Watershed Program

Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program- Grant Awards Announced

Seventeen responsive applications were received, scored, and ranked. Eight projects have been selected for grant awards. 

Program Background

In 2006, California passed Assembly Bill 32 -- the “California Global Warming Solutions Act.” It has long been recognized that forests will play an important role in achieving the Act’s goal of reducing California’s greenhouse gas emission to 1990 levels by 2020. Thus, the Forest Climate Action Team (FCAT) was created in 2014 to develop a Forest Carbon Plan. FCAT is comprised of representatives from many natural resources agencies, state and federal forest land managers, and other  partners directly or indirectly involved in California forestry.

The Forest Carbon 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, ensuring that they remain net carbon sinks that provide a range of ecosystem and social benefits. The Governor issued Executive Order B-52-18 to implement the plan's recommendations.

The 2018/19 California state budget allocated funding for watershed coordinator positions to develop and implement watershed improvement plans consistent with the Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order B-52-18. 

The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Grant Program is funded by the California Environmental License Plate Fund, and administered by the Department of Conservation. The RFP guidelines can be viewed here

Independent Assessment of the CALFED Watershed Program

A new Sierra Institute report, backed by the Department of Conservation, shows that the state's investment in community-based watershed initiatives between 2000-2014 sparked an "institutional evolution" in awareness and action. California's watersheds and their ecosystems provide vital clean water, abundant timber resources, habitat for thousands of species, and scenic beauty for all to enjoy.


​Between 2000 and 2015, 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.

Visit our Grant Reports page for more information.

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.