EPA awards $8.7 million in grants to restore San Francisco Bay’s tidal marsh and river habitats

EPA awards $8.7 million in grants to restore San Francisco Bay’s tidal marsh and river habitats

Agency issues detailed progress report on multi-year investment, environmental results

SAN FRANCISCO – March 17, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded over $8.7 million in federal grants to local and state organizations for projects to restore tidal marshes, river habitat, and improve water quality in and around San Francisco Bay.

“Protecting San Francisco Bay is a top priority for EPA,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The restoration of saltmarshes and streams benefits people and wildlife, while helping make the Bay more resilient in the face of drought and climate change.”

San Francisco Bay, a designated “estuary of national significance” under the Clean Water Act, is recognized around the world for its natural beauty and ecological significance. The Bay and its tributary streams provide vital fish and wild­life habitat within the Bay-Delta Estuary which drains nearly half of California’s watersheds via the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The Bay’s users and nearby residents are all affected by threats to the Bay’s ecological health from legacy pollutants like mercury and the challenges of drought and climate change.

Since 2008, EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund has provided over $40 million in competitive grants for nearly 60 projects that are restoring water quality and wetlands, reducing polluted runoff, and greening development in San Francisco Bay and its watersheds. These grantees and their partners represent a network of over 70 government agencies, resource conservation districts, land trusts, watershed groups, and non-profit organizations across the Bay Area’s nine counties. This network has leveraged EPA’s investment with an additional $149 million in additional funds from partner agencies and organizations, resulting in over $190 million invested in San Francisco Bay and its watersheds.

EPA’s 54-page progress report on these investments and environmental results over the last six years has just been released to the public: http://www2.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/san-francisco-bay-water-quality-improvement-fund-progress-report-2008-2014

Current San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund grants are supporting the following projects:

Sears Point Tidal Marsh Restoration
–$1.5 million to Sonoma Land Trust with partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited and San Francisco Bay Joint Venture.
–Restoring 960 acres of tidal wetlands by breaching a levee to connect tidal marsh habitat from the Sonoma Baylands to San Pablo Bay, providing habitat for protected species and creating levee slopes designed to ensure marsh habitat as sea level rises.

South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration
–$1 million to California Coastal Conservancy with partners USFWS, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR, Redwood City and Menlo Park.
–Restoring 290 acres of tidal marsh by breaching levees and improving 60 acres of open water pond habitat for migratory birds, creating self-sustaining tidal wetlands and a transitional zone to accommodate sea level rise.

Napa River Restoration
–$894,324 to Napa County with partners Napa County Resource Conservation District (RCD), California Land Stewardship Institute and private landowners.
–Restoring habitat within the Napa River’s Oakville to Oak Knoll reach by widening the channel, enhancing the floodplain, and reducing bank erosion to improve water quality and salmon habitat.

Upper York Creek Dam Removal and Restoration
–$987,876 to City of St. Helena with partners California Department of Water Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Napa County and Napa County RCD.
–Removing an earthen dam and fish passage barrier to open access to 1.5 miles of steelhead habitat and restoring a channel cross-section on Upper York Creek to reconnect the creek with the Napa River.

Urban Greening Bay Area
–$1,730,862 to San Francisco Estuary Partnership/Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) with partners San Francisco Estuary Institute, San Jose, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, Richmond and Oakland.
–Upgrading the “GreenPlan-IT” GIS tools to increase widespread implementation and tracking of green infrastructure in the Bay Area to improve water quality.

Suisun Marsh Water Quality Restoration
–$843,982 to San Francisco Estuary Partnership/ABAG with partners Suisun RCD and private landowners.
–Reducing dissolved oxygen water quality impairments using Best Management Practices in the most severely impacted areas of Suisun Marsh.

Watershed Education Through Trash Reduction
–$800,000 to City of Hayward with partners Hayward School District, East Bay Regional Park District, Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, Hayward Youth Commission, Keep Hayward Clean & Green Task Force and California State University East Bay.
–Installing two large trash capture devices in industrial areas of the city to prevent trash from reaching the Bay and developing a watershed stewardship curriculum for students to promote source reduction of trash as well as clean-ups.

Clean Streams in Southern Sonoma County
–$991,156 to Sonoma County with partners City of Sonoma, Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma County Parks, Sonoma County Water Agency and private landowners.
–Reducing sediment and pathogen pollution in Sonoma Creek and Petaluma River watersheds and tracking project progress on improving water quality in Sonoma Creek.

For more on EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund, visit:
http://www2.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/sf-bay-water-quality-improvement-fund

Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165,

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EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

EPA employs 17,000 people across the country, including our headquarters offices in Washington, DC, 10 regional offices, and more than a dozen labs. Our staff are highly educated and technically trained; more than half are engineers, scientists, and policy analysts. In addition, a large number of employees are legal, public affairs, financial, information management and computer specialists.

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