SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) awarded a grant of almost $2 million through its Pollinator Habitat Program to the Cachuma Resource Conservation District and its partners.
California produces more than one-third of the nation's vegetables and two-thirds of its annual fruit and nuts, an estimated $11.7 billion dependent on pollinators details the Community Environmental Council.
In Santa Barbara County, agriculture is the largest producing industry, with a gross production value of over $1.9 billion according to the 2022 Santa Barbara County Agricultural Crop Production report.
The loss of pollinators due to habitat destruction, pesticides, diseases, and climate change affects both agriculture as well as natural ecosystems. CDFA's Pollinator Habitat Program administers funding through experienced organizations to work directly with farmers and ranchers to install pollinator habitats and implement management practices to support pollinators.
“Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are heavily agricultural communities, producing a diverse array of crops that compose a significant portion of the region’s GDP,” said Doug Kern, Executive Director of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy. “These crops rely on healthy pollinator populations to thrive and in recent years these populations have been steadily declining. This funding will mark a critical step in mitigating the effects of this decline by directly supporting pollinator habitat installation.”
Cachuma Resource Conservation District and its partner, the Community Environmental Council (CEC), are working to identify eligible farms and ranches in the region and provide technical assistance.
Applications are currently open for farmers and ranchers who wish to apply for up to $200,000 to plant and maintain pollinator-specific habitats. The application can be found here.
“This project aligns with CEC’s broader climate resilience and climate-smart agriculture initiatives that
aim to reverse the compounding effects of climate change, such as extended drought, extreme heat, and
flood,” said Em Johnson, CEC’s Director of Climate Resilience. “To build true community-wide resilience,
CEC is pioneering climate adaptation and resilience efforts that are rooted in equity and catalyzed by
place-based innovation, elevating solutions that are community-led, ready to activate, and intersectional,
supporting a broad range of community needs.”
For more information about the Cachuma Resource Conservation District, visit their website here.