SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The PG&E Corporation Foundation (Foundation) today announced the four 2020 recipients of the Better Together Resilient Communities grants, a program funded by the Foundation to support local initiatives to build greater climate resilience in Northern and Central California.
The program awarded $100,000 each to Sustainable Solano, Greenbelt Alliance, the Wiyot Tribe, and The Nature Conservancy. All of the projects are designed to reduce flood risk and support healthy, resilient coastlines and wetlands.
“These grants are founded on the premise that relying on the experience, expertise, and established partnerships of local organizations and tribes is the most effective path for helping highly vulnerable communities to prepare for the reality of climate change,” said Stephanie Isaacson, Executive Director of The PG&E Corporation Foundation. “The urgency of the problem requires ideas that are both innovative and practical, so that they can be shared as widely as possible.”
The Better Together Resilient Communities grant program, established in 2017, will invest $2 million over five years in funding from The PG&E Corporation Foundation. Strategies and solutions resulting from the grants are made publicly available to assist all communities in resilience planning and work, and to encourage local and regional partnerships.
Project Proposals and Goals
The Sustainable Solano project, “Suisun City Community Resilience,” will address flood risks via green infrastructure installations, providing inputs into the development of a broader flood action plan. Goals include:
- Conduct wide community outreach to inform the creation of the Suisun City Flood Resiliency Action Plan
- Develop a Resilient Neighborhood in a vulnerable community at extreme risk for flooding
- Launch a youth environmental leadership internship program
“Thanks to this funding we can focus on a community that may have otherwise been overlooked and expand our outreach to local governments, multi-level stakeholders and youth to help them understand flood risks in Suisun City, and learn how they can be actively engaged in making their communities a more thriving and resilient place,” said Elena Karoulina, Executive Director of Sustainable Solano.
The Greenbelt Alliance project, “Resilience Rising: Contra Costa County,” will focus on building capacity and increasing coordination across Contra Costa County. Goals include:
- Conduct a case study on how to foster public-private partnerships that prioritize adaptation planning
- Develop a Resilience Playbook as a tool that can be shared with other communities across the state
“There are seven General Plan updates happening in Contra Costa County, but sea-level rise does not stop at jurisdictional boundaries, making jurisdictional communication even more critical. We need to act now and work together to make our shorelines more resilient. We look forward to working closely with our partners to build capacity and increase resilience in Contra Costa County and beyond,” said Zoe Siegel, Director of Climate Resilience at the Greenbelt Alliance.
The Wiyot Tribe project will serve as a “Phase 1” approach to the Tribe’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, with an initial focus on understanding flood risks. Goals include:
- Identify cultural and natural resources within the Tribe’s ancestral lands and waters vulnerable to climate change and at risk from flooding
- Build on a Bureau of Indian Affairs grant to build capacity and utilize tribal knowledge to guide development of its Climate Change Adaptation Plan that is reflective of the Tribe’s needs and priorities
“This support will allow the Wiyot Tribe to identify important, infrastructural, cultural, and natural resource assets that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and climate change. The funding will allow the Tribe to begin this important planning project through documenting Tribal traditional ecological knowledge and building partnerships with land managing bodies across its ancestral territory around Humboldt Bay to benefit the resiliency of the greater community,” said Ted Hernandez, Wiyot Tribal Chairman.
The Nature Conservancy project, “Risk Financing for Coastal Resilience,” will focus on reducing flooding in San Mateo County. Goals include:
- Assessing the feasibility of an insurance product that leverages wetland flood risk reduction benefits
- Launching a pilot project
- Demonstrating an innovative way to fund wetland restoration and enhancement for flood protection
“The 2020 Better Together Resilient Communities grant will enable The Nature Conservancy and our partners to pursue pioneering work that will improve the flood resilience of both communities and nature in San Mateo County. Financial mechanisms, like insurance, offer great promise for protecting the San Francisco Bay’s people, property, and last remaining tidal wetlands—and we now have the resources to explore how to make this a reality,” said Sarah Heard, Director of Conservation Economics and Finance at The Nature Conservancy.
About the Program
Grant proposals for the Better Together Resilient Communities program were evaluated for the extent to which they demonstrated climate risk, enhanced community capacity, partnerships, replicability, assistance to environmental and social justice communities, and measurable impact. To be eligible, applicants must be a governmental organization, educational institution or 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All applicants must include a local or tribal government within PG&E's service area as a partner.
Information on the application process for the 2021 Better Together Resilient Communities grant program will be available in the spring of 2021. Please check the Better Together Resilient Communities website for more information on this grant opportunity.