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EPA Honors Five Northern California Water Agencies Today in National Ceremony
Release Date: 4/1/2003
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/947-4306
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored five northern California water agencies in Washington DC today for their efforts to protect watersheds beyond federal Clean Water Act requirements.
The EPA selected five northern California winners from over 200 nominations sent in from around the country: East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Contra Costa Water District, Marin Municipal Water District, the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Also honored was the Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program, made up of Del Norte County, Humboldt County Department of Public Works, Mendocino Water Agency and Siskiyou County Public Works.
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and Assistant Administrator for Water G. Tracy Mehan III presented the northern California winners along with 74 other water pollution control agencies from across the country this morning with the Clean Water Partners for the 21st Century Award. Agencies were selected based on actions such as protecting and restoring rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands and initiating innovative local pollution prevention programs.
"The Year of Clean Water provides us with a tremendous opportunity to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and leadership of local agencies from across the country," said Whitman. "These award winners have set a strong example for future clean water efforts, and we look forward to working with our partners toward our shared goals to reduce water pollution and ensure cleaner, purer water for all Americans."
The Contra Costa Water District, Concord, began the $450,000,000 Los Vaqueros Reservoir resource management program in 1998. The goals of the program are to protect water quality, supply availability, environmental and cultural resources; offer recreation and public access in a cost-effective, environmentally responsible and safe manner; promote education, interpretive research; conserve nation; and meet land use obligations.
East Bay Municipal Utility District, Oakland, has a long history of protecting its receiving waters. EBMUD's resource protection initiatives include a wide range of efforts, including: recycled and water conservation programs; pollution prevention programs; participating in the biosolids environmental management system; and the development of innovative water quality measurement tools.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose, is a steward of the local watershed and the driving force behind healthy, safe and enhanced water resources. The district has developed a variety of initiatives, including: a program to enhance, protect and restore streams, riparian corridors and natural resource; and implementation of a parcel tax to support the Clean Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Program, which provides for a 15-year plan for comprehensive flood protection and stream stewardship.
Marin Municipal Water District, Corte Madera, developed and implemented the Mt. Tamalpais Area Vegetation Plan, which is a successful model for other water agencies whose watersheds intermingle with fire-prone communities. The Mt. Tamalpais plan is an integrated approach providing a plan for water agencies to safeguard water quality, protect natural resources and reduce fire hazards in neighboring communities.
The Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program, Weaverville, was formed in response to the listing of the Coho salmon as endangered in the local area. The conservation program has developed and begun to implement land use conservation standards to improve overall water quality and watershed health to assist in the restoration of anadromous salmonid habitat in Northern California.
Applications for the Clean Water Partners Awards were announced in the Federal Register in April 2002. Each applicant completed a compliance screen and demonstrated a good compliance record. Applications were reviewed by a panel including EPA, the Water Environment Federation, Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the National League of Cities. For more information, log on to EPA's Office of Water Web site, www.epa.gov/OW.