Funding Available for Ag Land Conservation

Cap-and-Trade Funded SALC Program Offers Grants to Protect Agricultural Land from Development, Lower Emissions 

NR#2019-01

January 2, 2019

SACRAMENTO – The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has approved grant guidelines and is seeking applications for projects that protect agricultural land and reduce greenhouse gases. Cities, counties, land trusts, and other governmental and non-profit entities are invited to apply for funding that will help California limit sprawl, strengthen the agricultural economy, and meet its carbon reduction goals through easements and plans that protect agricultural lands.  

Grants are made available through California’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program and are funded through a portion of cap-and-trade auction proceeds dedicated to greenhouse gas reduction. The amount available for fiscal year 2018-2019 has yet to be determined but totaled nearly $48 million last year.  Two types of projects are eligible for grant funding: agricultural conservation easement acquisition projects and planning projects.

Pre-proposals, or concept proposals, for easement projects must be submitted by Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Applicants interested in applying for planning grants are encouraged to submit pre-proposals as well. Complete applications for both easement and planning grants are due September 13, 2019. 

“The SGC is pleased to launch the fifth round of this critical program, which reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting local farms and farmers around the state,” SGC Executive Director Louise Bedsworth said.

DOC administers the program on behalf of the SGC and leads SALC Program implementation through guidelines development and coordination of the interagency team that reviews proposals and develops recommendations for funding.  After grants are awarded, DOC works with applicants to successfully complete projects protecting California’s valuable agricultural resources.

“The Department of Conservation has teamed up with the SGC, land trusts, and landowners to conserve thousands of acres of farmland to ensure food security and cleaner air in the future,” Department of Conservation Director David Bunn said.
The SALC Program contributes to the State of California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting agricultural lands and supporting compact development and low-emission transportation alternatives such as public transit and bike lanes.  This initiative prioritizes funding for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

Launched by the SGC in 2015, the SALC Program has awarded $123.9 million to agricultural conservation easements and planning grants in its first four years. These grants conserve 60 properties in 31 counties, protecting nearly 91,000 acres of agricultural land in perpetuity, and support development of eight regional strategies to conserve agricultural land.

Among the properties that will be protected from development are a 1,081-acre cattle ranch and honey bee operation near Redding in Shasta County. Properties already protected by SALC include 314 acres of a ranch near Placerville, completing the conservation of a 937-acre cattle ranch that has been in operation since 1859, and a 536-acre farm located in Monterey County. 

For additional information or for grant application materials, please contact the SALC Program at (916) 324-0850 or visit DOC's SALC Program Application Information page (www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp/grant-programs/SALCP/Pages/Application%20Information.aspx).

About California Climate Investments:
The SALC Program is part of the California Climate Investments Initiative, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.



Contact:
Don Drysdale
(916) 323-1886
pao@conservation.ca.gov