AAH - Frequently Asked Questions

The Adopt-A-Highway Program provides an avenue for individuals, organizations, and businesses to volunteer their services to help maintain sections of California’s highways. Thanks to Clean California, the Adopt-A-Highway Program has been authorized to provide an incentive stipend up to $250 per month for litter cleanup events held by its volunteers.
Clean California is part of Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan. The sweeping $1.1 billion, multiyear clean-up effort aims to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and engage communities to transform roadsides and restore pride in public spaces.
Interested parties can contact the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway Program via phone by calling 866-ADOPTAHWY, via email at AAH.HQ@dot.ca.gov or by filling out an online application on the Clean California website: www.CleanCalifornia.com.
Clean California is renewing the focus on the Adopt-A-Highway Program in an effort to increase highway adoptions and bolster the Department’s efforts to remove litter and beautify the State Highway System. The volunteer incentive stipend is a temporary offer designed to encourage and reward people for volunteering.
Clean California includes $30 million allocated over three years for the volunteer incentive stipend. The stipend will end June 30, 2024 or when the funds are depleted, whichever occurs first.

The incentive stipend is per eligible litter cleanup event held at adopted sites. Following a litter cleanup event, the volunteer is required to submit by email to the local District Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator their group name, adopted site name, date of litter cleanup event, number of bags collected, number of workers, hours worked and picture of collected bags.

Additionally, volunteers are encouraged to share before and after photos of the site. Photos are used to help Caltrans verify the occurrence of a cleanup event and promote the Adopt-A-Highway Program and Clean California on the Department’s website and social media pages.

Individuals, organizations, and businesses, whether new or current adopters, are eligible for incentive stipends. State employees and their immediate families are welcome to participate but are not eligible to receive incentive stipends.
Even though the primary contact for a college fraternity, sorority, or club is often a state employee, these entities are eligible to receive the incentive stipend because they will be the recipient, not the primary contact. In order to qualify to receive the incentive stipend, the fraternity, sorority, or club must write a letter to the Adopt-A-Highway Program via their local Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator stating that the entity will be receiving the incentive stipend and not the primary contact. The letter should also state that the incentive stipend will be used for the fraternity, sorority, or club’s activities. The fraternity, sorority, or club should also keep a copy of the letter with all other adoption documentation.
. Even though the primary contact for the non-profit is a state employee, the organization is eligible to receive the incentive stipend as they will be receiving the stipend not the primary contact. To receive the incentive stipend (if all other eligibility criteria have been met), the non-profit will need to submit a Payee Data Record STD-204 Form to their local Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator.

Stipends will be distributed by the State Controllers Office on a quarterly basis. Depending on the State Controller’s Office, checks should be distributed within 30-45 days after invoices are submitted.

NOTE: Checks will be issued by the State of California and will not reference Caltrans, Clean California, or Adopt-A-Highway

Adopters are eligible to receive a maximum of one incentive stipend per month per site. The maximum stipends issued per location are set by the frequency specified on the encroachment permit. Additional cleanups are welcome but not eligible for the incentive stipend. Stipend distribution is subject to verification of litter cleanup.
Caltrans will report incentive stipends to the IRS for tax purposes if the volunteer receives over $600 in calendar year.
We inform all volunteers during the safety orientation not to pick up litter or engage with people experiencing homelessness in encampment areas for the safety of the volunteers and the people experiencing homelessness sheltering at the encampments.

The Adopt-A-Highway website has additional handouts with information about the program. The website also has a list of Local Adopt-A-Highway Coordinators who can be contacted for additional information.

For more information about Clean California, you can head to CleanCA.com.