The Barbed Wire - October 14, 2022

October 13, 2022
RCRC Presents Annual Charity Auction Proceeds to Nevada County Nonprofit Organizations
California Energy Commission Adopts Opt-In Renewable Energy Permitting Regulations, Incorporates Several RCRC Suggestions
Federal Highway Administration Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Investments
USDA Announces Award of Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

RCRC Presents Annual Charity Auction Proceeds to Nevada County Nonprofit Organizations

On October 11th, RCRC Board Chair Dan Miller and RCRC President and CEO Patrick Blacklock presented $67,150 to four Nevada County nonprofits at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting. Rural community and business leaders from across the state raised the funds during the County Basket Drawing and Auction at RCRC’s 2022 Annual Meeting in late September for the benefit of nonprofits serving the Nevada County community. 

Each year RCRC’s Annual Meeting concludes with a Basket Drawing and Auction in which county-themed baskets from each of RCRC’s participating member counties are auctioned off to the highest bidder. The proceeds from the auction are then donated to select charities in the county of the RCRC Chair. This year the auction raised a record $67,150 including a $10,000 contribution from RCRC, to benefit charities in Nevada County. This year’s selected charities include the KARE Crisis Nursery, Bright Futures for Youth, Gold Country Senior Services, and the Nevada County Law Enforcement and Fire Prevention Council. 

“I am grateful for the generosity of the rural community and business leaders throughout the state that have provided this valuable contribution for the benefit of our local community,” said RCRC Chair and Nevada County Supervisor Dan Miller. “These meaningful contributions will further support the essential work of Nevada County nonprofits serving our local children and families, students, seniors, and law enforcement and fire agencies.” 

See full press release here.

California Energy Commission Adopts Opt-In Renewable Energy Permitting Regulations, Incorporates Several RCRC Suggestions

On October 12th, the California Energy Commission approved its emergency regulations implementing AB 205’s opt-in renewable energy permitting provisions.   

The legislation and regulations establish an opt-in permitting process at the CEC for renewable energy, transmission, energy storage, and manufacturing projects in lieu of the traditional local permitting process.   

RCRC provided extensive comments and several proposed modifications to the CEC, several of which were ultimately included in the final regulations.  The draft regulations committed the CEC to inviting local governments to the applicant’s pre-filing consultation meeting, but revisions incorporated RCRC’s suggestion that local governments can review and comment upon the project’s stated economic benefits. 

Other modifications suggested by RCRC and incorporated into the regulations include: 

  • Requiring disclosure of local permits sought by the applicant. 

  • Authorizing the executive director, rather than the Commission, to request additional information of the applicant. 

  • Providing a pathway for the executive director to request additional information of the applicant as suggested by other public agencies, including local governments. 

  • Providing a pathway for post-approval project changes to be considered by the Commission itself rather than always requiring ministerial approval by the executive director 

  • Ensuring that post-approval project changes do not undermine the project’s underlying qualifications to be eligible for the opt-in permitting process and maintain the benefits provided to local governments and community -based organizations. 


The CEC did not include RCRC’s suggestions to ensure that local governments and tribes are notified of meetings, workshops, hearings, and post-approval project modifications.  As a result, the impacted local government will have to subscribe to the project’s listserve in order to receive those notifications.   

The CEC also did not change the threshold for ministerial approval of post-approval project modifications, but did incorporate suggestions by RCRC and Cal Cities to ensure that projects continue to provide the benefits entitling them to the CEC-review process. 

The emergency regulations will now be considered by the Office of Administrative Law and shall remain in effect until subsequently modified by the Commission. 

For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy

Federal Highway Administration Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Investments

This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the first round of grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s competitive Bridge Investment Program. Among the 2022 Bridge Planning Grant recipients is Tehama County, which will receive $320,000 for a feasibility study to determine if the Woodson Bridge over the Sacramento River can be rehabilitated or if a new bridge must be constructed. The project will include life cycle cost analysis for both alternatives.

The FHWA also announced the release of nearly $60 billion to states in fiscal year 2023 allotments, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), to 12 formula programs to support investment in critical infrastructure. In the past year, BIL funding has been used to help address needs in every state, including funding through the National Highway Performance Program which provided financial assistance for the construction of a new bridge, passing lanes, and two-way left-turn highways on California State Route 46, which traverses San Luis Obispo County.

USDA Announces Award of Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

On October 12th, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced the award of $110 million in Emergency Rural Health Care grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation, including 19 awards to rural California counties totaling more than $6 million. These funds are made available through the American Rescue Plan Act. A full list of awards is available here.


Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.


30x30 Virtual Expo Series

The California Natural Resources Agency is excited to host a virtual expo experience building on the recent 30x30 Partnership Kick-Off Event Community Expo. Join Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat, and partners from across state agencies to learn more about the programs, funding, and other resources available to help reach California’s 30x30 goal.

Each Virtual Expo will include a Q&A for you to ask questions about funding programs, technical assistance, and more. Register to join using the links below.

