The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is presenting the City of Rancho Cucamonga with the prestigious Beacon Vanguard Award for its comprehensive policies and programs that foster sustainability and help meet aggressive state climate goals. The award was presented at the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo, held in Long Beach from Sept. 7-9.
The 2022 Beacon program also recognizes the cities of Los Angeles, Camarillo, Irvine, Richmond, Sacramento, and West Sacramento for their climate work.
Climate change is an immediate and escalating threat that is having a dramatic impact on the economies, health, and way of life in California communities. Now, more than ever, local governments deserve recognition for the steps they are proactively taking to mitigate this global crisis despite so many other competing priorities.
The City of Rancho Cucamonga has implemented over 60 sustainability activities, including converting over 14,000 streetlights to LED bulbs. They also offer community education about energy conservation programs and rebates, have improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and are expanding the city’s urban forest. Now, Rancho Cucamonga is turning its attention to goals set in its latest Climate Action Plan and Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan. These plans are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 30% and double the number of EV chargers in the community by 2030.
“California cities are on the frontlines of climate threats, working to mitigate, prepare for, and address the impacts of increased wildfires, drought, sea level rise, and extreme heat,” said Erica L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Government. “We are excited to honor the leadership and innovation of our city partners to manage and proactively address these increasing threats to make all California’s communities more sustainable and more resilient.”
Local government leaders often need additional expertise to meet the immediate needs of their communities, while still being able to make meaningful progress on long-term goals related to equity, climate, and resilience. ILG provides local leaders with capacity-building services, technical support, partnership development, and educational resources to make informed policies, plans, and decisions around climate planning, land use, housing, infrastructure, and engagement that result in more equitable, sustainable, and resilient communities.
The Beacon program provides a framework for local governments to share best practices that create healthier, more efficient, and vibrant communities. The program is free and open to cities, counties, and special districts in all stages of climate action planning and implementation.
Last year, ILG introduced new categories of Beacon Awards honoring the innovation and leadership of local governments. The Innovation and Leadership Awards aim to celebrate local governments’ efforts to implement collaborative, inclusive, and equitable climate resilience and adaptation programming. This year, ILG is recognizing the cities of Los Angeles, Camarillo, Irvine, Richmond, Sacramento, and West Sacramento with Beacon Leadership and Innovation Awards.
The City of Los Angeles received an award for leadership in climate resilience for the StreetsLA program. This program uses innovative cool pavement coating and street trees to reduce urban heat in eight neighborhoods across LA.
The City of Camarillo received an award for leadership in climate resilience for the North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter Project, which created a drought-proof source of potable water, reducing the city’s reliance on imported water sources and costs for customers.
The City of Irvine earned an award for equity and engagement in sustainability and climate for its “Recycle from Home” initiative, which makes it easy for residents to recycle and get paid for their recycled containers right from their driveway or doorstep.
The City of Richmond won an award for innovation in clean transportation for their electric bike-share program, which offers 250 electric bikes across 25 hubs in the city as a low-cost, clean, and healthy transportation option for disadvantaged residents.
Lastly, the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento received the award for cross-agency collaboration in climate adaptation for establishing the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change. Through the Commission, Sacramento and West Sacramento work together to develop a common vision and set of strategies to address climate change regionally and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for their respective cities by 2045.
Currently, over 170 cities, counties, and special districts throughout the state participate in the Beacon Program. ILG established the Beacon Program to provide recognition and year-round support for California local agencies that are working to build more vibrant and sustainable communities. The Beacon Awards honor voluntary efforts by cities, counties, and special districts that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, and adopting policies that promote sustainability. For more information about the Beacon Program and current participants, visit www.ca-ilg.org/BeaconProgram.
For a complete list of achievements, please visit www.ca-ilg.org/award-winners.