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EPA Pacific Southwest region awards over $1.5 million to protect wetlands

Release Date: 01/25/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest region recently awarded over $1.5 million to nine organizations, tribes and local governments to protect wetlands in California, Arizona and Nevada.

“Wetlands are a crucial resource for California, where many of our wetlands have been lost to urban and agricultural development,” said Alexis Strauss, the EPA’s Water Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “We believe these investments will help protect and restore our remaining wetlands.”

Wetland areas reduce flood risk, recharged water supplies and protect drinking water from pollution, but vulnerable to environmental changes and the impacts of human activities. More than one third of the nation's threatened and endangered species depend on wetland habitats for survival.

The grant awards are as follows:

San Francisco Bay Area

The Association of Bay Area Governments Wetland Project Tracker will use $87,665, matched with $29,222 of its own funds, to expand a public, web-based information system to provide information on regional past and ongoing wetland restoration, creation and enhancement activities, and track progress and assessment on specific projects of bay land and watershed projects.

ABAG will also use a $291,670 grant, matched with $158,285 of its own funds, to fund a two-year project aimed at protecting and restoring vulnerable wetlands systems, including streams, connected and isolated wetlands, riparian areas, estuaries and floodplains within the northern and coastal areas of the state. The association will develop a regional policy that can be used as a template by other California regions to protect wetlands.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission will use the $90,645 award, plus $37,348 in matching funds, to update the San Francisco Bay managed wetlands plans for Suisun Bay and San Francisco Bay. The commission manages approximately 52,000 acres of wetlands that are internationally important and represent 10 percent of the remaining contiguous wetlands in California. The project will update the wetlands plan findings, policies and map designations, including managed wetland habitat values, managed wetlands locations, land management approaches, and restoration or management objectives for maintaining and restoring managed wetlands.

Northern California

Humboldt Bay Harbor will use the $131,686 grant, matched with $67,000 of its own funds, to develop a historical atlas of shoreline and channel changes, estuary conditions from 1850 to present, compile an inventory of existing wetland resources, evaluate the effectiveness of wetland restoration practices, and expand invasive species education and eradication efforts.

Western Shasta Resource Conservation District will use the $37,831 grant, matched with $12,610 of its own funds, to map changes in size, type and function of wetland habitats in the Lower Clear Creek Watershed, a tributary to the Sacramento River, over a 30-year time period. Aerial photography will be used to compile produce a wetland and riparian inventory showing current habitat, which will be used by the district’s restoration team and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory for resource management decisions.

Southern California

The Torres Martinez Tribe will use the $200,000 grant, matched with $66,666 in tribal funding, to monitor and assess the quantity and condition of tribal wetlands at the Salton Sea. The wetland resource assessment will provide a baseline for future monitoring and subsequent assessments of anticipated gains in acreage.


Santa Cruz County will use the $87,750 award, plus $51,500 of its own, to map vegetation along Santa Cruz River’s riparian corridor from the Mexican border to the Santa Cruz/Pima County line; prioritize areas for protective action based on riparian habitat quality assessments and value to floodplain functions; develop native plant lists draft ordinances to support repair and development guidance; recommend conservation tools and strategies to prioritize area protection under the county’s plan; and recommend to the County Board of Supervisors effective methods to ensure that vegetation maps and conservation tools remain in use and are updated as needed.

The Ak-Chin Indian Tribe will use the $50,000 grant, in addition to $16,667 of its own to: develop a wetlands inventory and assessment to identify terrain, flora, and fauna, and to identify areas for rehabilitation; map existing and potential wetland areas; define parameters for “no net loss” to the tribe’s established wetlands; and determine best management practices and develop a long term monitoring plan.


The Yerington Paiute Tribe will use the $52,500 grant, plus $17,500 in tribal matching funds, to assess agricultural and mining impacts on the tribe’s wetlands, and the potential for restoration. The tribe will hire a full-time wetland specialist to assess current risks associated with potential contaminants, and assess potential degradation and loss that may have affected the wetland. The tribe will also complete a habitat, vegetative and soil assessment, and implement a quarterly water-quality monitoring program.

As part of a new EPA pilot program designed to determine environmental results from state and tribal wetland programs and to meet the goals of protecting wetland acreage and protecting vulnerable waters, the EPA awarded Arizona’s Hualapai Tribe $265,186 and $300,000 to the California Resources Agency.

The Hualapai Tribe will use the funds, matched with $265,186 in tribal funds, to continue to monitor and protect 18 wetlands on the reservation; incorporate water quality and bio-monitoring data into long-term databases to track success of protection activities; use GPS and GIS technologies to document wetland expanse where wetlands have been protected from cattle and feral animals through fencing; and fence and monitor an additional three wetlands.

The California Resources Agency will use the funds, matched with $300,000 of state funds, to manage data and report on extent and condition of wetlands statewide. The initial effort will expand wetland regulatory and non-regulatory assessment and tracking capacity in the state's coastal regions and then expand availability of these tools throughout California.

For more information on the EPA’s Wetlands Program, visit: States, tribes, or local governments seeking funding for upcoming wetlands program grants can contact Cheryl McGovern at (415) 972-3415. A request for proposals will be released later this month and will be posted on the EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Web site at, the EPA Headquarters Web site at, and the national grant website at