Department of Conservation Announces New Grants for Watershed Health

Department of Conservation’s Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) awarded $2 million in grants for watershed restoration and agricultural land conservation projects. Each grant went to local Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) in Marin, Sonoma, Kings, and Ventura counties. 

“These grants not only support important local projects, but also advance some of Governor Newsom’s key objectives: conserving working lands and helping California reach its environmental, climate change, and sustainability goals,” DOC Director David Shabazian said.

What are RCDs?  

Resource Conservation Districts, or RCDs, are locally governed special districts that implement conservation projects on public and private lands. RCDs link federal, state, and local environmental programs and help with DOC’s conservation goals.

“RCDs get many valuable things accomplished in their communities – water and agricultural land conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement, and recreational land restoration, among others,” said Keali’i Bright, who heads DLRP. 

DOC specifically helps these districts promote sustainability of our state’s natural resource heritage. DOC will have approximately $6.5 million available for additional grants in the Spring 2021.

Funded Projects 

Sonoma RCD: Sonoma Mountain Stormwater Management and Rainwater Storage Project

The Santa Rosa-based RCD was awarded $409,275 to install 200,000 gallon capacity storage tanks on a horse ranch near Washington Creek – a tributary of the Petaluma River. These tanks will then collect runoff from barns and other ranch infrastructure.

In addition to reducing groundwater pumping, the project will promote native plants, decrease erosion into the Petaluma River, and lessen the impacts of climate change by addressing drought and runoff risks.  

Marin RCD: Stemple Watershed Riparian Restoration

Healthy willows and other riparian plants along Stemple Creek. 

Based in Point Reyes Station, this RCD and its co-applicant Point Blue Conservation Science were awarded $429,011 to restore the watershed along Stemple Creek at Lazy R Ranch. The goal of the project is to protect the habitats along the creek, reduce erosion, and sequester carbon.  

Tulare RCD: Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project

Photo courtesy of Kings RCD

The Corcoran-based RCD and co-applicatant Kings Conservation District were awarded $1,165,644 to remove invasive species and debris from the 2,500 acres of levees and riverbanks along the Kings River, allowing for flood water to flow more efficiently downstream. 

In addition, the project will plant native species which will provide flood protection to adjacent farmlands and help maintain river levees.

Ventura County Resource Conservation District: Enhancing Agricultural Resilience to Benefit Riparian and Wildlife Corridors Project

Watershed landscape at sunset.

The Somis-based RCD will receive $46,980 to install hedgerows and a new well system on an avocado farm to enhance its ecological value and operational viability, benefiting local wildlife.

The hedgerows installed will provide habitats for two endangered species: the Least Bells Vireo and the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher.  

Read more in the news release at conservation.ca.gov.

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