Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

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

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Butte Creek House Meadow. Photo by Thad Walker, Butte County Resource Conservation District.

CDFW’s Cannabis Grant Program Announces Upcoming Funding Opportunities for 2021 and Beyond

irrigation piping being airlifted out of remote location
2018 Cannabis Grant Cleanup Effort in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced plans for upcoming funding opportunities for a variety of cannabis related projects statewide through the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program (CRGP).

CDFW has released a Draft Proposal Solicitation Notice for public review and comment. The draft solicitation includes funding opportunities in two priority categories statewide: (1) Cleanup and remediation of public lands impacted by illegal cannabis cultivation and (2) Watershed and/or community enhancements where either legal or illegal cannabis cultivation occurs.

CDFW will host an online workshop on March 24, 2021, at 11 a.m. to provide an overview of the draft solicitation, application requirements and to answer questions about this specific funding opportunity. See CDFW’s CRGP page for details about the workshop.

Additionally, CDFW is developing a new grant opportunity with a focus on assisting qualified cannabis growers. More details on this opportunity will be announced later this year.

“We are excited to engage with organizations of all sizes about their ideas and cannabis-related projects to benefit the environment,” said Jennifer Nguyen, CDFW’s Cannabis Environmental Program Manager. “We are interested to see how these financial resources will help the industry and are eager to listen and learn from our stakeholders.”

Grants through the CRGP are funded through California’s Environmental Restoration and Protection Account pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019(f)(2), and may be used to fund the cleanup, remediation, and restoration of environmental damage in watersheds affected by cannabis cultivation and related activities, and to support local partnerships for this purpose.

View this online presentation to learn more about CRGP and available funding opportunities.

For questions on CDFW’s CRGP, please email canngrantprogram@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 25, 2021 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.97 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 39 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $400,000 grant to Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for a cooperative project with the National Park Service and Marin County Parks to enhance historic monarch butterfly overwintering habitat and breeding sites at various sites within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Marin County Parks in Marin County.
  • A $120,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to refurbish a public access kiosk, educational signage and hunter access parking lot; and resurface an Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant trail to a viewing platform located on CDFW’s Los Banos and North Grasslands Wildlife Areas approximately five miles northeast of Los Banos in Merced County.
  • A $2 million grant to Truckee Donner Land Trust for a cooperative project with the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to acquire in fee approximately 25 acres of land to preserve riparian and wildlife corridors and habitat linkages, and to provide wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities in the town of Truckee in Nevada County.
  • A $4.24 million grant to Mariposa County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the National Parks Service, UC Berkeley, California Office of Emergency Services and Yosemite Conservancy to enhance forest health and reduce hazardous fuels through selective thinning activities on approximately 2,153 acres of mixed conifer forest in Yosemite National Park and the community of Yosemite West approximately five miles west of El Portal in Mariposa County.
  • A $5 million grant to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for a cooperative project with Caltrans to develop designs and environmental documentation for a wildlife undercrossing and regional trail overcrossing of Highway 17 six miles south of Los Gatos in Santa Clara County.
  • An $802,000 grant to the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency to restore habitat and alter transportation infrastructure to improve the ability of wildlife to safely cross SR-152 and to improve highway safety for drivers by minimizing vehicle collisions with wildlife near Pacheco Creek eight miles north of Hollister in Santa Clara County.
  • A $1.64 million grant to the City of Sacramento to acquire in fee approximately 29 acres for the protection of wildlife habitat and to increase public access adjacent to the American River near Sutter’s Landing within the city of Sacramento in Sacramento County.
  • A $4.75 million grant to Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with CNRA and the Ventura Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 29 acres of riparian and floodplain habitat along the Ventura River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Ventura in Ventura County.

For more information about the WCB please visit wcb.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Monarchs at Marin overwintering site. Photo by Stephan Meyer with the Xerces Society.

CDFW Approves Restoration Project for Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has certified the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a project to restore the largest coastal wetlands complex in Los Angeles County and increase public access to outdoor recreation and natural spaces in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER) project will enhance and establish native coastal wetlands and upland habitat on 566 of the reserve’s 577 acres south of Marina del Rey and east of Playa del Rey. It will restore ecological function to currently degraded wetlands, preserving sensitive habitat for future generations and build climate resilience on a coast vulnerable to sea level rise.

The project also advances the Newsom Administration’s Executive Order of October 7, 2020, focused on harnessing California’s vast network of natural and working lands to fight climate change and protect biodiversity. See a summary of the approved project. A more detailed project description is found in the final EIR.

CDFW is advancing the most restorative alternative in the final EIR – with a significant commitment to phasing the restoration work. This alternative offers the most restoration, which is important because of the huge degradation at BWER from a history of human impacts. The most restorative alternative also provides more climate resiliency buffer, because without this restoration sea level rise will overcome the remaining portions of BWER that have functioning wetlands and flood local roads more frequently, more severely and much sooner.

CDFW, in partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy and The Bay Foundation, has spent years working with the public and envisioning a plan for the revitalization of BWER, which once encompassed an approximately 2,000-acre expanse of marshes, mud flats, salt pans and sand dunes that stretched from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Today, the reserve’s 577 acres are all that remains of the former wetlands. The state acquired the reserve in 2003 with the use of $149 million in Proposition 50 funds.

The ecosystem at BWER is considered one of the last remaining opportunities for major coastal habitat restoration in Los Angeles County. Ecological components of the project include enhancing and restoring 200 acres of coastal wetlands, relocating existing levees to reconnect Ballona Creek to its historic floodplain, improving tidal circulation into the reserve, and restoring estuarine aquatic and upland habitats.

In addition to combating climate change and protecting biodiversity, the project will help achieve equity and access to natural spaces for all Angelenos, consistent with another Newsom Administration priority. It is estimated that well over 90 percent of wetlands in the region have been lost to development and human alteration. Once restored, BWER will be one of the largest natural open spaces available to the public in the City of Los Angeles, second only to Griffith Park. The project will now proceed toward final design. CDFW will work with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in securing a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completing a federal environmental review document, a process expected to take approximately two and a half years. In addition, approvals from the Coastal Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board and possibly other agencies are required, and the timing of those approvals depends on the permitting agency’s process. As CDFW continues through the next steps of these processes, CDFW’s vision for BWER will remain the same – a restored, healthy wetlands that provides greater sea level rise buffer and climate resiliency, with equity and access to natural open spaces for all Angelenos.

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Chinook Salmon

CDFW Awards $10.7 Million for Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 27 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds.

The grants, which total $10.7 million, were awarded through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). Established in 1981, FRGP has included funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund since 2000. The federal fund was established by Congress in 2000 to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

“The ongoing momentum to restore California’s habitat for these historic species hasn’t stopped as we face a global pandemic and devastating wildfires,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Awarding these projects highlights the resilience, passion and vision for salmon recovery by our state’s restoration community, for which we are grateful.”

In response to the 2020 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 80 proposals requesting more than $40.6 million in funding. As part of the competitive grant program, proposals underwent a rigorous technical review by CDFW and NOAA scientists.

The 27 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.

The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 216-7848
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714