementation agency within the state’s Coastal Zone Management Program and it works with partner organizations to plan and implement projects that achieve the state’s goals.  The Conservancy’s work complements the regulatory role of the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).

Since the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) in 2006, the State of California has led the nation in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.  While the state is well on the way to meeting the AB 32 emissions reduction goals for 2020, emissions worldwide continue to rise dramatically.  Impacts from a changing climate are already being documented.  In recent decades, California has experienced the impacts of a changing climate with higher winter and spring temperatures and an earlier melting snowpack.  Along the state’s coastline the sea level has been rising.  At the Golden Gate Bridge sea level has risen by at least 7 inches over the past century.  Ocean currents have shifted and resulted in altered food chains, and warmer temperatures have caused shifts in the distribution of plants and animals to higher elevations and to cooler northward slopes and ranges.

Over the next century the California coastal region will experience more severe impacts from the combined effects of higher air and water temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, sea-level rise, salinity changes, ocean acidification, more severe El Niño climate events, increased storm frequency and intensity, higher coastal erosion rates, saltwater intrusion, and greater fire intensity and frequency.  These impacts will in turn increase vulnerabilities of our coastal infrastructure, public health and safety, and the natural resources which support our economy and way of life.

Recent study findings show that the climate-related choices we make today and in coming years can have a profound impact on future conditions (California Energy Commission Reports on the Third Assessment).  The Draft Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risks (December 2013) report identifies numerous strategies that can be used today to reduce short and long term risk (Draft Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risks).  Over the next decade, decisions made about where new development is located and where open space is preserved will affect our ability to protect buildings and humans from increased fire, flood and heat-related hazards. Similarly, land use planning and acquisition now will determine whether or not there will be open space that supports migration corridors for plant and animal range shifts.  Coastal marshes that are restored today will be more resilient as sea level rises, thereby maintaining the flood protection and ecological benefits they provide.  Studies also indicate that building in early adaptation measures can result in overall lower cost (The Bay Institute, 2013).  It is therefore urgent that we to act now to protect our coastal communities and economy as well as our natural resources, public health, agricultural resources, and recreational amenities.

In recognition of the urgent need to help local governments, ports and non-governmental organizations to prepare for a changing climate, SB 1066 (Lieu) was signed into law in 2012, giving the Conservancy explicit authority to assist others in addressing the impacts and potential impacts of climate change on resources within the Conservancy’s jurisdiction.  The Conservancy may award grants for projects that reduce GHG emissions or address extreme weather events, sea level rise, storm surge, beach and bluff erosion, salt water intrusion, flooding, and other hazards that threaten ports, harbors, coastal communities, infrastructure and natural resources. Priority is to be given to projects that maximize public benefits.  See Public Resources Code Section 31113.

Funding for the Climate Ready grant program will come from the voter-approved California Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 84).

Grant Application Procedure

The Conservancy encourages all prospective applicants to consult with our staff early in the project design and application development process.  This early consultation can prevent time and resources being spent on applications that are not likely to receive high ranking, and can result in recommendation for improving applications to potentially make it more competitive.

Submission Dates:  Proposals received by 5:00pm August 22, 2014 will be evaluated and ranked by a committee of Conservancy staff, and by outside reviewers where appropriate.

Application Submittal:  Please submit the completed application form, including all attachments (entire email can not to exceed 10 MB), via email to Kelly Malinowski, If you are unable to submit via email, you may mail a CD to the Coastal Conservancy:
State Coastal Conservancy
1330 Broadway, 13th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Refer to the Applying for Grants section of the Conservancy’s Grant Application Instructions for additional information on submitting your grant proposal. Additional resources, such as guidance for grantees and links to reports and useful websites are located on the Conservancy’s website at: at:

Please note: all information that you submit is subject to the unqualified and unconditional right of the Conservancy to use, reproduce, publish, or display, free of charge.  Please indicate if crediting is requested for any of the photos and/or maps.

 Grant Amounts: The minimum anticipated grant amount is $200,000, the maximum anticipated grant amount is $500,000. A total of $1,500,000 is available for awards through this competitive Climate Ready grant program.

Eligible Applicants:  Public agencies and certain nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding.  To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and its articles of incorporation must demonstrate that the organization’s purposes are consistent with Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, the Coastal Conservancy’s enabling legislation.

