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U.S. EPA awards $200,000 to Los Angeles non-profit for wetlands protection

Release Date: 5/3/2004
Contact Information: EPA -- Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227, So Cal Coastal Water Research Project - Dr. A. Elizabeth Fetscher, 714/372-9237,

Money will be used to assess the health of southern California wetlands

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $200,000 grant to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project to assess the health of wetlands in southern California.

SCCWRP will use the money, plus $70,000 of its own, to work with local, state and federal organizations to assess the condition of wetlands in the southern California by taking field measurements and evaluating existing data. Testing is underway at approximately 57 sites in five counties on the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego -- specific sites are noted below.

The information will be used to identify indicators, such as vegetation, hydrology and landscape conditions, that can be used to measure the health of wetlands statewide.

"Wetlands are a crucial resource for our nation, especially in California, where many of our wetlands have been lost to urban and agricultural development," said Alexis Strauss, director of EPA's water division for the Pacific Southwest region.

"In California, wetlands loss and degradation resulting from urbanization is being counteracted to some degree by a tremendous public investment in wetland conservation, restoration and management," said Dr. Martha Sutula, senior scientist at SCCWRP. "This project will contribute to a statewide effort to develop diagnostic tools and data needed to implement affordable monitoring of California's wetland resources."

More than 90 percent of the wetlands in California have been converted to urban, agricultural and other uses. Numerous groups statewide, including public agencies and environmental nonprofits, are working to restore thousands of acres of wetlands in California.

More than one third of the nation's threatened and endangered species need wetlands for survival. Wetlands reduce flood risks, recharge water supplies and protect drinking water from pollution.

The EPA also awarded $250,000 to the Association of Bay Area Governments to assess wetlands in northern California.

Specific wetland sites -

  • Los Angeles County

Madrona Marsh (Torrance)

Ballona Wetlands estuary (Playa del Rey)

Topanga Lagoon

  • Santa Barbara County

Carpenteria Creek

Cold Springs Creek (Montecito)

Del Sol Vernal Pool Reserve (City of Isla Vista)

UCSB Campus Lagoon

  • Orange County

Upper Newport Bay

Seal Beach

Chiquita Canyon

  • San Diego County

Guajome Lake (Oceanside)

Santa Margarita River (Fallbrook)

San Elijo Lagoon (Encinitas)

Tijuana Estuary (Imperial Beach)