Funding Available to Hire Local Watershed Coordinators

We are excited to announce a funding opportunity that allows local entities to hire watershed coordinators.

What’s a Watershed Coordinator?

A watershed coordinator is a position the state funds for a local government or non-profit to work with local stakeholders and downstream beneficiaries.

The purpose of this role is to develop plans and projects to improve watershed health, and to achieve state and local natural resources goals.

Watershed Coordinator walks in observation amid native grass
Native grass restoration on terraces provides weed-resistant landscapes, diversifying terrestrial habitat, and improving watershed health.

Work relies upon local relationships and understanding. Coordinators will facilitate watershed-scale collaborations, promote integrated watershed management efforts, and support local implementation activities focusing on areas significantly impacted by SGMA (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) implementation.

This role is important because California’s watershed systems play a critical role in delivering vital water supplies throughout the state. 

Watersheds vary greatly in different geographic settings around the state, requiring regionally-tailored watershed management efforts.

Photo showing eucalyptus logs along Putah Creek which stabilize floodplain edge until native vegetation re-establishes
In the Putah Creek Watershed, eucalyptus logs are reused to stabilize floodplain edges until native vegetation re-establishes.

Key state policy goals that watershed coordinators help to ​achieve, at a local level, include:

  • Water Supply and Quality​​​​​
  • Outdoor Access
  • Forest Health and Fire Prevention
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Biodiversity and Species Recovery
  • Environmental Education
  • Climate Resiliency

Collaboration and Partnerships are Key

Community volunteer sits in a greenhouse transplanting seedlings into growing tubes
Community volunteer transplants seedlings into growing tubes.

A major goal of the program is to foster collaboration and build partnerships. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work cooperatively with other organizations to formulate comprehensive proposals.

“Watershed coordinator grants are a form of local assistance,” said Bruce Gwynne, who heads the Division of Land Resource Protection team in charge of administering the grant program.

Bruce Gwynne (right), watershed program lead, explains the work of DOC’s Division Land Resource Protection to 2018 climate conference attendee.

“The state provides financial support for a local position. The watershed coordinator can achieve local solutions through broad community engagement.

“It’s an effective way to make progress on statewide priorities through locally based implementation.”

 Applying for Watershed Coordinator Funding

The application period is open from June 15 – September 15, 2020.

In June, DOC announced the $1.5 million in funding for grants to fund watershed coordinator positions to develop, update, and implement watershed improvement plans. The maximum limit on the amount of each grant proposal is $300,000, but proposals may request less.

Find the solicitation 2020 Sustainable Grou​​ndwater Management Watershed Coordinator Program Grant​ (PDF) here.

Remember, the program emphasizes that collaboration between diverse entities at the regional scale is critical to efficiently meet the state’s goals and address variations in water management conditions throughout California.

Photos of man standing on a Eucalyptus log which holds edge of terrace at Yolo Housing
More eucalyptus logs used to hold edge of terrace at Yolo Housing.

Funding Source and Deadlines

This program is funded by the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002 (Proposition 50).

Critical Dates (proposed, subject to change) are as follows:

  • Solicitation released: June 15, 2020
  • Online public workshops: August 6 & 11, 2020
  • Applications due: September 15, 2020
  • Awards announced: November 15, 2020

The Department of Conservation will host two workshops to answer potential applicants’ questions about the SGMA Watershed Coordinator Program application. Both workshops are open to all interested applicants and will cover the same content. 

Application Assistance Workshops

Please email to register.

August 6, 2020
Time: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Microsoft Teams (please register for link)

August 11, 2020
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Microsoft Teams (please register for link)

Need more details? Contact the Department of Conservation Division of Land Resource Protection‘s Watershed Coordinator Grant Program Manager at or by calling (916) 324-0850.

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