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Home > Feature Articles > Municipality Strategies for Sustainable Community Best Practices

Emerald Cities Program Helps Cities Implement a Sustainability Program

The Emerald Cities Pilot Program increases collaboration between state agencies, participating local governments, utilities and other partners, resulting in more effective and quicker implementation of sustainable actions.

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California's Emerald Cities Pilot Program is a public/private partnership designed to achieve California’s aggressive resource conservation and environmental goals.

Emerald Cities is sponsored by the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and administered by the California Department of Conservation (CDOC).

CDOC provides cities with assistance in sustainable practices, potential grants and other funding, and technical expertise to address barriers and develop solutions to successful sustainability projects.

Participating state agencies, such as the Air Resources Board (ARB) and Department of Fish and Game (DFG), are reviewing and commenting on each local government’s action plan, and identifying potential ways to help make those plans successful.

The lessons learned in Emerald Cities pilot projects will be shared with state agencies and the Strategic Growth Council to improve coordination between participants and streamline programs.

Two cities are piloting the Emerald Cities program:

Riverside, and Tracy, California Emerald Cities Pilot

  • Riverside, which has an existing sustainability action plan.
  • Tracy, which is starting to develop a comprehensive sustainability action plan.

    Both cities participate in the CDOC's Comprehensive Recycling Communities program, which increases beverage container recycling. The Emerald Cities Pilot Program expands the focus to other environmental priorities including

    • water conservation
    • energy efficiency
    • improved air quality
    • and prudent protection of agricultural and open space lands.

    The California Sustainability Alliance identified techniques to increase Riverside’s “stretch” goal from the production of 3 Megawatts of solar power to the production of 20 megawatts of solar power by 2020.

    The Emerald Cities Solution

    The Emerald Cities Pilot Program increases collaboration between state agencies, participating local governments, utilities and other partners, resulting in more effective and quicker implementation of sustainable actions.

    It coordinates state programs across multiple state agencies to leverage state grants and technical services, and reduce duplication. The program links specific local government actions to specific state environmental goals and targets, and accelerates adoption of “best practices” identified through a collaborative process with consultants and state program experts. It also improves communication and collaboration between state, regional and local governments and aids in establishing on-going processes for implementing sustainability within each city and county for continued growth of sustainable actions, thus ensuring sustainable communities.

    The Emerald Cities Pilot Program is expansion into a statewide program, which could become “Emerald California” and will help both cities and counties become more sustainable.

    Services provided by the Emerald Cities Program are:

    • Assistance completing a sustainability action plan.
    • Assistance in reaching state environmental targets.
    • Where to go for funding of sustainable projects.

    California Department of Conservation
    Emerald Cities Program

    Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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