SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Oct. 17, 2012 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $6.5 million in grants to state and local agencies and non-profit organizations to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed. Grants range from $75,000 to $1.5 million and will support ten projects that prevent pollution, restore streams and tidal marshes, and manage floodwaters in an environmentally sound manner.
"This investment by the EPA in important water quality improvement projects will help restore San Francisco Bay, which is so vital to the environment and economy not only of the Bay Area but the entire state of California," said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). "I applaud the EPA and its local partners for their ongoing commitment to making the Bay clean, healthy, safe and productive for generations to come."
"San Francisco Bay is a magnificent treasure that supports more than 500 species of wildlife, including 128 threatened or endangered species, and the economies of Bay shoreline communities," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "It is critical to safeguard this productive natural resource, and these projects with our state and local partners will make great strides to achieve that goal."
The projects are funded under EPA's San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund that has invested over $28 million in 48 projects across the Bay region since 2008. Since the Fund's inception, EPA's investments have been matched with another $100 million from 69 partner agencies and organizations.
The project summaries, partner agencies/organizations and funding amounts are:
-Restore Wetlands at Creek Mouths ($1.55 million, in partnership with San Francisco Estuary Partnership and the Association of Bay Area Governments): Redesign flood control channels to restore wetland habitat, water quality, and shoreline resilience at three creek mouths: San Francisquito, Lower Novato, and Lower Walnut Creeks.
-Restore over 100 acres of tidal marsh and re-use 70,000 cubic yards of clean sediment from dredging projects.
-Continue to reduce Sediment Loads into the Napa River ($1.5 million, in partnership with Napa County Flood Control District): Complete instream restoration of the Rutherford Reach and begin restoration of the Oakville Reach to reduce sediment loads into Napa River.
-Restore Quartermaster Reach -- Presidio ($1 million, in partnership with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy): Restore 1,050 feet of creek channel, 3.3 acres of dune-coastal scrub upland, and 4.7 acres of previously buried tidal marsh adjacent to the Crissy Field wetlands.
-Site Preparation of Sears Point Tidal Marsh Restoration ($941,000, in partnership with Sonoma Land Trust): Prepare for restoration of 960 acres of tidal marsh in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge through removal of contaminated soil, construction of a 2.5 mile levee to manage floods, and contouring the site to accelerate sediment accumulation.
-Conduct South Bay Salt Ponds Mercury Studies ($500,000, in partnership with California State Coastal Conservancy): Conduct methylmercury studies within the 15,000-acre South Bay Salt Pond complex to support tidal wetlands restoration of ponds.
-Reduction in Packaging at Fast Food Establishments ($257,000, in partnership with Clean Water Fund): Develop source reduction programs for takeout food containers, the largest documented contributor of trash in urban waterways that flows into SF Bay, and, with partner cities, conduct outreach at fast food establishments.
-Reduction in Household Use of Toxic Pesticides ($250,000, in partnership with San Francisco Estuary Partnership and the Association of Bay Area Governments): Use social media and direct outreach to consumers and retailers to promote less-toxic pesticides and pesticide free practices. Project aims to reduce Bay Area household use of less-toxic pesticides and pesticide free practices by 5 percent.
-Improve Water Quality and Wetlands at Sonoma Creek Marsh ($235,000, in partnership with Audubon California): Enhance 300 acres of tidal marsh within Sonoma Creek marsh by excavating a new channel. Dredged channel material will be used to create wildlife habitat and improved tidal exchange will reduce the need for pesticides used to control mosquitoes.
-Restore Alameda Creek ($181,000, in partnership with Alameda County Resource Conservation District): Establish stream buffers, restore stream channels and riparian corridors, improve grazing practices, and upgrade rural roads in three sub-watersheds of Alameda Creek.
-Improve Fish Passage on San Francisquito Creek ($75,000, in partnership with San Mateo Resource Conservation District): Remove Bonde Weir and redesign the creek channel to re-open access to 40 miles of upstream spawning habitat for steelhead.
The EPA's grants coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Charged by Congress in 1972 to make the nation's waters "fishable and swimmable," EPA has made great progress toward meeting that goal. However, complex problems, such as those associated with the San Francisco Bay, still require long-term investment, restoration, and monitoring.
For detailed information on these grants, visit: http://www.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/sfbaywqfund/.