Watershed projects on Pajaro River benefit from stimulus funding
WATSONVILLE, CA, March 5, 2010 -- Floodplain easements have been signed and restoration work will begin shortly on a $357,000 project for the Pajaro River Watershed, funded through the Recovery Act...
• Funding is split to cover two areas within the watershed totaling 29.8 acres
WATSONVILLE, CA, March 5, 2010 -- Today, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced floodplain easements have been signed and restoration work will begin shortly on a $357,000 project for the Pajaro River Watershed, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The funding is divided between two adjacent properties both of which will help to decrease the continual threat of flooding, restore floodplain function, revitalize fish and wildlife habitat, combat noxious weeds and improve water quality.
One year after the passage of ARRA, the Recovery Act is providing over $23 million for flood control and water quality work throughout California, through public and private partnerships and contracts. President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009 to help jumpstart the nation's economy.
"This conservation project is one of many in California designed to benefit the environment and boost local economic investment as part of ARRA," said Ed Burton, State Conservationist for NRCS in California. "This project will have a positive impact for years to come."
NRCS will complete this project in partnership with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.
The funding is dedicated to two easement projects on 29.8 acres adjacent to the Watsonville Slough. The two projects will result in frequently flooded farmland being taken out of production in order to provide a higher level of flood protection for adjacent cropland. The project also will provide a buffer between intensely farmed cropland and the adjacent Watsonville Slough.
These projects will have a residual financial benefit by providing employment funding for the planning, design and construction sectors of the local economy. The Pajaro Valley contains highly valuable productive cropland as well as unique and significant wetland and wildlife resources, and the project balances protection of all of these resources.
As part of its conservation work with private landowners, NRCS purchases permanent easements from willing landowners to enhance floodplain values, such as fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention, ground water recharge and open space.