The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) invite applications for Round 8 of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC). While the total amount available in Round 8 of the Cap-and-Trade-funded program has yet to be determined, funds available in SALC’s seventh round last year totaled nearly $66 million.
The funding enables successful applicants to develop plans to protect agricultural lands or to conserve such lands directly by acquiring agricultural conservation easements or purchasing land outright for conservation. New in round eight is the Capacity and Project Development grant component of the program. Up to $3 million dollars is available to help stakeholders expand organizational capacity to develop agricultural conservation acquisition projects.
“Protecting California’s agricultural lands avoids increased emissions associated with development and provides an opportunity to capture carbon in the land base,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) and its awardees play a critical role in advancing the State’s integrated climate change strategy and we are thrilled to open its eighth round of funding to applicants across California.”
SALC prioritizes funding for projects that benefit California Native American Tribes; beginning farmers and ranchers; farmers and ranchers who are U.S. Military Veterans; and farmers and ranchers who represent disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, or low-income households.
“Projects funded through SALC also support three key pillars of the Department of Conservation’s work. By protecting California’s working lands, the program supports local agricultural economies, reduces carbon emissions associated with urban development, and enables potential groundwater recharge,” said Department of Conservation Director David Shabazian. “We look forward to another year of providing funding that helps regions plan for and implement agricultural land conservation across California.”
Launched by SGC in 2015, SALC has awarded $298.9 million in its first seven years to projects that conserve 144 properties in 36 counties, protecting over 142,000 acres of agricultural land in perpetuity; and support development of 27 regional plans to conserve agricultural land.
DOC will host a series of workshops in May and June for interested applicants. Visit the SALC website for the most current workshop and registration information.
Eligible land acquisition applicants interested in funding for easement or fee acquisition projects must submit pre-proposals by Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Applicants interested in submitting a pre-proposal for planning grants should do so by July 1, 2022, to guarantee feedback. Capacity applications are due August 8, 2022, and acquisition and planning applications are due September 9, 2022.
The California Department of Conservation (DOC) administers SALC on behalf of SGC. SALC is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG 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 Investments 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 located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.