$100 million California Climate Action Seed and Matching Grants supports UC climate action research, tribal nation resource management

By Melody Seraydarian, The Daily Californian

Over the last two years, 38 projects — funded by a $100 million state grant given to the University of California — have addressed climate action research and innovation focused on building resilience, adaptation and mitigation to climate change. 

Administered by the Office of Research and Innovation within the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, through several peer-reviewed programs, these research grants — officially called the California Climate Action Seed and Matching Grants — aim to positively affect tribal nations most vulnerable to the detrimental impacts of climate change.

“The California Climate Action Seed and Matching Grants fund action-oriented solutions that address California’s climate goals and needs, ensure that local communities are prepared and resilient, and prevent future disasters,” said a representative from the Office of Research and Innovation in an email. “These grants aim to address California’s climate goals and needs while leading the charge toward a resilient and sustainable tomorrow.”

Spanning over 12 UC locations, 11 California State University campuses and two private universities, these research grants involve more than 130 community, industry, tribal and public agencies.

Three examples of funded projects work directly with tribal nations, investigating pinyon pine forest ecology and cultural values in the Eastern Sierra, monitoring North Coast fisheries and conducting surveys of the California Indian Public Domain Lands’ changing landscapes.

UC Berkeley is involved in the Pinyon Pine Forest Preservation Project, which also involves the Bishop Paiute Tribe, Big Pine Paiute Tribe, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and Bridgeport Indian Colony, as well as community organizations and researchers at Stanford University. This project received $2 million from Climate Action Seed and Matching Grants to improve California’s pinyon-juniper woodlands’ resilience and expand the Indigenous forest stewardship in the eastern Sierra Nevada. 

About one-third of all funded projects have direct partnerships with California tribal nations and organizations that center Indigenous communities. UCOP, in partnership with the California Strategic Growth Council, provided additional funding to 10 of the projects to identify the best practices for engagement. 

“Awards were selected through a rigorous peer review process that ensured that each project addressed one or more of California’s climate action research priorities. The review process also evaluated the potential for actionable, tangible outcomes and the quality of engagement with communities and end-users, among other factors,” the representative said in the email. “This resulting collection of funded awards represents a wide range of diverse and multidisciplinary approaches to finding solutions for California’s communities impacted by climate change.”