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The Guidelines include information to assist applicants in applying for funding. Pleaseread them in their entirety for important information on project eligibility, evaluationcriteria and submission requirements.For general project evaluation process questions, contact the California Natural ResourcesAgency at:Phone: (916) 653-2812Email: [email protected]: TO SUBMITThis grant program includes a progressive, three-step evaluation process:1. Project Proposal2. Field Visit3. Supporting DocumentationAll documents are submitted through the California Natural Resources Agency’sSystem for Online Application Review (SOAR) found at: access SOAR, applicants will need to sign up for a SOAR user account. A detailedguide on how to use SOAR and submit applications is located on our website at: SYSTEM QUESTIONSFor technical assistance with the SOAR website, please contact the SOAR help desk:Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday thru Friday.Phone: (916) 653-6138Email: [email protected] contacting the SOAR help desk, please provide the following: Proposal Identification Number (PIN) assigned to the Project ProposalName of the Grant Program (Urban Greening)Short description of the problem, including where in the Project Proposal theproblem is occurringA screen shot of the error received, if applicableTECHNICAL ASSISTANCE WORKSHOPSThe California Natural Resources Agency will conduct technical assistance workshops. Alist of workshop dates and times can be found on the California Natural ResourcesAgency website at

TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction . 1Background . 1Funding Availability . 1Statutory Requirements. 2Funding Priorities . 2Other Funding Considerations . 4Selection Process . 5Evaluation/Scoring Criteria . 6Step 1: Project Proposal . 8Step 2: Field Visits (Qualifying Projects Only) . 15Step 3: Supporting Documentation (Qualifying Projects Only) . 16Project Administration (Post Grant Award) . 18State Audit and Accounting Requirements. 20Appendices for Step 1: Project Proposal . 22Appendix A: Submittal Checklists for Project Proposal . 23Appendix B: Sample Cost Estimate . 24Appendix C: Eligible Expenses. 26Appendix D: Willing Seller Letter . 29Appendix E: Disadvantaged Community Criteria and Tools . 30Appendix F: Extreme Heat Threat Assessment Tool . 31Appendices for Step 3: Supporting Documentation (Qualifying Projects Only) . 32Appendix G: Resolution Template . 33Appendix H: Environmental Compliance . 34Appendix I: Property Data Sheet . 35Appendix J: Site Control/Land Tenure Requirements . 36Appendix K: Property Permit/Approval Status . 38Appendix L: Sign Guidelines . 39Appendix M: Sample Memorandum of Grant Agreement. 41Appendix N: Payee Data Record . 43Appendix O: Deed Restriction Template (Acquisitions Only). 44Appendix P: Available Resources . 45Appendix Q: Senate Bill 859. 47Appendix R: Definitions . 49iii

INTRODUCTIONSigned into law in 2006, Assembly Bill (AB) 32, also known as the California Global WarmingSolutions Act of 2006 required a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990levels by 2020. AB 32 was the first program to take a comprehensive, long-term approach toaddressing climate change to improve the environment and natural resources whilemaintaining a robust economy. Senate Bill (SB) 32 confirms the State’s continued commitmentto reducing GHG emissions by directing emissions reductions to meet a target of 40% below1990 levels by 2030.Signed into law on September 14, 2016, SB 859 (Chapter 368, Statutes of 2016) created theCalifornia Natural Resources Agency’s (Agency) Urban Greening Program, funded by theGreenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). In 2021, SB 170 (Chapter 240, Section 10,subschedule (g) of Schedule (l)) allocated 50 million from the General Fund to the Agencyfor its Urban Greening Program for projects that reduce GHG emissions and provide multiplebenefits.BACKGROUNDOver the years, Agency has administered a suite of programs including the California RiverParkways Program, Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, and the UrbanGreening Program funded by Proposition 84 and GGRF. These programs funded projects thatprovided a wide variety of benefits such as environmental, health, and communityrevitalization throughout the State. The Urban Greening Program, funded by the General Fund,continues the legacy of these programs. Consistent with AB 32, the Urban Greening Programwill fund projects that reduce greenhouse gases while also transforming the built environmentinto places that are more sustainable, enjoyable, and effective in creating healthy and vibrantcommunities. These projects will establish and enhance parks and open space, using naturalsolutions to improving air and water quality and reducing energy consumption, and creatingmore walkable and bike-able trails.These Guidelines establish the administrative and evaluation criteria for this competitiveprogram. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis using evaluation criteria describedon pages 6-7. This program emphasizes, and gives priority to, projects that are located withinand benefit the State’s disadvantaged communities and those communities facing the mostsignificant threat from extreme heat.FUNDING AVAILABILITYApproximately 47.5 million is available for urban greening projects. The State anticipates onefunding cycle; however, funding cycles are contingent upon the number of competitiveapplications.There are no maximum or minimum grant amounts.1

STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS (SB 859)Eligible ApplicantsGrant Funds will be awarded to a city, county, special district, nonprofit organization, or anagency or entity formed pursuant to the Joint Exercise of Powers Act [Chapter 5 (commencingwith Section 6500) of Division 7 of Title 1] if at least one of the parties to the joint powersagreement qualifies as an eligible applicant, notwithstanding the Joint Exercise of Powers Act.Nonprofit organization means any nonprofit corporation qualified to do business in Californiaand qualified under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. California NativeAmerican tribal governments are eligible to apply if they have a nonprofit corporation asdefined.Eligible Urban Greening ProjectsEligible urban greening projects will reduce GHG emissions, mitigate the effects of extremeheat, and provide multiple additional benefits, including, but not limited to, a decrease in airand water pollution or a reduction in the consumption of natural resources and energy. Eligibleprojects will result in the conversion of an existing built environment into green space that usesnatural and green infrastructure approaches to create sustainable and vibrant communities.A competitive project will maximize opportunities to reduce GHG emissions through projectdesign and implementation as well as incorporate green infrastructure solutions that improvethe sustainability and function of existing urban hardscapes and landscapes.In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, SB 859 requires all projects to achievemeasurable benefits. Per statute, all projects must do at least one of the following – Acquire, create, enhance, or expand community parks and green spaces, and/orUse natural systems or systems that mimic natural systems to achieve multiple benefits.See Appendix Q for the complete SB 859 text.FUNDING PRIORITIESProjects containing the following elements will be given priority consideration in fundingdecisions:Statutory Priorities (SB 859)Additional points will be given to projects that meet two of the following:1. Provides park or recreational benefits to a critically underserved community ordisadvantaged community2. Proposed by a critically underserved community or disadvantaged community3. Develops partnerships with local community organizations and businesses in order tostrengthen outreach to disadvantaged communities, provides access to quality jobs forresidents of disadvantaged communities, or provides access to workforce education andtraining2

4. Uses interagency cooperation and integration5. Uses existing public lands and facilitates the use of public resources and investments,including schoolsDisadvantaged CommunitiesPer SB 859, disadvantaged community means a community identified pursuant to Section39711 of the Health and Safety Code (CalEnviroScreen 4.0) or pursuant to Section 75005 of thePublic Resources Code (a community with a median household income less than 80% of thestatewide average). SB 859 directs Agency to allocate at least 75 percent of the fundingavailable to projects located in, and that provides benefits to, disadvantaged communities.Hereinafter, the term “disadvantaged” refers to either the top 25% highest scoring census tractsin CalEnviroScreen 4.0, or census tracts with median household incomes at or below 80percent of the statewide average (refer to California State Parks’ Community FactFinder, orDepartment of Water Resources’ Disadvantaged Communities Mapping Tool).To facilitate statutory mandates, this program intends to award a minimum of 75% of funds toprojects located within and benefitting disadvantaged communities. Refer to Appendix E forinstructions on how to access mapping tools that identify disadvantaged communities andthe criteria for determining if the project is both located within and providing benefits to thesepopulations. See Appendix R for a definition of Disadvantaged Communities.Examples of Eligible ProjectsThe list below provides examples of project elements that meet statutory conditions. It is nota comprehensive list. Establishment, enhancement, and expansion of neighborhood parks and communityspacesTree-canopy/shade treesGreening of public lands and structures, including schoolyards, and which may includeincorporation of riparian habitat for water capture and provide for other public and wildlifebenefitsMulti-objective stormwater projects, including construction of permeable surfaces,collection basins and barriersBioswales and rain gardens to mitigate stormwater runoffGreen streets and alleywaysRiver, creek, and stream restorationRecreational trailsCommunity or outdoor education gardens and orchardsNon-motorized urban trails that provide safe routes for travel between residences,workplaces, commercial centers, and schoolsUrban heat island mitigation and energy conservation efforts through landscaping andgreen roof projectsAcquisitions to preserve in perpetuity land for agricultural uses, open space, wetlands, etc.Creation or restoration of existing wetlands, recharge ponds, floodplain, or ripariancorridors3

