NR 2008-14
June 12, 2008

Contact:   Don Drysdale
               Carrie Reinsimar
SACRAMENTO -- The California Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced $9 million in grants that will support efforts to protect and enhance watersheds around the state.

“Everyone lives in a watershed, and it’s important to foster stewardship of these vital natural resources at the grassroots level,” DOC Director Bridgett Luther said. “The management of water resources and the improvement of impaired watersheds is a high priority for the state, and watershed coordinators have shown great success in both areas.”

The 43 grants issued will enable the recipients to hire watershed coordinators for a three-year period. Generally, watershed coordinators help assess local watersheds – the area drained by a river or river system – and bring together local government, landowners, and community groups through outreach, education and partnerships in order to improve the health of the watersheds.
The grants awarded today range from the $343,629 awarded to the Pasadena-based Arroyo Seco Foundation to the $23,150 awarded to the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum.

DOC received 86 applications for a total of more than $19 million in funding from non-profit organizations, local governments and special districts. The proposals were competitively scored by an independent committee comprised of individuals from agencies or organizations outside of DOC. The funds used for the watershed coordinator grants program came from Proposition 50—the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002 – and are authorized for implementation of the CALFED Bay Delta Program. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity for the state to work with local watershed efforts to improve the overall quality of water resources for the people of California, the economy and the environment,” said Brian Leahy, head of DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP).