Watershed Coordinator Grant Program:
What are watersheds?
A watershed describes an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or point along a stream channel. Watersheds consist of surface water (lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands) and all the underlying ground water. Watersheds are interconnected systems of varying geographical size that are composed of all the plants, animals, and geological formations of the natural world, as well as all the housing, agriculture, and industry of human activity.
Understanding watersheds informs understanding water supply, the fate of nutrients and pollutants, soil erosion and deposition, crop options, wildlife habitat, urban development patterns, air quality, and other important conservation issues.
Between 2004 and 2014, the Department of Conservation provided grants for watershed coordinators to facilitate collaborative efforts to improve and sustain the health of California's watersheds. Watershed coordinators successfully facilitated collaborations between diverse groups of stakeholders and cultivated numerous partnerships in order to address multiple social and ecological issues on a watershed scale, improving the efficiency with which state funds were utilized to meet multiple watershed improvement and management goals.
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Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order B-52-18
In May 2018, the Forest Climate Action Team released the Forest Carbon Plan. This plan calls for significant increases in the pace and scale of forest and watershed improvements to restore the health and resilience of California's forests and ensure that California's forests remain net carbon sinks that provide a range of ecosystem and social benefits. In response to the Forest Carbon Plan, the Governor issued Executive Order B-52-18 in order to implement its recommendations.
The Watershed Coordinator Program was identified as integral to implementing the Forest Carbon Plan's regional capacity building and collaboration recommendations. The Budget Act for Fiscal Year 2018/19 (Chapter 28, Statutes of 2018) allocated funding for this program to fund watershed coordinator positions to develop and implement watershed improvement plans consistent with the Forest Carbon Plan. The Watershed Coordinator (Forest Carbon) Program is currently in development.