Examples of Ineligible Projects or ElementsThe items below provide examples of projects and elements that are not eligible under thisprogram. It is not a comprehensive list. Projects that plant invasive plants or trees, or plant for aesthetic purposes only.Projects to acquire property that cannot be purchased at or below fair market value.Projects that include both acquisition and development (must be one or the other, notboth).Infrastructure projects that do not include greening components.Projects that create or improve roads for motorized use.Projects to construct new parking lots or bridges (may be funded only as necessary butminor component).Development contingent on future acquisition for project implementation. At the time ofapplication, applicants must either own the property or be entering into negotiations forlong-term site control.Acquisition of property from a person or entity that does not own the property at the timeof Project Proposal submission.Projects that are intended to correct problems caused by inadequate maintenance.Multiple projects that are included in one application. However, more than oneapplication can be submitted by an applicant.Projects where applicant cannot demonstrate satisfactory permission to develop andmaintain site at the time of application.Educational or training programs.Planning only, or operation and maintenance projects.Active recreation projects. However, active recreation components can be part of theoverall project as long as they are funded by other sources.Projects that acquire property through eminent domain.Projects that include planting trees larger than 15-gallon, even if proposed with otherfunding sources.Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008This program will maximize the expenditure of funds made available from this Act (Chapter 3.3commencing with Section 5640) of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code.OTHER FUNDING CONSIDERATIONSIn evaluating projects, scores are used to determine initial rankings and facilitate discussionsfor each proposal. To achieve equitable distribution of funds, the State may consideradditional factors including, but not limited to, economic benefits, statewide significance,geographic distribution of funds, previous grant performance, disadvantaged communitystatus, and other potential project benefits, as well as partial funding.4

In addition, projects must:1. Comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Division 13 (commencing2. 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, if a project does not qualifyas a disadvantaged community, an urban area is defined as a geographic areadesignated or defined as urban by an applicable plan covering the project area,including, but not limited to general plans, specific plans, or community plans.Provide direct benefits to the urban area such as walkability and/or functionality (i.e., noimpediments such as a freeway with no under/over passing, river with no pedestriancrossing, storm water capture that does not directly benefit the urban area, etc.)Engage with the local community to develop the project.Comply with the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) or local agencylandscape water ordinance (if as strict or stricter) and use low water, drought tolerantplantingsProvide multiple benefits (economic, environmental, social, etc.) to the community.Website addresses and links to legislation and other available resource and referencematerials may be found in Appendix P.SELECTION PROCESSStep 1 Applicants submit Project Proposals though the System for Online Application Review(SOAR). No hardcopy Project Proposals are required. Project Proposals are reviewed and evaluated. Incomplete or ineligible Project Proposalsmay be removed from the competitive process.Step 2 Field Visits are conducted for the most competitive projects. Applicants may be requiredto provide additional documentation prior to afield visit.Step 3 Applicants selected to further compete submit additional documentation. Documentation is evaluated, with the most competitive projects being recommended forfunding.Once Step 3 evaluations have been completed, recommendations are submitted to theCalifornia Secretary for Natural Resources. Upon approval by the Secretary, grant awards areannounced.5

