[FILLED] Regional Resilience Planning Grant Fellow

Host: Yolo County
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g., sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Public Health, Environmental Justice
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Facilitation, Environmental Justice, Stakeholder Engagement,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – The Yolo Sustainability Team primarily works off-site remotely, with the option for occasional in-site work. Most often, the team will meet up at local coffee shops for team meetings and to co-work while a majority of work is done independently.

Fellows will be expected to attend monthly in-person Commission meetings, as well as outreach events such as tabling and workshops.

Service Needs & Plans

In 2023, Yolo County—in partnership with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, City of Davis, City of Woodland, University of California, Davis, Cool Davis, Valley Vision—was awarded funding from the inaugural round of California’s Regional Resilience Grant Program (RRGP), part of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research’s (OPR) Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP). This grant, supported by the Governor’s multi-year climate budget, intends to fortify climate change resilience at a regional level. This project aims to build the County’s first formal climate collaborative, the Yolo County Regional Resilience Collaborative (YCRRC). YCRRC aims to engage regional communities, including vulnerable populations, to identify shared climate priorities, establish a governance structure, and develop a funding and implementation strategy. It is our hope and within the scope of the project that the new CivicSpark Fellow will support engaging with communities to 1) develop a needs assessment that identifies shared resilience priorities related to climate risks, including wildfire, poor air quality, extreme heat, drought, and flooding, 2) support the development of a governance structure rooted in equity and climate justice for the proposed Yolo County Regional Resilience Collaborative to achieve these shared priorities, and 3) support the development of an implementation strategy to build staff organizational capacity and facilitate ongoing collaborative work in Yolo County, including implementing climate-resilient projects.

This project will serve the 220,000 residents of Yolo County, including residents living in the County’s 13 Disadvantaged and Severely Disadvantaged Communities (CalEnviroScreen). The unincorporated communities of Knights Landing, Esparto, Madison, Guinda, and Dunnigan; the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a sovereign Native American tribal government; the West Sacramento neighborhoods of Broderick, Bryte, and the area surrounding the Port of West Sacramento; and portions of the Cities of Woodland and Davis are considered disadvantaged (at or above 75% CalEnviroScreen 4.0) and/or low-income (at or below 80% AB 1550). The shared regional resilience priorities developed as part of the proposed project will include climate-resilient projects that benefit these communities.

Project Description

The project will result in Yolo County’s first-ever governance structure for regional resilience collaboration; a needs assessment that identifies regional resilience priorities, informed by in-depth community engagement and partnership; project descriptions for shovel-ready resilience projects; and a funding and implementation strategy, all of which will further climate resilience work in Yolo County. There may also be broader CAAP Support, with the opportunity to support the Yolo County Sustainability Division’s communications work and broader CAAP goals ensuring alignment between the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan goals and the work of the YCRRC.

The Fellow’s role will include:

  • Organizing in-person workshops, outreach events, and more for the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and Regional Resilience Collaborative.
  • Creative development of outreach efforts (in-person or online) and planning support for tabling at community events.
  • Project coordination in the form of meeting coordination, notes, follow-up emails, summaries, and staff report preparation for Commission meetings.
  • Implementation of equitable engagement strategies.
    Support broader regional climate goals, staff, and consultants as needed.

Desired project outcomes include:

  • Building out and continued implementation of the Yolo Regional Resilience Collaborative.
  • Broader support of County climate action goals. Support in achieving Countywide climate goals by engaging with the community and supporting in person outreach events.
  • Staff reports and presentations for Regional Resilience Collaborative.

Through this project, the County will be able to:

  • Constantly seek best practices for equitable community engagement.
  • Assess the communities’ needs in a bottom-up format to inform the project design.
  • Support the Regional Resilience Collaborative by supporting the development of an interested party map to establish which interested parties are the highest priority for engagement.
  • Conduct outreach to community-based organizations to build trust and develop a future governance structure that will meet their needs.
  • Engage with and present to public bodies, such as community advisory committees, public workshops. Also support public messaging through newsletters and website management, along with interpreting survey responses from the community.
  • Support staff, Collaborative partners and consultants.
Desired Skills Organization & Workplace Highlights

The project will build on the Regional Partners’ existing work to increase collaboration in Yolo County, which includes the informal Yolo Climate Compact—a regional network of more than 150 representatives that has met regularly for over 15 years to share resources related to climate resilience, and the more recent Yolo Resiliency Collaborative, an ad-hoc group of staff from local jurisdictions started in 2017 to collaborate on resilience issues such as extreme heat. The project will develop shared priorities and a formal governance structure to further this collaborative work for the first time in Yolo County’s history and build critical staffing capacity—both through collaborative development and through hiring CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellows to support planning—to ensure priority projects serving vulnerable communities can transition from planning to implementation. The Regional Partners will also benefit from working closely with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to identify shared climate resilience priorities which are informed by traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), as well as the Tribe’s investment in innovative sustainable technologies and programs.

Community Highlights

Nestled in northern California, Yolo County offers a vibrant blend of urban and rural living experiences. An agricultural mecca and the home to the esteemed University of California, Davis, the county boasts a diverse community enriched by its agricultural heritage and academic excellence.

With cities like Davis, Woodland, West Sacramento, and Winters, as well as unincorporated areas such as Knights Landing, Esparto, Madison, Dunnigan, Guinda and more, Yolo County provides a unique mix of cultural events, farmers’ markets, and outdoor recreational activities. Its fertile farmland yields a bounty of crops, reflecting a rich agricultural tradition that coexists harmoniously with its thriving arts scene and natural beauty.

Diversity is a priority in Yolo County, where residents enjoy a strong sense of community amid a backdrop of cultural richness and scenic landscapes. The county is committed to uplifting underserved populations, offering programs and services to support diverse communities. From farm-to-table dining to outdoor adventures, Yolo County offers an enticing lifestyle that appeals to a wide range of interests and backgrounds.

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