Sacramento - The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced the release of funding for Round 9 of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program, a state grant program addressing climate change by conserving California farmlands and encouraging compact transit-oriented communities. While the total amount available in Round 9 of the Cap-and-Trade-funded program won’t be determined until September, funds available in Round 8 last year totaled nearly $105 million.
Since its first round of awards in 2015, the SALC Program has awarded $373 million to projects, indefinitely conserving more than 194,000 acres of agricultural land in 36 counties. SALC planning and acquisition grants fund awardees to develop plans to protect agricultural lands or to conserve such lands directly by acquiring agricultural conservation easements or purchasing land outright for conservation; The third type of SALC grant, capacity and project development grants, support the capacity of local organizations to develop agricultural conservation projects.
“Projects funded through SALC also support three key goals of our department’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.”
The SALC Program 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 live in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities or households. In the latest round of SALC guidelines, SGC has reduced the match requirement for acquisitions from 25% to 10% in recognition that match funding requirements may be prohibitive in communities where such match funding is harder to access. Applicants whose projects will benefit priority populations may apply for 100% funding with no match funding required.
“We are thrilled to open the Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program’s ninth round of funding, which will continue to permanently protect agricultural land from urban sprawl,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “Every year, applicants propose important, innovative, and actionable projects that will preserve agricultural lands in a way that works best for their communities.”
Applicants interested in funding for easement or fee acquisition projects must submit pre-proposals by Friday, June 16, 2023. Applicants interested in submitting a pre-proposal for planning grants should do so by June 30, 2023 to guarantee feedback. Capacity applications are due July 21, 2023, and acquisition and planning applications are due September 8, 2023.
DOC will host a series of workshops in May and June for interested applicants. Visit the SALC Program website for the most current workshop and registration information.
Emily Breslin, Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs
About the California Strategic Growth Council
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a 10-member council comprised of seven state agencies and three public members with the mission to build healthy, thriving, and resilient communities for all. Funded through California’s Cap and Trade system and the California General Fund, SGC’s grant programs, strategic initiatives, and interagency coordination focus on multi-benefit and community-centric solutions at the nexus of climate and equity. Since 2008, SGC has invested over $3.5 billion in projects strengthening communities and addressing climate change.
About the California Department of Conservation
The California Department of Conservation (DOC) administers the SALC Program on behalf of SGC. The SALC Program is part of California Climate Investments, 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 Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35% of these investments benefit residents in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website.