All information contained in the Project Proposal and supporting documentation isconfidential until grant awards are announced.The State reserves the right to reject any Project Proposal from an applicant who is in violationof law or policy at any other public agency. Potential violations include, but are not limitedto, being in default of performance requirements in other contracts or grant agreementsissued by the State, being engaged in, or suspected of criminal conduct that poorly reflectsor beings discredit to the State or failing to have all required licenses necessary to carry outthe project.The State further reserves the right to reject any Project Proposal from an applicant who hasa history of performance issues with past grants or other agreements with any public entity.Tribal Outreach and CollaborationFor projects that affect tribal communities, Grantees will be required to show meaningfuloutreach and attempt to collaborate with local California Native American tribes throughthe implementation of their project.Meaningful outreach includes, but is not limited to, writing letters and emails and followingwith phone calls updating the tribe throughout the life of the project, inviting tribal leadershipto attend planning meetings, and meeting with local tribal government lead consortiums orother inter-tribal governmental organizations. Collaborating with local California NativeAmerican tribes can include developing the project with tribal leadership, ensuring theproject provides benefits to the local tribe and its membership, and providing contractingopportunities to local tribes and their members where appropriate.Conflict of InterestAll applicants and individuals who participate in the review of submitted applications aresubject to state and federal conflict of interest laws. Any individual who has participated inplanning or setting priorities for a specific solicitation over and above the public commentprocess or who will participate in any part of the grant development and negotiation processon behalf of the public is ineligible to receive funds or personally benefit from funds throughthat solicitation. Failure to comply with conflict of interest laws, including business and financialdisclosure provisions, will result in the application being rejected and any subsequent grantagreement being declared void. Other legal actions may also be taken. Applicable statutesinclude, but are not limited to, California Government Code section 1090 and Public ContractCode sections 10365.5, 10410, and 10411.EVALUATION/SCORING CRITERIAAll information provided during the evaluation process should demonstrate how effectivelythe proposed project meets statutory requirements, funding priorities, and program objectives.Projects will be evaluated using the established criteria and any additional fundingconsiderations. Projects will receive an initial ranking, with a score of 135 points possible. Theinitial ranking will be used to facilitate discussions about each proposal among a6

multidisciplinary team. Points will be attributed to each section and not to individual questions.Sections left blank will receive zero for that section.7

1. Statutory and Program Requirements (Per SB 859)0 – 402.0 – 25Project reduces Greenhouse Gas EmissionsProject acquires, creates, enhances, or expands community parks andgreen spaces, AND/OR uses natural systems or systems that mimicnatural systems to achieve multiple benefits Project achieves multiple benefitsStatutory and Program Priorities (Per SB 859) Provide park or recreational benefits to a critically underserved communityor disadvantaged community Proposed by disadvantaged or critically underserved community (Projectmust be located within the disadvantaged community) Develop partnerships with local community organizations and businessesin order to strengthen outreach to disadvantaged communities, providesaccess to quality jobs for residents of disadvantaged communities, orprovides access to workforce education and training Uses interagency cooperation and integration Uses existing public lands and facilitates the use of public resources andinvestments, including schoolsDisadvantaged Communities Project is located within and benefits a disadvantaged communityExtreme Heat ThreatProject is located within a census tract that is identified as being vulnerable toan increased number of heat health eventsStatewide Park Development and Community Revitalization ActAdditional Project CharacteristicsProject ReadinessOrganizational Capacity - 1050–50 – 100 – 10

STEP 1: PROJECT PROPOSALApplicants are required to submit an online Project Proposal in SOAR (System for OnlineApplication Review; Refer to the solicitation notice for duedates. No hard copies are required. Applicants proposing the most competitive eligibleprojects will be invited to compete in the next phase of the evaluation process, a fieldinspection. The most competitive projects that receive a field inspection will be invited tosubmit additional supporting documentation. Incomplete or noncompliant proposals may beeliminated from the competitive process.All Project Proposal submittals will include the following:Project SummaryDescribe the discrete project, including expected project deliverables. Include a briefdescription of current site conditions and extent of public access for the proposed project, ifapplicable. Summaries are limited to 3,000 characters.Project QuestionsApplicants must answer the following questions, as applicable. If a question does not apply tothe project, indicate “Not Applicable” with a brief explanation. Do not leave blank fields.Answers are limited to 3,000 characters.Statutory and Program Requirements – All applicants must meet certain requirements asspecified in statute. Each applicant must answer the questions below, as applicable.1. Explain how the project meets the statutory criteria of 1) acquiring, creating, enhancing, orexpanding community parks and green spaces, and/or 2) using natural systems, or systemsthat mimic natural systems.2. Explain how the proposed project will result in a net GHG benefit.3. Explain how the project provides multiple benefits. These could include, but are not limitedto, reduced air pollution, water pollution, consumption of natural resources, or consumptionof energy.4. Select only two of the project examples (a-j) from the list below and answer thecorresponding questions. Provide a qualitative description of the project as well as anyquantitative information on this topic.a. Greening of existing public land and structures, including schools1. Describe the current environmental condition and use of the project site.2. How will the proposed project contribute to the economic, social, and/orrecreational life of the community?9

