California State Grant to Fund Two-Year Climate Resilience Focused
Community Planning Process Centered on the Pajaro Valley
The County of Monterey’s Sustainability Program has been awarded a grant from the State of
California’s Strategic Growth Council to implement a two-year community engagement process via a $300,000 Transformative Climate Communities Planning Grant.
The County of Monterey was one of seven Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Planning Grants that were awarded across the state in the fourth round of the TCC program. The County applied for this grant last year. Funding will enable coordination with the multiple jurisdictions within the grant’s 5-square mile area of focus that includes Pajaro in unincorporated Monterey County, and part of the City of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County. The planning area was identified by local leaders as an immigrant frontline community of color that is low income, linguistically isolated, and likely to bear disproportionate impacts of climate change, but also includes opportunities for redevelopment and reinvestment along the Pajaro River levee and the Watsonville Junction.
Established by AB 2722 and now in its fifth cycle, the Transformative Climate Communities
Program (TCC) invests in community-led climate resilience projects in California's most
disadvantaged communities. The program’s objectives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health and the environment, and support economic opportunity and shared prosperity through a combination of community-driven climate projects.
“The TCC Planning Grant is a great opportunity for the Sustainability Program to engage with the Pajaro Valley community and develop relationships with community leaders that will lead to the integration of equity into our climate programming,” said Cora Panturad, Sustainable Infrastructure Analyst for the County of Monterey. “Equity centered climate work is about connecting with community members who feel left behind on issues that directly affect their quality of life such as access to opportunity, housing, and clean air. This TCC Planning grant will create opportunities for residents of the Pajaro Valley to co-design climate change solutions that sustainably improve their lives today and for future generations.”
Regeneración- Pajaro Valley Climate Action, a member of the Justice40 Accelerator Cohort, which prepares groups to apply for President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative federal government grants, will be the local convener for the community engagement activities while the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Sustainability Office will lead the facilitation of community dialogue. Those activities will include the establishment of a Community Climate Coalition made up of residents and leaders from local community based organizations that will be responsible for exploring climate solutions, engaging residents, and identifying 3-5 local climate greenhouse gas reducing projects that can be implemented in the Pajaro Valley. In the future, a Transformative Climate Communities Implementation Grant or other state and federal funding opportunities could potentially fund the development of those projects identified by the community.
"The TCC planning grant represents a vital opportunity for community members to select local climate solutions that benefit those who are on the frontlines of climate impacts,” said Nancy Faulstich, Executive Director of Regeneración. “We’re very optimistic about the prospect of bringing in tens of millions in state and federal funding to the Pajaro Valley to implement the ideas chosen by our community."
Grant partners include Ecology Action, the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Sustainability
Office and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.
The March 2023 Pajaro levee breach and subsequent flooding of the town of Pajaro has placed a national focus on the Pajaro Valley and the economic health of farmworkers and the agricultural economy on the Central Coast of California. A $400 million levee modernization project by the Army Corp of Engineers has been fast-tracked to begin in Summer 2024.
The Transformative Climate Communities Planning Grant will support community-led planning activities where residents will be able to define their needs, research solutions, and decide how to best meet the needs of their community.
A community screening of two short films about the TCC programs in Oakland and the Coachella Valley will take place on September 6, 2023 at 6pm at the Watsonville Public Library.
The Pajaro Valley TCC Planning Grant is supported by California Strategic Growth Council’s
Transformative Climate Communities Program strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.