Natural Resources Agency Awards Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grants

Published Date:

SACRAMENTO – In coordination with the California Transportation Commission (CTC), the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) today announced approximately $9.3 million in funding for eight projects in five counties under CNRA’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation (EEM) grant program. EEM provides funding for local, state, and federal governmental agencies as well as nonprofit organizations for projects that mitigate environmental impacts produced by new or modified state transportation facilities.

The approved projects include four in Los Angeles County and one each in Humboldt, Mariposa, El Dorado, and Marin counties.

Many of the approved projects will specifically contribute to California’s effort to conserve at least 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters in their natural state by 2030 (30x30).

“Great projects are happening across California to conserve natural habitat and expand outdoor access for our residents,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “These grants are a case in point. They ensure that critical transportation infrastructure being built is complemented by strategic land conservation, which help people and nature thrive together.”

The awarded projects are as follows:

El Dorado County

  • The American River Conservancy was awarded $1.5 million to purchase in-fee the 2,997-acre El Dorado Ranch in southern El Dorado County. The property includes 3.8 miles of riparian frontage along Slate Creek and Big Canyon Creek, both of which are foothill tributaries to the Cosumnes River. El Dorado Ranch is a working ranch that maintains open space, water quality, and wildland fire protection in the Cosumnes River watershed. The property supports diverse microhabitats, providing refugia for species sensitive to climate change.

Humboldt County

  • The Northcoast Regional Land Trust was awarded $1.5 million to acquire a conservation easement over an 895-acre working forest dominated by redwood and Douglas fir. The property, which includes most of the headwaters of the Redwood Creek watershed and drains directly to the South Fork Eel River, contains critical habitat for threatened steelhead trout, Coho and Chinook salmon. The project will create an almost 20,000-acre block of privately held headwaters managed for multiple ecosystem benefits, streamflow enhancement, and sustainable forest management practices. The project will remove subdivision rights, highly restrict development, ensure that the forested portion of the property is managed as a late seral reserve, increase riparian buffers, and enhance wildlife habitat and water quality.

Los Angeles County

  • Amigos de los Rios was awarded approximately $736,000 to plant 250 trees and 1,500 shrubs, all native and Mediterranean, at the approximately 56-acre El Rancho Unified School District High School complex (which comprises El Rancho High School, Ruben Salazar Continuation High School, and El Rancho Adult School in the city of Pico Rivera). The project will also support events where students, Conservation Corps members, and community stakeholders will plant and care for the plants. The project will provide multiple benefits by capturing stormwater and runoff and creating habitat and recreational opportunities.
  • The City of Torrance was awarded approximately $719,000 to plant 121 native trees within the Cabrillo Avenue median between 213th Street to the north and Plaza del Amo to the south in downtown Torrance. The project will also install a smart irrigation system and replace asphalt with a permeable surface to increase infiltration.
  • The Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy was awarded approximately $1 million to acquire in-fee the 10-acre privately owned Sycamore Canyon property, which is part of an urban wildlife corridor in the San Rafael Hills of Northern Los Angeles. Sycamore Canyon contains oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian habitats along with a seasonal stream. Nearby Cottonwood Canyon, which was purchased with an EEM grant in 2018, will serve as the eastern entrance to this wildlife corridor.
  • The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) was awarded $1.5 million to acquire in-fee the 31.24-acre Paradise Hill property within the City of Los Angeles. The project will protect one of the last remaining undeveloped hilltops in northeast Los Angeles. The project will protect grassland and Southern California black walnut trees and secure connectivity for wildlife between islands of remaining habitat in the region. Existing informal trails provide views over the downtown Los Angeles skyline and coast. MRCA will manage the property for conservation and recreation.

Marin County

  • The Trust for Public Land was awarded $1.5 million to acquire in-fee the 110-acre Tiburon Ridge (also known as the Martha Property) near the tip of the Tiburon Peninsula. The property offers irreplaceable panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area, well-established social trails and wildlife corridors, and native grassland and wetland habitats that support five special-status species. The project will protect in perpetuity coastal live oak woodland, freshwater wetland, and California red-legged frog upland habitat. The community has been working to protect the property for more than three decades. Ownership will be transferred to Marin County Open Space District for management as a public open space preserve.

Mariposa County

  • The Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC) was awarded nearly $874,000 to purchase a 1,690-acre conservation easement on Green Mountain Ranch, which is part of the 4,407-acre Martin-Jensen owned ranches near the Madera County border, Eastman Lake, and the Chowchilla River. The project will permanently conserve the open space grasslands, working rangeland, and valley oak riparian habitats that support many species, including western pond turtle, California tiger salamander, and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Green Mountain Ranch is a keystone of SFC’s Madera Mariposa Focus Area for protecting and connecting more than 30,000 acres of public and private land.

EEM grants are funded from the Highway Users Tax Account. CNRA evaluates the initial applications and forwards recommendations to the CTC for final approval.



“The American River Conservancy’s purchase of the 2,997-acre El Dorado Ranch in southern El Dorado County will contribute to the state’s goal of preserving 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030.”