California Natural Resources Agency
06/20/18 5:00 PM
Grants to California nonprofit organizations and government agencies for environmental mitigation and enhancement projects related to the state’s transportation infrastructure. Project categories include urban forestry projects, land acquisition and enhancement, and other environmental mitigation projects.
Purpose and Authority:
These procedures and criteria guide the evaluation and selection of projects under the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation (EEM) Program.
This program, as provided by California Streets and Highways Code Section 164.56 (Article XIX, Section 1, of the State Constitution), authorizes the legislature to allocate up to $7 million each fiscal year from the Highway Users Tax Account (Motor Vehicle Revenues, Section 2100).
EEM projects must contribute to mitigation of the environmental effects of transportation facilities. The California Natural Resources Agency (Agency) prescribes procedures and criteria to evaluate grant applications and submits a list of projects recommended for funding to the California Transportation Commission (CTC). The CTC awards grants to projects from the Agency’s list.
Conflict of Interest:
All Applicants and individuals who participate in the review of submitted applications are subject to state and federal conflict of interest laws. Any individual who has participated in planning or setting priorities for a specific solicitation over and above the public comment process or who will participate in any part of the grant development and negotiation process on behalf of the public is ineligible to receive funds or personally benefit from funds through that solicitation. Failure to comply with conflict of interest laws, including business and financial disclosure provisions, will result in the application being withdrawn from consideration, and any subsequent grant agreement being declared void. Other legal actions may also be taken. Applicable statutes include, but are not limited to, California Government Code Section 1090 and Public Contract Code Sections 10365.5, 10410, and 10411. Applicants should also be aware that certain state agencies may submit applications that will compete for funding.
The Agency recognizes the need for tribal consultation regarding projects that affect California tribal communities. As such, Applicants should make every effort to involve Native American Tribes or stakeholder groups as appropriate.
In accordance with the provisions of Section 187 and 188 of the Streets and Highways Code, an attempt will be made to allocate 40 percent of the total amount recommended to projects in northern counties and 60 percent of the total amount recommended to projects in southern counties. The southern counties are: San Luis Obispo, Kern, Mono, Tulare, Inyo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial. For purposes of this north/south split, all other counties are considered northern counties.
Environmental Review for the EEM Project:
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance for the proposed EEM project must be complete and a copy of filed compliance documents attached to the grant application.
Agency may recommend larger awards for acquisition projects.
1. Property must be acquired from a willing seller and in compliance with current laws governing relocation and acquisition of real property by public agencies1 in an amount at or below fair market value, as approved by the State.
2. All project parcels must be contiguous.
3. If a signed purchase option agreement is unavailable at the time of application submission, a Willing Seller Letter is required from each landowner indicating they are a willing participant in the proposed real estate transaction. The letter should clearly identify the parcels to be purchased and state that “if grant funds are awarded, the seller is willing to enter into negotiations for sale of the property at a purchase price at or below fair market value”.
4. Once funds are awarded and an agreement is signed withAgency, another property cannot be substituted for the property specified in the application. Therefore, it is imperative the Applicant demonstrate the seller is negotiating in good faith and that discussions between the parties have proceeded to a point of confidence.
5. The California Department of General Services (DGS) must review and approve all appraisals of real property. It is recommended that the Applicant budget $10,000 for the appraisal and/or transaction review, which is an eligible project cost.
Memorandum of Unrecorded Grant Agreement (MOUGA)/Deed Restrictions:
For projects funded under the EEM Program, the Grantee will accept, sign, and record against the subject property a Memorandum of Unrecorded Grant Agreement (MOUGA)/Deed Restriction, to define the State’s interest in the property. Exceptions for development projects may be granted as appropriate and at the sole discretion of the State.
For conservation easement acquisition projects involving more than one State funding partner, Agency reserves the right to be designated as a third-party beneficiary in the easement.
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.
A. A Cost Estimate is part of the Application Package.
B. The Cost Estimate should show all EEM project expenses line-item by line-item. EEM project line-items may not be split with other funding sources.
C. Include all other funding sources in separate columns and identify each source, including
in-kind, volunteer services or donated items.
Project Requirements EEM:
Eligible EEM projects must fit one of the following categories:
A. Urban Forestry projects designed to offset vehicular emissions of carbon dioxide.
B. Resource Lands projects for the acquisition or enhancement of resource lands to mitigate the loss of, or the detriment to, resource lands lying within or near the right-of-way acquired for transportation improvements.