b. Green streets and alleys that integrate green infrastructure elements into the street oralley design, including permeable surfaces, bioswales, and trees1. How will the project convert the property into a green street or alley?2. How will the project reduce vehicle miles traveled?c. Non-motorized urban trails that provide safe routes for both recreation and travelbetween residences, workplaces, commercial centers, and schools1. Describe how the trail increases connectivity of the active transportation networksuch as filling gaps or otherwise completing routes in a bike or trail plan or a lowstreet bikeway network.2. Identify the intended users of the trail.3. Describe how the trail connects to or between parks, open space, or greeninfrastructure.d. Tree Canopy1. What species of trees and plants will be used? If proposing non-native species,explain the rationale for the selection.2. What are the environmental benefits of the species selected?3. What consideration, if any, was given to pollen production in the project plantpalette?4. How was the initial size selected for the planting area considered to ensure the bestchance for survival and growth? Trees must not be larger than 15-gallon.e. Neighborhood, city, regional, or county parks and open space1. How many acres of green space/park will be created or enhanced?2. Describe any limits such as parking, hours of operation, available staffing, user fees,seasonal restrictions, or other ecological considerations.f.Wetlands1. Describe how the project will protect, restore, enhance, or preserve wetlands usingeither common or scientific names to identify elements.2. If the project includes restoration or re-establishment of wetlands, explain plans toemploy habitat management strategies designed to reduce mosquito production(e.g., Central Valley Joint Ventures Technical Guide to Best Practices /pdf/CVJV-Mosquito-BMP.pdf).10

g. Urban heat island mitigation and energy conservancy efforts through greening,including green roofs1. Describe what energy saving measures will be incorporated into the project. Energysaving measures may include, but are not limited to, constructing green roofs,planting trees to shade buildings, walkways and spaces, and converting asphalt tonative plants and/or turf, or other permeable surfaces.2. Explain how the project will reduce GHG emissions by reducing energy demand andpromoting resource efficiencies.h. Multi-objective stormwater projects, including the construction of permeable surfacesand collection basins and barriers1. Describe generally the type of stormwater facilities in the proposal (e.g., raingardens, planters, bioswales, green roof, etc.)2. How will the project be designed to reduce mosquito and methane production?(See:Central Valley Joint Ventures Technical Guide to Best Practices /pdf/CVJV-Mosquito-BMP.pdf).3. What is the estimated volume of stormwater captured and treated? Explain yourmethodology.i.Climate resilience and adaptation of urban areas that reduce vulnerability to climateimpacts and improve the ability of natural systems to buffer the impacts of climatechange1. How will the project specifically increase resilience to climate change?2. What approach was used to determine said benefits?3. Identify the climate action plan applicable to the project.j.Economic, social, and health benefits including, but not limited to, recreationalopportunities, workforce education and training, contracting, and job opportunities fordisadvantaged communities1. How will the project maximize access to workforce education, training, and qualityjobs to residents of disadvantaged communities and individuals with barriers toemployment?2. How will the project ensure supplier diversity and procure goods from localbusinesses, businesses located in disadvantaged communities, or minority or womenowned businesses?3. How will the project use state or local youth employment programs (e.g., CaliforniaConservation Corps, local conservation corps or similar youth employment11

programs) and how will youth employment elements be integrated into theprogram?4. Using the list below, indicate which of the following apply to the project and explainhow the selected benefits will be achieved. Improved mental health (e.g., social networking, overall well-being)Increased physical activity (e.g., effects on obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.)Reduced risk of skin cancersIncreased access to locally grown/sustainable food sourcesIncreased access to natural environments, parks, open space, etc.Other co-benefits to public health (examples include reducing urban heat islandeffects, increasing safe active transportation - e.g., pedestrian walking andbicycling, and serving an area of high-density population)Statutory and Program Priorities – Each applicant must answer the questions below, asapplicable.5. Describe how the project will accomplish two of the following:a. Provides park or recreational benefits to a critically underserved community ordisadvantaged communityb. Proposed by critically underserv

Statutory and Program Requirements (Per SB 859) 0 – 40 Project reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions Project acquires, creates, enhances, or expands community parks and green spaces, AND/OR uses natural systems or systems that mimic . California, by and through