Watershed Coordinator Program


Watershed Coordinator Grant Program​​

2020 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Watershed Coordinator Awards

The division announced five awards totaling $1.7 million for watershed coordinators that will build broad coalitions of government, stakeholders, and communities to develop plans and projects to improve watershed health and meet California's groundwater sustainability goals. 

​Projects Approved for Funding (download PDF version​) | View Awarded Projects Map​

​Groundwater Basin(s)
​Amount Requested​​
​Project Description
​​San Jose University Research Foundation
​Salinas Valley - Langley Area (3-004.09)
Salinas Valley - East Side Aquifer (3-004.02)
Salinas Valley - 180/400 Foot Aquifer (3-004.01)
​Two Watershed Coordinators will increase coordination and collaboration between the Greater Monterey County Regional Water Management Group and the SVBGSA; and will coordinate the implementation of multi-stakeholder projects prioritized within the Greater Monterey County IRWM Plan, Stormwater Resources Plan, and Salinas Valley Basin GSP.
​CA Land Stewardship Institute
​Ukiah Valley (1-052)
​The Watershed Coordinator will work with the GSA and community partners to identify locations for groundwater recharge, stream revegetation, and fire/fuel reduction; conduct focused outreach to disadvantaged communities and tribes; work with landowners to ensure collaborative project implementation; prepare a component of a watershed plan that includes identified priority projects to address water quality and water conservation; monitor well and streamflow gages; and enroll agricultural landowners in the Fish Friendly Farming/Ranching program and work with landowners on implementing BMPs.
​Southeast Sacramento County Agricultural Water Authority
​San Joaquin Valley - Cosumnes (5-002.16) Sacramento Valley - South American (5-021.65)(portion)
​The Watershed Coordinator will develop a list of and prioritize watershed projects to implement and fund; coordinate implementation of a groundwater and surface water monitoring program; and provide groundwater sustainability outreach and education.
Kings River Conservation District
​San Joaquin Valley - Kings (5-022.08) San Joaquin Valley - Tulare Lake (5-022.12)
​The Watershed Coordinator will prepare and implement an Early Action Plan (EAP) to: provide an immediate safe drinking water supply to residents with nitrate exceedance, develop and implement a plan that outlines milestones for dischargers to reduce or cease nitrate contamination into the groundwater, and identify projects and strategies that will be implemented to restore groundwater quality where reasonable and feasible. The Watershed Coordinator will foster collaboration among multiple interests including affected communities, domestic well users, tribes, the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water, local planning departments, local county health officials, groundwater sustainability agencies, and disadvantaged communities.
​Pixley Irrigation District GSA​
​San Joaquin Valley - Tule Subbasin (5-022.13)
​The Watershed Coordinator will coordinate implementation of the subbasin's GSPs and the Lower Deer Creek Watershed Plan; facilitate wildlife-friendly land retirement and recharge actions; assist in developing regional project priorities consistent with the six GSPs in the subbasin; develop site-specific projects with benefits to disadvantaged communities; and pursue funding to support groundwater sustainability projects.
Total ​$1,472,581.70

About ​Watershed Coordinators

California's watershed systems play a critical role in delivering vital water suppli​es throughout the state. Because watersheds vary greatly across different​ geographies of the state, regionally tailored watershed management efforts are necessary for success. Watershed coordinators play an important role increasing watershed health.  ​​​​​

A watershed coordinator is a position that the state funds for a local government or non-profit to work with local stakeholders and downstream beneficiaries. The purpose is to develop plans and projects to improve watershed health, and to achieve state and local natural resources goals. Their work is centered around the ability to leverage local relationships and understandings, to build broad and trusting coalitions across a watershed and to cultivate a shared vision of progress. Key state policy goals that watershed coordinators help to ​achieve include:

  • Water Supply and Quality​​​​​
  • Outdoor Access
  • Forest Health and Fire Prevention
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Biodiversity and Species Recovery
  • Environmental Education
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Resiliency
  • Groundwater Sustainability

Watershed Coordinator Program Background

The watershed coordinator program has been in place since 2000 and has documented effectiveness throughout the state, achieving the following goals: 

  • developing and implementing watershed improvement plans aligned with multiple statewide and regional objectives; 
  • ​bringing diverse stakeholders together to implement collaborative efforts to improve California's watersheds; 
  • identifying and securing additional funds for watershed improvement projects and watershed coordinator positions; 
  • educating residents of the watersheds on how to best manage and care for them.

There are currently eight (8) watershed coordinators funded for three (3) years through the Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program in the Sierra and coastal regions and five (5) watershed coordinators funded for three (3) years through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Watershed Coordinator Program in the Central Valley and coastal regions. The Forest Health program is helping materialize the goals of Executive Order N-10-19 (PDF) in projects and plans: prioritizing multi-benefit approaches that meet multiple needs at once; utilizing natural infrastructure to achieve these priorities; embracing innovation and new technologies; encouraging regional approaches among water users sharing watersheds; incorporating successful approaches from other parts of the world; integrating investments, policies and programs on the ground; strengthening partnerships. The SGMA program is helping implement regional groundwater sustainability strategies to meet the State's groundwater sustainability goals.

​​​Please contact watershed program staff with questions or comments:​​​
wcp@conservation.ca.gov​ ​​or by phone at (916) 324-0850