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EPA awards three Bay Area wetlands projects totaling 469,980 State awarded additional $300,000 under pilot program
Release Date: 01/05/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248
(01/05/06) SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the Association of Bay Area Governments $379,335 and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission $90,645 for wetlands development projects. As part of a new wetlands development program pilot, the EPA also awarded the California Resources Agency $300,000.
The grants are part of over $1.5 million the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region awarded to nine organizations, tribes and local governments this year 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.”
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 funds, 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.
The EPA awarded $300,000 to the California Resources Agency as part of a new pilot program to determine environmental results from wetland programs and to meet the goals of protecting wetland acreage. The 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.
Wetland areas reduce flood risk, recharged water supplies and protect drinking water from pollution, but are 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.
For more information on the EPA’s Wetlands Program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands. 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 https://www.epa.gov/region09, the EPA Headquarters Web site at https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/grantguidelines, and the national grant website at http://www.fedgrants.gov.