Apr 19, 2017

New Grant Program Supports Wildlife Habitat Restoration

Santa Clara Valley Water District offers more than $950,000

wildlife habitats, restoration, trails, funding, grants, santa clara valley

As part of the voter-approved Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has opened a grant application process to award up to $971,000 in a series of grant and partnership opportunities and a new mini-grant pilot program.

To support and continue volunteer cleanup, education, outreach and watershed stewardship activities, such as National River Cleanup and Coastal Cleanup days, $200,000 is available. Another $571,000 is available for restoring wildlife habitat and providing access to trails and open space. Grant applications are due by 3 p.m.  Wednesday, May 3.

In an effort to streamline the grants program element of the Safe, Clean Water Program, the water district board of directors approved a mini-grant pilot program in March 2016. A total of $200,000 is available for grants of no more than $5,000 per awardee, to contribute to efforts related to wildlife habitat restoration and improved access to trails. Mini-grant funding will be available through June 30, 2018, or until funding is awarded

Priority objectives for the Fiscal Year 2017 funding cycle have been developed and approved by the water district board. For this cycle of grant funding, the district will work with awardees to achieve the following objectives under Safe, Clean Water Program Priorities D3 and B7

  • Reduce contaminants entering county waterways and groundwater (B7).
  • Engage community and support watershed stewardship activities (B7).
  • Provide access to trails and open space (D3).
  • Increase collaboration and partnerships for stewardship activities with cities, the county, non-profit organizations, schools and other stakeholders (D3).

Additionally, the mini-grant pilot program is designed to address the following benefits of Priority D3: 

  • Enhance creek and bay ecosystems.
  • Improve fish passage and habitat.
  • Increase community awareness and understanding of watershed stewardship.

Public, private and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Details on the application process are posted at www.valleywater.org/grants.aspx. For more questions regarding the 2017 grant cycle, email [email protected].

Two projects in wildlife restoration and volunteer and education programs have been completed since the start of the Safe, Clean Water Program grant’s component.  In November of 2016, West Valley College completed the reconstruction of a 740-ft-long channel segment on Vasona Creek to restore habitat, native vegetation and stabilize a highly eroding portion of the channel. Grassroots Ecology (formerly known as Acterra Stewardship) received a $68,600 grant to fund a community-based effort which provided a series of field trips, water quality workshops, volunteer events and several hands-on-watershed educational and stewardship activities to reduce, trash, pesticides and other toxic chemicals in our creeks. 

During the 15-year life of the Safe, Clean Water Program, the water district expects to distribute nearly $35 million in grants, partnerships, and rebate programs, to support the district’s mission to provide Silicon Valley safe, clean water for a healthy life, environment and economy. Each year, one or more grant programs will have a new funding cycle. In Fiscal Year 2016, the board awarded approximately $2.7 million in grants for water conservation programs and technologies, wildlife habitat restoration and pollution prevention programs.