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U.S. EPA awards $140,000 for central California coastal wetlands assessment

Release Date: 1/31/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $140,000 to San Jose State University's Moss Landing Marine Laboratory to develop a wetlands assessment program.

    The project team will work closely with the California Coastal Commission and other partners in the Central Coast Wetland Working Group.  In turn, they will collaborate with other scientists from the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California to standardize and expand wetland restoration and monitoring along the central California coast.

     "The methods and information gathered from this project will build state capacity in assessing wetland areas in central California," said Alexis Strauss, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Water Division. "We are excited that this assessment tool will be used in efforts to protect and restore wetlands, as these vital areas provide habitat for many important species of plants and animals."

    The project will refine how two types of wetlands are assessed in the Morro Bay and Elkhorn Slough areas; work with regional partners to apply the assessment method; and use it for wetlands assessment in land use planning and monitoring. Funds will also be used to produce a training manual for the method.

     Wetland areas provide habitat for endangered wildlife and are valuable in cleaning the water that recharges groundwater supplies and reduces flood risks. Wetlands are also valuable ecosystems providing habitat for a wide variety of species and are an important part of the environment.  Native wetland areas are vulnerable to environmental changes and the impacts of human activities. The EPA is working with local and state governments, and communities, to protect wetland areas.

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