2014 Approved Project List Central Valley Water Quality Community Grants Program

Fresno Office Region Projects

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Project Title: Partnership between Allensworth, Alpaugh and Angiola

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Allensworth and Alpaugh, Tulare County)
Grant Request: $115,501
Theme: Public Awareness/Well Rehabilitation or Replacement
Tulare County has received grant funding through the Strategic Growth Council to address arsenic contamination in drinking water by combining the resources of the towns of Allensworth and Alpaugh with clean water from a nearby irrigation district, Angiola Water District. The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment would provide significant leverage for that grant by outreaching to residents in Alpaugh and Allensworth to ensure community participation in the feasibility study. Alpaugh and Allensworth are unincorporated communities in South Tulare County; according to the 2010 US Census, the population of both communities is overwhelmingly disadvantaged people of color (Allensworth id 92.6 % Latino and Alpaugh is 84.5% Latino, and 48.3% of Allensworth residents live below the poverty line).

Central California Environmental Justice Network
(Fiscal Sponsor: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs)
Project Title: Advancing Community Engagement to Monitor, Report Hazards, and Preserve the Water Quality of Fresno and Kern Counties

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Arvin, Lamont, and Lanare, Fresno and Kern Counties)
Grant Request: $20,000
Theme: Public Awareness
Supports the engagement of residents in actively monitoring and reporting hazards that will ultimately lead to the prevention of water contamination. CCEJN will embark on a resident education campaign with the goal of reaching over 200 residents and the residents will learn to identify water contamination hazards, and methods to report to FERN (Fresno Environmental Enforcement Network) and KEEN (Kern Environmental Enforcement Network) respectively. CCEJN will also establish 3 “Water Watchers” groups in the communities of Arvin, Lamont, and Lanare. These groups will be instrumental in keeping continuous logs on water quality issues in their communities. All of the logs as well as the reports will be addressed or investigated by our FERN & KEEN taskforces, which both include representatives from the RWQCB. According to the 2010 Census and CalEnviroScreen, residents of Arvin, Lamont and Lanare are overwhelmingly immigrant, low to very-low income, and are in the top 20% of environmental justice “red zone” communities in California.

Clean Water Fund
Project Title: Developing a Permanent Well Rehabilitation and Replacement Fund for Disadvantaged Communities

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin
Grant Request: $47,000
Theme: Well Rehabilitation & Replacement
The purpose of this project is to develop an organizational framework as well as potential funding sources for a permanent well rehabilitation and replacement program for communities not served by a public water system. Clean Water Fund (CWF) proposes to convene a technical advisory committee to develop a permanent program. The project will consist of:

  • Investigation of potential program models;
  • Convening and facilitation of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to guide investigations and make recommendations on program elements. The TAC will consist of representatives of funding entities, service providers, regulators and impacted communities;
  • Compiling and vetting recommendations for distribution to a broader group of experts for peer review and comment;
  • Development of final reports consisting of research conducted, TAC Recommendations, final program recommendation, and next steps for establishing the program.

Community Water Center
Project Title: Clean Water for Disadvantaged Communities

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin, Eastside San Joaquin Valley
Grant Request: $45,870 – $689,484
Theme: Water Quality Monitoring, Public Awareness, Watershed Assessment
The Community Water Center will further efforts to ensure clean sources of drinking water for disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Lake Basin. CWC will accomplish this through three main strategies: 1) Water Quality Monitoring in Disadvantaged Communities; 2) Community Outreach and Education in Disadvantaged Communities; and 3) Supporting Community Participation in Watershed Planning. Water quality monitoring will help develop a better understanding of local groundwater quality and identify impacts on beneficial uses, particularly for disadvantaged community drinking water supplies. According to the California Department of Public Health, 55% of communities with chronic contamination of drinking water wells are located in the San Joaquin Valley. The demographics of the communities targeted by CWC are 90% Latino and the median annual income is less than 60% of the statewide average. Education and engagement of disadvantaged communities will enable proactive action to prevent and mitigate contamination of groundwater used as a source of drinking water. Community participation in IRWMPs and groundwater quality management plans will ensure that water quality needs of disadvantaged communities will be addressed and sources of community drinking water supplies will be protected and improved. The primary groundwater contaminants impacting drinking water sources of disadvantaged communities in these regions include: Arsenic, Nitrate, Perchlorate, Uranium, 1,2-Dibromo-3‐chloropropane (DBCP), 123 Trichloropropane (123 TCP), and bacteria.

