Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

At a March 22 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.1 million in grants for 22 projects to enhance stream flows to benefit fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The Legislature appropriated funding for these projects as authorized by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). A total of $200 million was allocated to the WCB for projects that enhance stream flow.

A total of $38.4 million—including $5 million designated for scoping and scientific projects—was allocated to the WCB for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2017/18 for the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program. Projects were chosen through a competitive grant process, judged by the WCB, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board. Guided by the California Water Action Plan, funding is focused on projects that will lead to direct and measurable enhancements to the amount, timing and/or quality of water for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funded projects include:

  • A $4.8 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a project to enhance stream flow on Russ Creek by reestablishing channel alignment to provide continuous summer base flows suitable for fish passage. The project is located on the southern portion of the Eel River Estuary Preserve in Humboldt County, approximately four miles west of Ferndale.
  • A $693,408 grant to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District for the purpose of dedicating a portion of the District’s diversion water rights to instream flow use that will benefit fish and wildlife by increasing habitat for salmonids and special status species in the Mad River. The project is located on the main-stem Mad River in the Mad River Watershed with releases coming from Matthews Dam at Ruth Reservoir, approximately 48 miles southeast of Eureka and 53 miles southwest of Redding.
  • A $726,374 grant to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce summer diversions and improve dry season stream flows for the benefit of Coho salmon and steelhead trout. The Navarro River watershed is located approximately 20 miles south of Fort Bragg.
  • A $5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the Department of Water Resources and CDFW, to improve roughly 7,500 linear feet of existing channels to connect isolated ponds. This will provide fish refuge and eliminate potential stranding. This project’s design was funded by the Stream Flow Enhancement Program in 2016. The project site is within the Sacramento River watershed and is less than one mile southwest of the town of Oroville, on the east side of the Feather River.
  • $609,970 grant to the University of California Regents for a cooperative project with the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute, to expand monitoring, scientific studies and modeling in the Tahoe-Truckee Basin. The results will guide watershed-scale forest thinning strategies that enhance stream flow within an area that provides critical habitat for threatened species. The project is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range, primarily on National Forest lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Tahoe National Forest.
  • A $851,806 grant to the Sonoma Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the Coast Ridge Community Forest and 29 landowners, to install rainwater harvesting tanks and enter into agreements to refrain from diverting stream flow during dry seasons. The project area consists of 29 properties within the coastal Gualala River, Russian Gulch and Austin Creek watersheds, which discharge to the Pacific Ocean approximately 40 miles northwest of Santa Rosa.
  • A $5.3 million grant to the Alameda County Water District for a cooperative project with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, California Natural Resources Agency, State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify flow releases in Alameda Creek and construct two concrete fish ladders around existing fish passage barriers. This will provide salmonids access to high value habitat upstream of the project location, approximately 17 miles north of San Jose and 22 miles southeast of Oakland.
  • A $3.9 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with U.C. Santa Barbara and the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy to remove approximately 250 acres of the invasive giant reed (Arundo donax), which will save approximately 2,000 acre-feet of water annually for the Santa Clara River. The project is located in unincorporated Ventura County approximately two miles east of the city of Santa Paula and three miles west of the city of Fillmore, along the Santa Clara River.

Details about the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program are available on the WCB website.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

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At its Feb. 23 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved $17.9 million in grants funding to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 13 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife species, including some endangered species, and others will provide public access opportunities 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, the landowner and the local community. The funds for all of these projects come from recent bond initiatives approved by the voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $263,000 grant to Watsonville Wetlands Watch for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, the City of Watsonville and the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District to restore approximately six acres of riparian habitat located along Struve Slough, West Struve Slough and Hanson Slough in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $2.4 million grant to the Pit Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DFG to restore approximately 1,500 acres, protecting approximately 1,085 intact wetlands from increased head-cutting, and integrating the water delivery system to meet downstream water rights and management of seasonal wetlands on DFG’s Ash Creek Wildlife Area in Lassen and Modoc counties.
  • A $1.2 million grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 1,622 acres of diverse native forests and riparian areas which include Port Orford cedar and Douglas fir habitat corridor linkages within the Willow Creek watershed, a salmonid stream and tributary to the Trinity River, in Humboldt County.
  • A $5.5 million grant to the River Partners for a cooperative project with the California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Water Resources, U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Public Utility Commission and Tuolumne River Preservation Trust to acquire in fee approximately 1,603 acres of valley floodplain and riverine habitat for the protection of habitat for special status species including Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and riparian brush rabbits, and to provide future wildlife-oriented public use and recreational opportunities in Stanislaus County.

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