Jun 23, 2016

U.S. EPA Awards $525,000 to Northern Calif. Watersheds

First grants awarded under EPA's Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program

Northern California, watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that three projects will receive a combined $525,000 to improve land management of thousands of acres of healthy watersheds in Northern Calif. Awarded in partnership with the non-profit U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, these funds are part of $1.4 million in grants for nine projects across seven states.

“This unique public-private partnership brings together businesses, tribes, local governments, universities and not-for-profit organizations to collaborate on watershed protection,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These projects will help protect and enhance California’s waterways, which is especially crucial as the state’s drought continues.”

“These grants will accelerate protection and improved management of watersheds across the United States,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s president and CEO. 

The three Calif. projects are: 

Healthy Watersheds Calif. – $225,000 is awarded to the Pacific Forest Trust, based in San Francisco, for the restoration and conservation of an estimated 7 million acres of watersheds by leveraging private and public capital. Located in Shasta, Siskiyou, Butte, Plumas, Sierra, Lassen, Modoc and Trinity counties, these watersheds supply 80% of Calif.'s reservoir capacity.

Protecting Forests to Protect Watersheds – $200,000 is awarded to the Trust for Public Land and the Save the Redwoods League, both based in San Francisco. These organizations are working collaboratively to conserve thousands of acres of redwood forestland in Northern Calif.

Protecting Blue Creek and the Klamath River for Salmon, Wildlife and People –$100,000 is awarded to the Western Rivers Conservancy, based in Portland, Ore., to implement long-term watershed protection plans, sell carbon offsets and create new jobs within a rural economy. The group’s work will protect 47,000 acres within four watersheds in Northern Calif.'s temperate rainforest.  

EPA launched the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program in 2015 to accelerate and expand the protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. EPA co-funds the program with the Endowment, which manages the partnership.

Grants were awarded to leverage financing for targeted watershed protection; to provide funds that help build the capacity of local organizations for sustainable, long-term watershed protection; or to support new techniques or approaches that advance the state of practice for watershed protection and that can be replicated across the country. 

For more information on the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program and grantees, visit www.epa.gov/hwp or www.usendowment.org/healthywatersheds.html.

For more information on watersheds, visit www.epa.gov/hwp/healthy-watersheds-overview.