Virtual Expo Series Registration:


Fall Broadband for All Summit & State Digital Equity Planning and Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment Planning Kickoff

The California Department of Technology (CDT), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and other state partners are hosting the Fall Broadband for All Summit & State Digital Equity Planning (SDEP) and Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Planning Kickoff on Monday October 24, 2022 between 9:00am-1:00pm PST.
The Summit will include panel discussions and information sessions on the State’s Equity and Broadband programs, implementations of the State’s Broadband for All initiatives, and a briefing on the state’s Digital Equity and Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment planning process and how organizations can partner with the state and contribute to these efforts. The summit will conclude with a moderated discussion on digital equity outcomes and a Q&A session. 
Date: Monday October 24, 2022
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Register here


GO-Biz Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Eligible Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $15 million is available in FY 2022-23 for eligible cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Local jurisdictions can be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $5 million for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace. Grant applications must be received by December 14, 2022 and will be awarded no later than March 31, 2022. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here.


2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program Opening in October

California Fire Safe Council (CFSC), in partnership with CAL FIRE, is pleased to announce the opening of the 2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program application. The application is open from October 3rd, 2022, through November 15th, 2022.

The objective of the 2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program is to educate, encourage, and develop county-wide collaboration and coordination among various wildfire mitigation groups. Up to 21 counties will receive a one-time grant of $175,000 to be used to cover administrative costs relevant to county-wide coordination efforts, including but not limited to the salary, support, and administrative costs for a designated County Coordinator.


The 2022 Statewide County Coordinator Grant Program application is intended for the remaining counties who did not receive funding as part of the 2021-2022 Northern or Southern Region County Coordinator Grant Program. To apply, counties must be the starting point and invested in the scope and goals of the project. However, counties may choose to direct the application process and funds to the non-profit or public agency that they feel are best equipped to execute the project. Local fire mitigation groups are not eligible to apply unless their county designates them as the primary applicant and provides a letter of support. Only one application per county will be accepted.

To Apply: 

Applications open October 3rd, 2022. Visit the California FireSafe Council website here to learn more. Applications will be available for viewing beginning October 3rd, 2022. Applications will close on November 15th, 2022, at 11:59PM PST.

View the 2022 County Coordinator Statewide Grant Opportunity Announcement in its entirety here.

This grant program and publication are funded in full by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as part of the California Climate Investments Program.


Save the Date: Drought to Flood – Building Resilience for California’s Climate Extremes 

Save the date, Monday, October 17th from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, for an event hosted by the California Department of Water Resources, “Drought to Flood: Building Resilience for California’s Climate Extremes”  

The event will feature the latest data about climate extremes and the increased risk of drought and floods; actions to take now that can help prepare for inevitable weather extremes; discussions about developing flood management equity; and insights about meeting funding needs now and in the future. 

In Person: California Natural Resources Agency (715 P Street, Sacramento)
Virtual also available

Register to attend in-person or virtually here.


Career Opportunities

  • Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) is seeking a Water Operations Superintendent. This position is open through October 31, 2022. For additional information, see the flyer here or visit the GCID website here.

  • UC Agriculture & Natural Resources- Davis is currently seeking to hire a Government and Community Relations (GCR) Associate Director to expand and strengthen the UC ANR Government and Community Relations team. This position is open until filled. For more information, see here.

  • State Water Resources Control Board is currently accepting applications for two positions, open through October 31, 2022:

    • Delta Watermaster. The job posting is available here.

    • Presiding Administrative Hearing Officer. The job posting is available here

  • Shasta County invites applications for County Health Officer to maintain primary responsibility for the enforcement of public health laws in both the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County. For more information or to apply online see here (view brochureClosing Date:  November 28, 2022, 7:59 am.


Institute for Local Government Launches New Digital Planning Commissioner Handbook & Regional Trainings

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) recently released an updated version of their Planning Commissioners Handbook. This handbook is designed to support planning commissioners, their staff, and other officials interested in land use and planning; to help local officials understand the planning process; and provide a glimpse of some potential planning challenges commissioners may experience during their terms. The handbook describes the major terms, plans, and policies that make up the framework of local planning, as well as typical stakeholders in the process and the basics of reviewing applications for development.

In conjunction with this release, ILG is hosting regional training sessions for planning commissioners. These interactive sessions will take place in person at various locations throughout the state and will cover topics such as the role of a planning commission, how to work effectively with staff and the governing board, effective community engagement, CEQA basics, required planning documents, and local and regional planning challenges and opportunities. Each session will give participants the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and fellow planning commissioners to hear best practices, emerging trends, and lessons learned. All sessions are FREE but space is limited and registration is required. Find a full schedule and register here.

Next Training: Alameda, Contra Costa San Francisco Counties - October 21, 2022


Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.


RCRC press releases and related news clips about RCRC and our member counties. Please note that a subscription may be required to read some external publications.


Climate change puts these readers’ rural towns at risk. Why they want to rebuild – LA Times

In response to a recent series in the Times, "Rebuild, Reburn", which focused on the community of Greenville, rural Californian’s living in Wildland Urban Interface areas reply with letters to the editor sharing why rebuilding communities like Greenville is important. 


Wildfire Destroys a Piece of Black History in Rural California – The New York Times

The Lincoln Heights community of Weed, California has been devastated by the Mill Fire. The history of the enduring lumber town is told in this reflective article.


Census, term limit change means big turnover for lawmakers – AP News

This overview of the changes coming to the legislature following the coming election describes how 2020 redistricting and changes to term limits will lead to unusually high turnover in State Senate Districts.