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SACRAMENTO – The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), together with state agency partners, released a draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy that will guide and accelerate near- and long-term climate action across key California landscapes. The document is available for public feedback through November 9.

The Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy responds directly to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s nature-based solutions Executive Order N-82-20, which identified our natural and working lands as a critical yet currently underutilized sector in the fight against climate change. These lands cover 90 percent of California’s 105 million acres, and can sequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks. Climate smart management of our natural and working lands also delivers on other critical priorities for California, such as improving public health and safety, securing our food and water supplies, and increasing equity.

The draft Strategy was shaped by months of public engagement, including through online questionnaires, regional workshops, and advisory panels. It:

  • Defines California’s eight natural and working landscapes.
  • Describes how these lands can deliver on our climate change goals.
  • Highlights priority nature-based climate solutions to address the climate crisis.
  • Explores opportunities for regional climate smart land management.
  • Identifies options to track nature-based climate action and measure progress.
  • Outlines nearly 200 opportunities to scale climate smart land management across regions and sectors in California.

“California is committed to accelerating climate action. With the release of this draft Strategy, we have reached a key milestone on the path toward enlisting our natural and working lands sector in our efforts. Thanks to months of hard work by leading experts, State leaders and stakeholders who came together to help craft this ambitious and practical approach, we are excited for public review and input to inform and improve the Strategy,” said Wade Crowfoot, Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency. “Reading this draft, I am more optimistic than ever before about the potential for nature-based climate solutions to deliver on California’s environmental, economic, and equity goals.”

“Our innovative, Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy is a roadmap for restoring climate resilience in our natural systems and reducing the pollution that drives climate change,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency. “The time for bold meaningful climate action is now. Between worsening wildfires, drought and extreme heat, California is taking an all hands-on deck approach to tackling this emergency. Nature-based solutions are being prioritized as a first line of defense.”

“Our state is unmatched in natural beauty and has a dynamic agricultural economy that helps feed the world. As we release the draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy, it is important that we look at the ways in which our farmers and ranchers can help protect the environment as they produce the crops and livestock so integral to the health, well-being, and livelihood of Californians,” said Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“The Office of Planning and Research is very happy to see the release of the draft Natural Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy, which highlights the critical role nature-based solutions play in meeting our State’s climate agenda,” said Samuel Assefa, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “Our team is delighted to help advance this body of work, as evidence shows that these solutions are central to successful climate mitigation and resilience. We look forward to stakeholder review and input which will make the Strategy even stronger!”

Information on how to submit written feedback on the draft can be found at https://resources.ca.gov/Initiatives/Expanding-Nature-Based-Solutions.