El Quinto Sol de America
(Fiscal Sponsor: Pesticide Action Network North America)
Project Title: Water and The Right to Know

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Tooleville, Tonyville, Plainview and El Rancho)
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Public Awareness, Well Rehabilitation or Replacement
The Water and The Right To Know program will serve as an educational program, giving the four communities of Tooleville, Tonyville, Plainview and El Rancho the individualized tools that each community needs in order to have a deep understanding of the water quality issues they face and to restructure their current water boards in an effort to have community members engaged in their own water systems. The majority of residents in these communities are low-income farmworkers, predominantly monolingual Spanish speakers. Many different toxins, such as nitrates, arsenic, pesticides in the groundwater, and lead from old piping, pollute these communities’ water quality and water systems. Not only would The Water and The Right To Know program provide information to residents, it will strengthen the bridge between decision makers, agencies and community, and prepare them to make needed decisions around issues including well rehabilitation or replacement.

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
(Fiscal Sponsor: The Tides Center)
Project Title: El Agua es Vida

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin
Grant Request: $45,000 – $145,000
Theme: Pollution Prevention
This project will include two components: (1) a septic to sewer conversion project, and (2) a sustainable land use, reliable drinking water project. Our septic to sewer campaign will eliminate failing septic systems by advocating for and facilitating projects that connect disadvantaged communities to public wastewater systems. Our project will start in the communities of Lanare and Matheny Tract where residents complain of failing septic systems and related impacts on drinking water quality, such as bacterial contamination. Residents of both of these communities are majority Latino, and have African American populations as well. We will partner with community based organizations, local government and other stakeholders to develop and implement community driven septic to sewer conversion projects; these projects will be targeted towards residents in communities with median household incomes at or below 60% of the state median household income. Our Sustainable Land Use, Reliable Drinking Water project will incorporate advocacy to improve water reliability and water quality for disadvantaged communities into advocacy campaigns related to sustainable land use development – e.g. advocacy campaigns related to SB 375 implementation and general plans. We will partner with community based organizations and a diverse coalition of land use advocates initially in Fresno and ultimately in other counties. Water quality contaminants to be addressed include arsenic, nitrate, 123 Trichloropropane, perchlorate, DBCP, hexavalent chromium or any other contaminant present in groundwater.

(Fiscal Sponsor: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs)
Project Title: Rio Limpio

Watershed: Tule River Watershed
Grant Request: $15,000
Theme: Riparian Restoration, Public Awareness
WildPlaces is a grassroots, community-based non-profit which organizes single and multi-day educational outings and service opportunities for underserved youth from Tulare and Kern Counties. The majority of youth in WildPlaces programs come from Latino agricultural workers’ families and low-income residents of Fresno, Bakersfield, Visalia and other smaller communities. We hold community-based environmental education, restoration and clean up events that restore the Tule River and Kern River watersheds, as well as surrounding ranchlands and wilderness areas. Our partnership with the U.S Forest Service allows us unique restoration access in Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. This grant would support Rio Limpio, WildPlaces’ river stewardship program which was formed in collaboration with the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument and several other partner organizations. This program involves education, public outreach, and engaging youth volunteers in three to four annual river clean-ups and education events conducted on the Tule River. As part of the Rio Limpio program, WildPlaces also engages student groups from several area schools in hands-on restoration and improvement projects. Students and teachers work with natural resource professionals to implement watershed and wildlife habitat improvement projects on both public and private lands. Through their participation in our programs, we hope youth will gain an understanding that our public lands are safe, accessible and fun places to recreate throughout one’s entire life. We also strive to instill in them a sense that they are stakeholders and are capable of having a positive impact on their public lands and communities.

Sacramento Office Region Projects

California Indian Environmental Alliance
Project Title: Exposure Reduction through Subsistence Fishing Program

Watershed: Clearlake, Cache Creek, and Sacramento Valley Watershed
Grant Request: $106,535
Theme: Pollution Prevention/Public Awareness
This project will address the levels of mercury and PCBs found in Clearlake, Cache Creek and the Sacramento Watershed Valley for the purpose of reducing the exposure of California Indian families from mercury and PCBs by identifying and securing safer fishing locations, and working cooperatively with agencies, landowners and California Indian Tribes to design remediation plans and identify funding to initiate cleanup. Cache Creek feeds into Prospect Slough, which accounts for approximately 70 kilograms per year, or 58% of the total mercury import from the Sacramento River into the San Francisco Bay. The grant will support a partnership between the California Indian Environmental Alliance, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo, the Habemotolel of Upper Lake Pomo and a Governance Body of California Indian Tribes from the Clearlake, Cache Creek and Sacramento Valley Watershed to identify and inform California Indian Tribes and communities about: 1) safer fishing locations; 2) cleanup and remediation opportunities and funding; and 3) protecting these Safer Fishing Locations in future Basin Plan Amendments and Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) plans. Together the three components of this Program will provide an Exposure Reduction Model for identifying and securing safe fishing locations to support California Tribes, and resulting in important public health protections and water quality benefits.

