The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $33.5 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 30 stream flow enhancement projects were approved for funding at its April 22 meeting. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change.
Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.
Funded projects include:
- A $441,273 grant to Round Valley Indian Tribes for a project to develop stream flow recommendations for tributaries to the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Eel River in Mendocino County to be implemented in future project phases on the Round Valley Indian Tribes’ tribal lands to support direct, long-term increases and protection of instream flow enhancements through policy and regulations that can be put in place and enforced by the Tribal Council, under their existing sovereign authority.
- A $196,071 grant to Butte County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to promote enhanced stream flow and resilient forests through forest health treatments while simultaneously restoring meadow systems to enhance landscape function and ecological flows in Butte Creek House Meadow in the CDFW Butte Creek Ecological Reserve in Butte County.
- A $551,255 grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with Trout Unlimited to create an online decision support tool to evaluate water supply and demand for coastal streams within Marin, Sonoma, and portions of Napa, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. This online tool will provide water availability analysis information necessary to develop and permit flow enhancement projects and serve as an important decision support tool when evaluating water availability for projects designed to benefit instream flows for fish and wildlife.
- An $892,051 grant to the City of San Diego for a restoration planning project to restore ecosystem function to the lower Otay River and associated habitats in San Diego County, laying the groundwork for future ecological restoration in the lower Otay River that will enhance stream flows and water quality as well as wetland habitat for wildlife, including some sensitive species.
- A $1,743,458 grant to Truckee River Watershed Council for an implementation project designed to restore hydrologic function to approximately 100 acres of meadow habitat at Upper Lacey Meadow approximately two miles upstream from Webber Lake within Sierra and Nevada counties, benefiting stream flow, supporting resilience to climate change and improving habitat for numerous wildlife species.
- A $1,985,000 grant to Yuba Water Agency for a cooperative project with Teichert Aggregates and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore and enhance ecosystem processes with a primary objective of rehabilitating productive juvenile salmonid rearing habitat to increase natural production of fall-run and spring-run Chinook salmon and California Central Valley steelhead trout in the lower Yuba River in Yuba County.
- A $2,203,000 grant to Marin Open Space Trust for a cooperative project with the California Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement over 135 acres of the former San Geronimo golf course in West Marin County within the Lagunitas Creek Watershed and the permanent dedication of 20 acre-feet per year as instream flow to Larsen Creek to support special-status salmonids and provide a publicly accessible natural open space.
- A $2,636,208 grant to San Mateo Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with California State Parks to create a reliable, drought resilient water supply for Butano State Park in San Mateo County, restoring and protecting stream flow in Little Butano Creek for federally threatened steelhead trout and federally endangered coho salmon and creating a sustainably managed water system that is built to withstand the long-term effects of climate change.
For more information about the WCB please visit wcb.ca.gov.
Butte Creek House Meadow. Photo by Thad Walker, Butte County Resource Conservation District.