Regional projects to be carried out by multiple partners/entities are eligible. An entity that meets the requirements of the above paragraph may submit on behalf of the partnership; each collaborating entity should include as part of the application a letter of participation/support (may include partners from academia and the private sector). Note that multi-entity partnership applications remain subject to the maximum $500,000 award cap.

Eligible Project Locations:  Projects must be located along the coast or coastal watersheds of California (within the counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, or San Diego) or within the San Francisco Bay Area (including the entirety of  the counties of Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, or San Francisco).

 Eligible ProjectsThe Climate Ready program seeks to support actions that enhance the resiliency of coastal communities and ecosystems to a changing climate.  At this time, Climate Ready grants will support implementation of adaptation activities (including demonstration projects) that reduce risks, provide multiple benefits to public resources, and respond to changing conditions by:

  • Addressing impacts from sea level rise using innovative green or natural infrastructure adaptation approaches, such as living shorelines;
  • Implement a multi-benefit urban greening project, in communities with a high social vulnerability (see definition on page 6). Projects must contribute to implementing  climate action or sustainability plan targets to reduce GHG emissions (through measures linked to land use) and state natural resource goals by expanding or establishing a public park, open-space land, recreation area or wildlife habitat.
  • Improving the resiliency and sustainability of agricultural operations by  increasing the resilience of agricultural operations and their natural resource conservation values by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Below are some examples of types of eligible projects:

1)      Implementation of Adaptation Responses (including Demonstration Projects)

Implementing adaptation responses (which could include testing and documenting the effectiveness of innovative shoreline management techniques in  demonstration projects), that:

  Address Impacts from Sea Level Rise:

  • Reduce risks to human and natural communities, provide multiple benefits to public resources, and respond to changing conditions by restoring urban waterfronts and providing buffers from shoreline erosion, including through planned retreat and green or natural infrastructure such as living shorelines;
  • Protect and restore coastal watersheds and their floodplains to reduce shoreline flood damage, increase water infiltration, and provide wildlife habitat as well as help protect communities from flood damage;
  • Protect lands adjacent to shoreline habitats that will allow for migration of shoreline habitats and buffer areas as sea level rises;
  • Increase the adaptive capacity and resiliency of species by protecting or enhancing plant community and wildlife migration corridors and refugia, and by reducing stressors through management measures; and/or
  • Reuse sediment for beneficial purposes (wetland restoration and resiliency and flood hazard reduction), and improve regional sediment management to enhance the resilience of shoreline habitats as sea level rises.

Implement a multi-benefit urban greening project, in communities with a high social vulnerability (see definition on page 6. Projects must contribute to implementing  climate action or sustainability plan targets to reduce GHG emissions (through measures linked to land use) and state natural resource goals by expanding or establishing a public park, open-space land, recreation area or wildlife habitat to:

  • Diminish impacts of Urban Heat Islands;
  • Create more urban green space;
  • Conserve water;
  • Conserve energy;
  • Improve water quality;
  • Improve air quality;
  • Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (and associated GHG emissions);
  • Link to regional trails and other parks or green space; and/or
  • Create or expand and link habitat corridors.

 Examples activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Increase tree and vegetative cover in existing or new green spaces (such as drought-tolerant plants or native trees that enhance habitat viability for native species);
  • Capture, control, filter and/or store storm water (i.e. rain gardens, rain barrels, and vegetated swales) to mitigate water shortages during periods of drought, create more local water sources (reducing energy use and GHG emissions), and reduce polluted runoff;
  • Recharge groundwater supplies; and/or
  • Incorporate innovative infrastructure such as permeable surfaces or cool pavements.

Social vulnerability is defined as the “susceptibility of a given population to harm from exposure to a hazard, directly affecting its ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover,” (California Energy Commission, 2012). The identification of vulnerable populations and communities is based on demographic and environmental characteristics using one of the following maps:

Improve the resiliency of agricultural operations while increasing  the natural resources conservation values of agricultural lands by implementing risk reduction strategies and Best Management Practices (BMPs) that:

  • Enhance water use efficiency;
  • Reduce on farm water demand;
  • Reduce the need for stream flow diversions during periods of low flow;
  • Increase water filtration;
  • Capture and re-use water for multiple benefits;
  • Restore ecosystem services that support crop productivity;
  • Reduce runoff and soil erosion;
  • Provide vegetation buffers;
  • Protect watersheds;
  • Implement flood protection (e.g. through restoration or creation of wetlands, etc.);
  • Soil conservation practices and building soil health;
  • Implement management practices to store carbon in soils; and/or
  • Respond to changes in seasonal temperature and precipitation patterns.

