Give Now

Santa Barbara Foundation Announces LEAF Restoration, Conservation and Best Practices Grants

Volunteers with Your Children's Trees at Coal Oil Point Reserve
planting native coast live oaks sprouted from acorns

The Santa Barbara Foundation recently awarded $50,000 to local organizations aligned with the efforts of the LEAF Initiative that seek to advance strategies to increase land conservation, promote ecosystem health, ensure agricultural viability, and improve the local food system. Launched in 2015, the primary goal of LEAF is to strengthen community resilience by preserving and enhancing the landscapes and systems that sustain nature, human health and our economy.

“While LEAF continues to support community-driven planning processes such as the food action plan and conservation blueprint, it is just as critical for us to begin to incubate smaller projects and pilot programs that we can learn from and adapt as practices or scale into broader programs,” explained Sharyn Main, Senior Director of Community Investments. “This will help us achieve the systemic shifts that we are seeking over the long-term.”

The grants awarded during this cycle are exemplary of the depth and breadth of the LEAF Initiative and include policy implementation, building local capacity for emergency response, habitat and storm water improvements, as well as restoration efforts. Main worked with technical and initiative advisors in reviewing applications prior to selecting the final grant recipients. The 2016 LEAF Initiative grant recipients include the Santa Ynez Botanic Garden ($10,000), Your Children’s Trees ($10,000), Santa Barbara Channelkeeper ($15,000), and the Environmental Defense Center ($15,000).

The support for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is to develop a suite of resources and local capacity to ensure that the south coast is better prepared and can more effectively respond to future oils spills and minimize environmental and economic damage. The project reflects a new model of working between non-governmental organizations and emergency response agencies and will promote transparency, collaboration and leverage all of our local assets in the protection of our natural resources.

Santa Ynez Botanic Garden will implement storm water drainage improvements and creation of a bio-swale and ephemeral pond at the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden located in the Buellton River View Park. This project will provide flood control and inundation protection of high use areas, enhance the ecological health of the garden, and serve as a visible example of state-of-the-art storm water management in public places.

Volunteers with Your Children's Trees at
Coal Oil Point Reserve planting native
coast live oaks

With a second year of funding from LEAF, Your Children’s Trees will continue the Oak Woodland Restoration project at Coal Oil Point Reserve. This is the final phase of a 500 tree oak woodland restoration effort to create a native habitat and wildlife corridor to improve the ecological balance of the Devereux Slough. This project serves as a model for restoration, utilizes a large number of volunteers, has important educational components and engages student leadership from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Grant funding for the Environmental Defense Center is being directed to support the policy implementation phase of the Blue Whale Safe Passage Project. The project builds off recent advances to improvement management and policies in order to protect endangered whales from ship strikes and improve air quality in the Santa Barbara Channel. Safe Passage Project originally funded with a Santa Barbara Foundation Innovation Grant, demonstrates a new construct for conservation and will pilot best practices to conserve and protect marine habitat and natural resources.

Environmental Defense Center Executive Director Owen Bailey shared, “We are grateful to the Santa Barbara Foundation for supporting us through this next implementation phase of the Safe Passage project, as it is vital that the conservation community remains engaged as an advocate to forward the goals of whale conservation and improved air quality.”

This is the second grant cycle in support of the LEAF Initiative this year. The deadline for the third cycle, and final one for this fiscal year, is October 3, 2016. More information is available here.
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101