California Launches Grant Program to Support California Native American Tribes on Ancestral Land Return, Nature-Based Solutions that Help Combat Climate Change

Published Date:

First-of-Its-Kind Program Will Deliver Over $100 Million for Tribal Priorities

Grants Build on State’s Commitment to Strengthen Partnerships with California Native American Tribes

SACRAMENTO — Building on the Newsom Administration’s commitment to strengthen partnerships with California Native American tribes, the California Natural Resources Agency today launched a $101 million grant program to support tribal initiatives that benefit their communities while helping to achieve the state’s world-leading climate and conservation goals.

Developed with tribal input and backed with funding approved by Governor Newsom and the Legislature, the new Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Grant Program will support tribes to reacquire ancestral land, address impacts of climate change on their communities, and conserve and protect biodiversity. Funding can be used by tribes to purchase land, train workforce, expand and communicate traditional knowledge, build tribal capacity, and build projects and programs to protect culturally important natural resources and protect climate change.

“We are really excited to establish this first-of-its-kind state program to support tribally led solutions to our biggest environmental challenges,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “This program was shaped with tribes through conversations and consultations that our agency held with tribal leadership to develop California’s Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy and Pathways to 30x30 Strategy. It is a concrete example of our progress supporting tribal leadership to steward our natural resources.”

Governor Newsom announced a $100 million budget proposal for a tribal nature-based solutions program during the March 2022 California Truth & Healing Council meeting. Funding to establish the program was approved in the 2022-’23 and 2023-’24 state budgets. In addition, earlier this year the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) directed $1 million to establish a Tribal Small Grants Program to provide dedicated funding to California Native American tribes and tribally led entities to advance tribes’ priorities for conservation, management, and stewardship. The OPC Tribal Small Grants program will be part of the Tribal Nature-Based Solutions program to assist California Native American tribes in advancing multi-benefit nature-based solutions in the coast and ocean.

“California Native people, our homelands and sacred places have long felt the harmful impacts of our removal from the places we have lived and thrived in since time immemorial – we have heard these harms shared statewide through the California Truth & Healing Council process,” said Governor's Office of Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari. “The Tribal Nature-Based Solutions grant program is a step in the right direction to begin to address some of the historical wrongs committed against California Native peoples, return lands to tribal ownership and stewardship and support tribes in their efforts to restore balance to their homelands.”

“We are grateful to California Native American tribes for their leadership, consultations, and partnership in helping shape the State’s strategies and ensure tribal expertise leads solutions to address the climate and biodiversity crisis,” CNRA Deputy Secretary for Tribal Affairs Geneva E. B. Thompson said. “Through this new grant program, we will fund solutions driven by the first peoples of this state to build a more resilient, equitable, and thriving future for their communities and all Californians.”

In response to input received from tribes, the new program is setting aside up to $25 million to fund time-sensitive, shovel ready multi-benefit ancestral land return projects that are partially funded and will be ready to close before the end of February 2024. These projects will be on accelerated timelines, and applications are due August 28.

Preliminary project proposals for non-time sensitive projects are due September 29, and the deadline for submitting full project proposals is February 6, 2024.

CNRA will host virtual office hours on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. for interested applicants to speak with grant administrators about any questions they have on the program. Interested applicants are also invited to attend one of three webinars that will provide information on the application process and timelines. Dates and registration information are below.

In addition, CNRA is seeking nominations for the Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Technical Expert Panel to establish a multidisciplinary evaluation team to review project proposals for the new Tribal Nature-Based Solutions grant program. Nominations are due September 1 and can be submitted by using the form on the program webpage and sending it to


Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Grant Program Webinar 1:

Tue, Aug 01, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PDT)

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Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Grant Program Webinar 2:

Tue, Aug 08, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PDT)

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Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Grant Program Webinar 3:

Wed, Aug 09, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM (PDT)

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