The Department of Conservation’s Statewide Watershed Program is seeking proposals for $9 million in watershed coordinator grants. Funded through the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Act of 2006 (Proposition 84), the grants will support coordination for watershed management and local watershed improvements throughout the state for a three-year period.
“These grants offer special districts, non-profit organizations, and local governments a unique opportunity to facilitate collaborative efforts to improve and sustain the health of California’s watersheds by supporting watershed coordinator positions,” said Brian Leahy, head of DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “We’ve seen improvement in areas such as water quality monitoring, ecosystem restoration, noxious weed removal, mercury reduction, erosion mitigation plans, public outreach, fuel break installations, native plant revegetation, pollution reduction, and creek clean-ups.”
Local public agencies and non-profit organizations that previously have not been awarded watershed coordinator grants are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must submit an electronic application using State Water Resources Control Board Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) system by October 12. A link to the FAAST system, as well as more information about the grants and upcoming workshops and webinars, can be found at here.
Generally, watershed coordinators help assess local watersheds — the area drained by a river or river system — and help bring together local government, landowners and community groups through outreach, education and partnerships in order to improve the health of the watersheds. Over the past 10 years the watershed coordinators have brought in over $50 million in additional funding for watershed improvement projects statewide through grant writing and fund raising projects. As a result, this program also benefits the state by bringing in much more funding than it costs.
“When you think about it, we all live in a watershed,” said DOC Acting Director Derek Chernow. “The cleaner and healthier each one is, the better off we all are.”