$2 Million in Watershed Restoration, Conservation Grants Announced

​​​​​​​​​​November 13​, 2020
NR# 2020-03

SACRAMENTO -- The California Department of Conservation today awarded $2 million in first-of-their-kind grants for watershed restoration and conservation​ projects on agricultural lands in Marin, Sonoma, Kings and Ventura counties. Each grant went to a locally focused ​Reso​urce Conservation District (RCD).

“These grants not only support important local projects, but also advance some of Governor Newsom’s key objectives​: conserving working lands and helping California reach its environmental, climate change and sustainability goals,” DOC Director David Shabazian said.

RCDs are locally governed special districts. DOC provides assistance to help these districts develop a stewardship ethic promoting sustainability of the state’s natural resource heritage.

“RCDs get many valuable things accomplished in their communities -- water and agricultural land conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement, and recreational land restoration, among others,” said Keali’i Bright, who heads DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection.

Funding for the grants came from Proposition 68, the Parks and Water Bond Act of 2018. DOC will have approximately $6.5 million available for additional grants in 2021.

Summaries of the funded projects: 
  • The Santa Rosa-based Sonoma Resource Conservation District was awarded $409,275  for its Sonoma Mountain Stormwater Management and Rainwater Storage project on a horse ranch in Sonoma County on Washington Creek, a tributary of Petaluma River.
    • The project will install 200,000-gallon capacity storage tanks to collect runoff from barns and other ranch infrastructure, significantly reducing groundwater pumping. The project will promote native plants, help increase resilience to climate change impacts by addressing both drought and runoff conditions, and decrease erosion into the Petaluma River.
  • The Marin RCD, based in Point Reyes Station, and co-applicant Point Blue Conservation Science were awarded $429,911 for the Stemple Watershed Riparian Restoration at Lazy R Ranch project.
    • The goal of the project is to increase riparian habitat, reduce erosion, sequester carbon, and increase connectivity with adjacent riparian habitat. Plants will be installed by Point Blue’s Students & Teachers Restoring A Watershed Program, which brings together local students, landowners, scientists and other community members to restore public and private lands and educate the next generation of conservationists.
  • The Corcoran-based Tulare Lake RCD and co-applicant Kings River Conservation District, based in Fresno, were awarded $1,165,644 for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project.
    • The partners will remove invasive species and debris from the 2,500 acres of levees and riverbank along the Kings River, allowing efficient conveyance of flood water. Woody species cleared from the levee system will be chipped and applied as mulch, saving an estimated 1,610 tons of carbon emissions. Planting native species will provide flood protection to adjacent farmlands, help maintain river levees to protect farmland from inundation, and allow the efficient delivery of water to downstream users.
  • The Somis-based Ventura County RCD​ will receive $46,980 for its Enhancing Agricultural Resilience to Benefit Riparian and Wildlife Corridors project on a row crop and avocado farm.
    • The project includes planting two quarter-acres of hedgerows and purchasing and installing a well filter and more energy-efficient well pumping system. The project will enhance the ecological value and operational viability of the farm and enhance existing riparian/wildlife areas, providing climate and hydrological benefits. The hedgerows provide habitat for two endangered species: the least bells vireo and the southwestern willow flycatcher.

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 Digital Resources

Director Shabazian Announces Grants for Watershed Health (YouTube)