The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest region recently awarded over $1.5 million to nine organizations, tribes and local governments to protect wetlands in California, Arizona and Nevada. Wetland areas reduce flood risk, recharged water supplies and protect drinking water from pollution, but vulnerable to environmental changes and the impacts of human activities. More than one third of the nation’s threatened and endangered species depend on wetland habitats for survival.
The grant awards are as follows. In the San Francisco Bay Area the Association of Bay Area Governments Wetland Project Tracker will use $87,665, matched with $29,222 of its own funds, to expand a public, web-based information system to provide information on regional past and ongoing wetland restoration, creation and enhancement activities, and track progress and assessment on specific projects of bay land and watershed projects.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission will use the $90,645 award, plus $37,348 in matching funds, to update the San Francisco Bay managed wetlands plans for Suisun Bay and San Francisco Bay. Humboldt Bay Harbor will use the $131,686 grant, matched with $67,000 of its own funds, to develop a historical atlas of shoreline and channel changes, estuary conditions from 1850 to present, compile an inventory of existing wetland resources, evaluate the effectiveness of wetland restoration practices, and expand invasive species education and eradication efforts. Western Shasta Resource Conservation District will use the $37,831 grant, matched with $12,610 of its own funds, to map changes in size, type and function of wetland habitats in the Lower Clear Creek Watershed, a tributary to the Sacramento River, over a 30-year time period. Aerial photography will be used to compile produce a wetland and riparian inventory showing current habitat, which will be used by the district’s restoration team and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory for resource management decisions. The Torres Martinez Tribe will use the $200,000 grant, matched with $66,666 in tribal funding, to monitor and assess the quantity and condition of tribal wetlands at the Salton Sea. Santa Cruz County will use the $87,750 award, plus $51,500 of its own, to map vegetation along Santa Cruz River’s riparian corridor from the Mexican border to the Santa Cruz/Pima County line; prioritize areas for protective action based on riparian habitat quality assessments and value to floodplain functions; develop native plant lists draft ordinances to support repair and development guidance; recommend conservation tools and strategies to prioritize area protection under the county’s plan; and recommend to the County Board of Supervisors effective methods to ensure that vegetation maps and conservation tools remain in use and are updated as needed.