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Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation

Jan 17, 2024Jan 17, 2024

The EEM Program is an annual program established by legislation in 1989 and amended on September 26, 2013. It offers grants to local, state, and federal governmental agencies, and to nonprofit organizations for projects to mitigate the environmental impacts caused by new or modified public transportation facilities. There are three types of EEM project: Urban Forestry, Resource Lands, and Mitigation Projects Beyond the Scope of the Lead Agency.


EEM projects must contribute to mitigation of the environmental effects of transportation facilities. The California Natural Resources Agency (Agency) prescribes procedures and criteria to evaluate grant project proposals and submits a list of projects recommended for funding to the California Transportation Commission (CTC). The CTC awards grants to projects from Agency's list.

Related Transportation Facility

EEM projects must mitigate, either directly or indirectly, the environmental impacts of a) the modification of an existing Transportation Facility or b) the construction of a new Transportation Facility (hereafter Related Transportation Facility or RTF). The EEM project can be the required mitigation for the RTF or enhancement to mitigation required for the RTF.

Statewide Project Goals

Agency grant programs assist state and local entities to develop more sustainable communities, increase adaptability to climate change using nature-based strategies, and protect biodiversity in compliance with Executive Order N-82-20, the Pathways to 30 x 30 California, and the Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy. Projects that demonstrate the following multiple benefits will be more competitive:

• Improved air and/or water quality.

• Reduced consumption of natural resources and energy.

• Increased reliability of local water supplies.

• Increased adaptability to climate change.

• Increased protection and restoration of biodiversity

Eligible Projects Examples

The list below isn't comprehensive, but provides examples of project elements that meet statutory conditions.

Urban Forestry:

• Planting of trees and plants along urban streets and medians.

• Greening existing public lands and structures, including school campuses and urban parks.

• Greening vacant lots and abandoned sites.

• Restoration of urban creeks.

Resource Lands:

• Removal of invasive and restoration of natural plant species.

• Enhancement or restoration of natural areas such as inland wetlands, forests, oak woodlands, mountain meadows, creeks, and streams with riparian or riverine fish or wildlife habitat, wildlife corridors and fish passages, coastal estuaries, grazing land and grasslands.

• Acquisitions in fee title or through conservation easements to safeguard regional water supplies, protect riparian and wildlife habitats, conserve agricultural lands for secure wildlife migration corridors, and provide public access for compatible wildlife/nature-oriented recreation by the wider community.

• Acquisitions to preserve in perpetuity Resource Lands for agricultural uses, open space, wetlands, biodiversity, etc.

Mitigation Projects Beyond the Scope of the Lead Agency:

Project examples listed under Urban Forestry and Resource Lands categories may be eligible for the Mitigation Projects Beyond the Scope of the Lead Agency category, if the mitigation or enhancement measures for the RTF were infeasible or beyond the jurisdiction and/or authority of the Lead Agency for the RTF.

Project Criteria Questions

Applicants must choose only one project category and respond to all questions in the selected category. If a question doesn't apply to the project, indicate Not Applicable with a brief explanation.

Local, state, and federal agencies and 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities may apply. The applicant entity isn't required to be a transportation- or highway-related organization but must be able to demonstrate adequate charter or enabling authority to carry out the type of project proposed and be eligible for funding under Article XIX of the State Constitution. Partnerships are encouraged; however, a project proposal can only be submitted by one entity.


North/South Split

An attempt will be made to award 40% of the total funding to projects in northern counties and 60% of the total funding to projects in southern counties. The following are defined as southern counties: San Luis Obispo, Kern, Mono, Tulare, Inyo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial. All other counties are considered northern counties

Matching funds are not required for EEM Program grants. However, project proposals which include other sources of funds for the proposed project may be more competitive.

Applicants who have obtained, or are planning to obtain, other sources of funds for a project should identify each source of funding separately on the Cost Estimate (Appendix D or E), including other State of California funds and in-kind contributions.

This program, as provided by California Streets and Highways Code Section 164.56 (Article XIX, Section 1, of the State Constitution), authorizes the legislature to allocate up to $7 million each fiscal year from the Highway Users Tax Account (Motor Vehicle Revenues, Section 2100).

Grants for development or restoration projects are generally limited to $750,000 each. Grants for acquisition projects are generally limited to $1,500,000 each.

Funding is made available via reimbursement payments. For acquisition projects, grantee may request an advance of funds into escrow (subject to retention).

State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.

Introduction Related Transportation Facility must Statewide Project Goals Eligible Projects Examples Project Criteria Questions all selected category Not Applicable with a brief explanation North/South Split full grant