 2)      Funding for final design and engineering specifications will be considered for projects as part of a larger project for which the applicant can reasonably demonstrate the near-term availability of funds for implementation.

Ineligible Projects: Activities ineligible for funding in this grant round include research, modeling, development of planning tools, impact assessments, and preliminary planning.

Additional information, resources, and summaries of previously funded Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready projects are available on the Conservancy’s website at:

Application Form:  The Conservancy’s grant application form can be downloaded from the Conservancy’s website at

Questions:  Questions about the application process may be directed to Kelly Malinowski, 510 286 5203 or Questions about potential projects may be directed to:

  • Karyn Gear, North Coast Program Manager (Del Norte to Coastal Marin), 510-286-4171 or
  • Matt Gerhart, SF Bay Deputy Program Manager (San Francisco Bay Area), 510 286 0317 or
  • Trish Chapman, Central Coast Program Manager (Coastal San Mateo to Santa Barbara), 510-286-0749,
  • Joan Cardellino, South Coast Program Manager (Ventura to San Diego), 510-286-4093,

Project Selection Criteria and Process

Project Review:
  Conservancy staff will review, evaluate and rank the applications based on the project’s relative significance and how well it meets the Selection Criteria stated below. Applicants may be contacted to provide additional information during the review process.  Conservancy staff will seek review assistance from outside experts, as appropriate.

Selection Criteria:  Projects selected for funding will be those that best meet the Conservancy’s three standard sets of criteria, and the Climate Ready Programmatic priorities, listed below.  In addition, projects must be tied to implementation of existing state plans or state mandated climate, natural resource, or public access plans related to your proposed project; see the end of the document for a list of key state plans.

Standard Project Selection Criteria:

 The Conservancy’s “Project Selection Criteria and Guidelines” (See the Conservancy’s Grant Application Instructions, Exhibit A:;

The Conservancy’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018 (See the Conservancy’s Grant Application Instructions, Exhibit B: ); and,

For acquisition and restoration projects, there are specific criteria pertaining to acquisition and restoration projects funded under Proposition 84 pursuant to Section 75071 of the Public Resources Code (See the Conservancy’s Grant Application Instructions, Exhibit C:

Climate Ready Programmatic Priorities (adapted in part from climate-smart principles developed by the National Wildlife Federation Climate Change Adaptation Principles, 2011, Resource Legacy Fund, 2012 and  Climate Smart Practices by Point Blue, 2013):

  1. Safeguard people and wildlife by using nature-based solutions that provide co-benefits for people, wildlife, and the economy.
  2. Prioritize projects that maximize public benefits and avoid poor or inadequate adaptation..
  3. Promote collaboration among various stakeholders and multiple sectors. Establish and expand non-traditional alliances to accelerate effective problem-solving between and among public and private resource managers, scientists, and decision-makers.
  4. Incorporate the best available science by utilizing peer-reviewed and well-documented climate science, climate adaptation strategies, and management practices.
  5. Focus on future climatic and ecological conditions rather than the past.
  6. Design actions from a landscape, ecosystem, and watershed perspective on a regional scale.
  7. Account for a high degree of uncertainty by developing and implementing strategies that provide the greatest benefits across a range of possible future climate scenarios.
  8. Minimize energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.  Enhance the ability of natural systems to sequester greenhouse gases.
  9. Address the needs of low-income and other underserved populations that will be highly impacted by climate change.
  10. Promote on-the-ground demonstration projects that implement innovative approaches or enhance understanding of effective management strategies and will potentially lead to broader change to policies, regulations, or to duplicating the effort elsewhere;
  11. Incorporates a project-appropriate educational component.

Conservancy Board Approval:  Projects selected for funding are subject to Coastal Conservancy Board approval of a staff recommendation.  Project funding will not be available until after approval of the grant award by the Conservancy Board at a noticed public meeting, and upon the execution of a funding agreement between the Conservancy and the grantee.  The earliest possible Board meeting at which projects will be considered is early 2015. Applicants are required to provide staff with all pertinent information in a timely manner to ensure Board consideration.

For additional detail on the process once a Conservancy grant has been awarded, please see Exhibit D of the Conservancy’s Grant Application Instructions (, “Typical Sequence of Activities for Grant Funding from Application through Project Completion”. 

 Examples of Key State Plans Include: