Urban Greening Grant Program

California Natural Resource Agency

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: May 1, 2020 (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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About this funder:



The Urban Greening Program is responsible for reporting to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) GHG emission reductions resulting from funded projects in accordance with an ARB approved quantification methodology and Funding Guidelines for Agencies that administer California Climate Investments (December 21, 2015). All projects are required to show a net GHG benefit and provide multiple other benefits. In order to quantify GHG emission reductions, projects must include at least one of the following project activities:

  1. Sequester and store carbon by planting trees
  2. Reduce building energy use from strategically planting trees to shade buildings
  3. Reduce commute, non-recreational and recreational vehicle miles travelled by constructing bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, or pedestrian facilities.

Funding Allocation and Grant Amount

Funding cycles are contingent upon the number of competitive applications received and are therefore undetermined at this time. There are no minimum or maximum grant amounts for this program.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Applicants - Grant Funds will be awarded to a city, county, special district, nonprofit organization, or an agency or entity formed pursuant to the Joint Exercise of Powers Act (Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6500) of Division 7 of Title 1) if at least one of the parties to the joint powers agreement qualifies as an eligible applicant, notwithstanding the Joint Exercise of Powers Act.
  • Projects– In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, SB 859 requires all projects to achieve measurable benefits. Per statute, all projects must be achieved by at least one of the following:
    • Acquire, create, enhance, or expand community parks and green spaces,  AND/OR
    • Use natural systems or systems that mimic natural systems to achieve multiple benefits.
    • Eligible urban greening projects will reduce GHG emissions and provide multiple additional benefits, including, but not limited to, a decrease in air and water pollution or a reduction in the consumption of natural resources and energy. Eligible projects will result in the conversion of an 3 existing built environment into green space that uses natural and green infrastructure approaches to create sustainable and vibrant communities. A competitive project will maximize opportunities to reduce GHG emissions through project design and implementation, and will incorporate green infrastructure solutions that improve the sustainability and function of existing urban hardscapes and landscapes.
    • Examples of eligible urban greening projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • Enhancement and expansion of neighborhood parks and community space
      • Greening of public lands and structures, including schoolyards, and which may include incorporation of riparian habitat for water capture and provide for other public and wildlife benefits
      • Green streets and alleyways
      • Non-motorized urban trails that provide safe routes for travel between residences, workplaces, commercial centers, and schools
      • Urban heat island mitigation and energy conservation efforts
    • All eligible projects must result in GHG reductions by including at least one of the following activities:
      • Sequester and store carbon by planting trees
      • Reduce building energy use from strategically planting trees to shade buildings
      • Reduce commute, non-recreational and recreational vehicle miles travelled by constructing bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, or pedestrian facilities.
    • Other requirements - projects must:
    • Comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000).
    • Be acquired from a willing seller (acquisitions).
    • Comply with all labor codes.
    • Provide public access, where feasible.
    • Be located in an urban area. For the purposes of this program, an urban area is a geographic area designated or defined as urban by an applicable plan covering the project area, including, but not limited to general plans, specific plans, or community plans.
    • Projects must provide direct benefits to the urban area such as walkability and/or functionality (i.e., no impediments such as a freeway with no under/over passing, river with no pedestrian crossing, storm water capture that does not directly benefit the urban area, etc.)
    • Track and report performance metric data about GHG reductions and other co-benefits.
  • Eligible Costs - Direct project-related construction and non-construction costs incurred during the project performance period specified in the grant agreement will be eligible for reimbursement. All eligible costs must be supported by appropriate documentation. Costs incurred outside of the project performance period and indirect costs are not eligible (See Appendix I for further information on Eligible Costs).


  • Match funds are not required for this program. However, projects that leverage other sources of funds will be more competitive.
  • The following are priorities in awarding grants. In evaluating projects, the State may also consider factors including, but not limited to, geographic distribution of funds, disadvantaged community status per SB 535 and potential project benefits, and partial funding.
    • Statutory Priorities (SB 859) – Additional points will be given to projects that meet at least two of the following -
      1. Provides park or recreational benefits to a critically underserved community or disadvantaged community.
      2. Proposed by a critically underserved community or disadvantaged community.
      3. Develops partnerships with local community organizations and businesses in order to strengthen outreach to disadvantaged communities, provides access to quality jobs for residents of disadvantaged communities, or provides access to workforce education and training.
      4. Uses interagency cooperation and integration.
      5. Uses existing public lands and facilitates the use of public resources and investments, including schools.
    • Disadvantaged Communities – Per SB 859, disadvantaged community means a community Identified pursuant to Section 39711 of the Health and Safety Code (SB 535 disadvantaged community) or pursuant to Section 75005 of the Public Resources Code (a community with a median household income less than 80% of the statewide average.) SB 859 directs Agency to allocate at least 75 percent of the funding available to projects located in, and that provide benefits to, disadvantaged communities. SB 535 (Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012) directs State and local agencies to make significant investments that improve California’s most vulnerable communities. The statute requires that the GGRF investment plan allocates a minimum of 25 percent of available monies to projects that provide benefits to disadvantaged communities; a minimum of 10 percent to projects located within disadvantaged communities. SB 535 directs the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to identify disadvantaged communities based on geographic, socioeconomic, public health, and environmental hazard criteria. To inform its decision, CalEPA used the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen 2.0), to identify census tracts disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution. For the purposes of the GGRF, CalEPA defines disadvantaged communities as the top 25% highest scoring census tracts from CalEnviroScreen 2.0. 5 See Appendix D for instructions on how to access maps which identify disadvantaged communities per SB 535 or Section 75005 of the Public Resources Code. To facilitate the statutory mandate for 25 percent of all GGRF expenditures to benefit disadvantaged communities pursuant to SB 535, this program will intend to award 75 percent of all grant funding for that purpose.
    • Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 – This program will maximize the expenditure of funds made available from this Act (Chapter 3.3 commencing with Section 5640) of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code. Priority will be given to projects that received Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act funding and either did not complete the project and/or wish to enhance their completed project.


  • The items below provide examples of projects and elements that will not be funded under this program (this is not a comprehensive list):
    • Projects that do not quantify a reduction in GHG emissions.
    • Projects that do not provide multiple benefits.
    • Projects that are not consistent with the State’s planning priorities.
    • Projects that do not include the planting of trees and/or a trail that provides active transportation opportunities.
    • Projects that plant trees that will eventually conflict with overhead or underground utilities or ground-located infrastructure.
    • Projects that primarily plant non-native/high or moderate water plants.
    • Projects to acquire property that cannot be purchased at fair market value.
    • Projects that fulfill a mitigation action required under existing law.
    • Acquisitions that are not from a willing seller.
    • Acquisition-only projects that do not include development into an urban greening project.
    • Projects that include non-permeable surfaces, including concrete or asphalt, except when they are utilized as part of the project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to vehicular miles travelled or other sources.
    • Projects not compatible with the specific environment or location in which they are situated.
    • Projects that will not be completed in the allotted timelines.
    • Projects contingent on future acquisition for implementation.
    • Projects that are intended to correct problems caused by inadequate maintenance.
    • Applications that include more than one project. However, more than one application can be submitted by an applicant.
    • Stand-alone planning projects.
    • Projects where applicant cannot demonstrate satisfactory permission to develop and maintain site.
    • Infrastructure projects that do not include greening components.
    • Educational or training programs.
    • Acquisitions involving eminent domain.
    • Projects with multiple sites not included under one environmental review.
    • Projects that include planting trees larger than 15 gallon.