C. Mitigation Projects Beyond the Scope of the Lead Agency responsible for assessing the environmental impact of the proposed transportation improvement.
Related Transportation Facility:
Every EEM project must mitigate, either directly or indirectly, the environmental impacts of the modification of an existing Transportation Facility or the environmental impacts of the construction of a new Transportation Facility (hereafter referred to as Related Transportation Facility or RTF). The EEM project can be the required mitigation for the RTF or enhancement to mitigation required for the RTF.
A. For purposes of this program, a RTF is defined as a public street, highway, mass transit guideway (trains, ports, light rail lines, city streets, airports, etc.) or their appurtenant features (e.g. park and ride facilities, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, transit stations, etc.).
B. The RTF cannot be the same as the EEM project.
Minimum EEM Project Requirements:
EEM projects that fail to meet all of the following minimum requirements will not be considered
A. The Applicant must establish and demonstrate a direct or indirect relationship between the EEM project and the modification or construction of a RTF.
B. The RTF must have an adverse impact on the environment.
C. The EEM project must be different from the RTF.
D. The EEM project must mitigate the environmental damage caused by the RTF.
E. The EEM project, if in or near the right-of-way, must be compatible with and not interfere with the operation or safety of the RTF.
F. The EEM project must not limit currently planned or anticipated future improvements to the RTF.
G. The EEM project must comply with the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) or local agency landscape water ordinance (if as strict or stricter than MWELO) and use low water, drought tolerant plantings. This program does not fund high water plantings.
H. If the EEM project is on State-owned right of way, applicable State design and construction standards and practices must apply.
I. If the EEM project is off State-owned right of way, applicable design and construction standards and practices of the local government having jurisdiction over the project location shall apply.
J. All necessary encroachment permits to access right of way must be obtained before construction may begin on a project.
For encroachment permits, evidence that the entity with jurisdiction (including Caltrans) is aware of the project and willing to work with the Applicant to issue the permit must be attached to the application.
K. CEQA must be complete for the proposed EEM project and a copy of the filed, and county clerk stamped compliance documents attached to the grant application.
GrantWatch ID#: 131066
Agency may recommend awards up to $1,000,000 for acquisition projects, based on consideration of numerous factors, including, but not limited to, maximum benefits in a one-time or limited opportunity, acquisition of resource lands of considerable size, substantial leveraging, and/or projects with statewide significance.
Generally, projects have four years in which to expend their funds. All eligible reimbursable costs must occur after the Agreement is in place.
Any state, local, federal or 501(c)(3) non-profit entity may apply for and receive grants. The entity is not required to be a transportation or highway related organization, but must be able to demonstrate adequate charter or enabling authority to carry out the type of project proposed and be eligible for funding under Article XIX of the State Constitution. Partnerships are encouraged; however, only one entity may submit an application.
For Development projects, only one application may be submitted per eligible Applicant. However, more than one application may be submitted for acquisition projects.
Matching funds are not required for EEM Program grants. However, applications which include other sources of funds for the proposed project will be more competitive.
If the Applicant has obtained, or is planning to obtain, other sources of funds for the project, identify each source of funding separately on the Cost Estimate, including other State of California funds and in-kind contributions.
Applicants may submit a one-page concept proposal. Though not required, this will help Applicants determine if their project may be competitive before completing a full application. This summary should be concise, providing reviewers a snapshot of the project. In depth explanations may be provided in the application. Feedback will be provided generally within 1-2 weeks.
In order to be reviewed, the one-page concept proposal must be submitted no later than May 21, 2018.
The SOAR system will not accept submissions for this program after 5:00 pm on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.
A printed original application package (with wet signature) and one copy must also be sent to the Bonds and Grants Unit with a postmark no later than Friday, June 22, 2018.
Key timeframes for the program are anticipated as follows:
-Site visits by review team to selected sites October-December 2018
-Funding Recommendations & Awards March/May 2019
i-Tree Streets Tool:
i-Tree Planting Tool:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Apply online through SOAR at:
Note: SOAR is not compatible with MACs or Mozilla.
Hard copy application packages must be sent to:
California Natural Resources Agency
Attn: EEM Coordinator
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
Direct questions to: