Eligibility and Priorities California Watershed Protection Fund

To be eligible for a California Watershed Protection Fund grant, the project must be designed to benefit the water quality of the currently eligible watersheds and their ecosystems:

  • Southern California Bight with an emphasis on Los Angeles area and the Santa Ana River, especially in Riverside and San Bernardino counties
  • Monterey Bay including Pajaro River, Elkhorn Slough, and local Santa Cruz County watersheds
  • Humboldt Bay
  • Sacramento River
  • San Joaquin River
  • Projects located in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta
  • Russian River

Projects with substantial community participation and/or support are encouraged. The applicant must demonstrate the capacity to complete the proposed project, including experience in successfully conducting similar or otherwise related work in the past, and be a 501(c)(3) non-profit, or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) non-profit; or a governmental or tribal entity.

Applicants who received funding within the last 12 months are discouraged from applying this round.

California Watershed Protection Fund Grants are not recommended for very small organizations or first-time grant seekers.


Does my project have to be located in one of the eligible watersheds?

In most cases, the applicant organization does not need to have its physical address in the watershed. However, eligible projects must relate strongly to one or more of the eligible watersheds. If your project is broader in scope than an eligible watershed (for example: statewide policy advocacy), you must be able to demonstrate the specific benefits to one or more of the eligible watersheds.

Does my project have to focus exclusively on water quality?

No. Many factors affect water quality. For example, land development and transportation patterns significantly impact the volume and toxicity of storm water run off. Through aerial deposition, toxics released into the air may return to the ground and pollute watersheds. Sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management reduce pesticide use and correspondingly benefit water quality. Therefore, projects do not necessarily need to have an explicit water quality focus to be eligible.

Does my project have to include a strong water quality element?

Yes. A successful applicant will be able to clearly demonstrate the linkages between their project and water quality. For example, do your outreach materials include water quality as one of the elements the project is working on? If you are engaged in regulatory or legal advocacy, is water quality one of the issues you are raising? If your project relates to urban farming, can you quantify pesticide reductions, or reductions in stormwater flows or pollution stemming from your efforts?

Does my group have to be a 501(c)(3)?

Eligible projects must demonstrate 501(c)(3) status. Non 501(c)(3) projects may apply through fiscal sponsors. Governmental agencies and resource conservation districts are also eligible.


Tim Little, Executive Director
Email: tlittle[AT]rosefdn.org (please replace AT with @)

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