California Product Stewardship
Project Title: “Don’t Rush to Flush” (DRTF) Central Valley Expansion

Watershed: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed
Grant Request: $80,276
Theme: Public Awareness/Pollution Prevention
For community education and partnership building to establish and promote permanent take-back sites for unwanted medications in San Joaquin County targeting disadvantaged populations, helping protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed from pharmaceutical contamination which occurs through flushing unused medications down the drain or through leachate from landfills. This project will develop partnerships supporting a sustainable medication take-back system in San Joaquin County by recruiting pharmacies and others in the product chain to share the costs of safe collection and disposal of medications. Medication take-back sites commit to paying for ongoing disposal, providing this service to the community free of charge beyond the grant term. Beginning with the lowest income areas where poverty rates are 20% or higher, outreach will educate the public focusing on Spanish speaking and disadvantaged areas, medical providers, and others in the product chain about the problems caused by flushing medications, and about using the take-back sites to safely dispose of unwanted medications. To measure success, the increase in take-back sites, medications collected, and consumer and pharmacist knowledge will be tracked.

Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
Project Title: Snowy Peaks to Valley Rivers – Protecting the Source, the Flows, and Water Quality for Downstream Users

Watershed: Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Mokelumne River Watersheds
Grant Request: $67,150
Theme: Water Quality Monitoring, Public Awareness, Watershed Assessment, Wetland and Riparian Restoration
The precious snowpack of our region flows down to foothill and Central Valley water users and is also the lifeblood of the mountain ecosystem. Using this grant, CSERC will be at the forefront of water quality monitoring and watershed restoration efforts, with efforts especially focused towards Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties where the IRWMP classifies almost the entire rural community area as disadvantaged communities. CSERC will serve as a key advocate in the media and at IRWMP, water district, county, and Rim Fire recovery sessions. CSERC will raise awareness – reaching 5,000 community members in Stockton, Lodi, Modesto, Ceres and Turlock with programs about the source of their water and the need to avoid pollution and to use water wisely. CSERCʼs water quality reports and monitoring will identify where pathogenic bacteria poses risk to water consumers and recreational forest visitors – especially low-income visitors who seldom possess expensive water filters. CSERC will also work to effectively influence land planning decisions and policies, development projects, and forest treatments that contaminate water or diminish the flow of rivers into the Central Valley. The key pollutants addressed by this project will primarily be fecal coliform, E. coli, sediment loads, and forestry herbicide contaminants.

The Sierra Fund
Project Title: Building an Integrated Regional Water Management Collaborative Serving the Cosumnes, American, Bear and Yuba Rivers

Watershed: Cosumnes, American, Bear and Yuba River watersheds
Grant Request: $493,803 for three years (Year One $144,606; Year Two $140,475; Year Three $208,722)
Theme: Pollution Prevention, Public Awareness, Watershed Assessment
This project will leverage a $5.5 million grant awarded by the Department of Water
Resources to The Sierra Fund’s program “CABY Headwaters Resilience and Adaptability Program”, a collaboration between fifteen government and non‐profit organizations. Funding would allow project partners to more deeply engage with tribal leaders, disadvantaged community members (including those in the 18 communities in the CABY region that are identified by DWR as disadvantaged), and others in the region as projects funded through the DWR grant (from mercury remediation activities to meadow restoration to installation of new water pipes) are implemented. The project targets surface water pollution including legacy mercury from gold mining, discharges from old or malfunctioning sewer systems, and sediment from stormwater, and would create project educational materials, develop a portfolio of projects that emerge from consultation with tribal leaders and disadvantaged community residents, and convene community meetings about watershed plans. An important outcome of the project would be increased participation from these constituencies in the Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) collaborative.

Sierra Streams Institute
Project Title: Bear River Watershed Assessment Project

Watershed: Bear River and its subwatershed, Wolf Creek
Grant Request: $613,806 for three years (Year One $144,786; Year Two $218,220; Year Three $250,800)
Theme: Watershed Assessment
The Bear River Watershed Assessment Project is an effort to engage the community and all stakeholders in the development of a comprehensive assessment of the Bear River watershed and its tributaries, resulting in benefits to the disadvantaged community of Grass Valley through the improvement of surface and ground water quality and quantity. Building on the efforts by project partner Wolf Creek Community Alliance to monitor and protect Wolf Creek, a sub-watershed of the Bear River, the resulting assessment will allow stakeholders to prioritize remediation actions and to develop projects that address impacts to water quality and quantity, especially in relation to bacteria, sediment, and legacy mining contaminants. Median income in Grass Valley is 72% of the statewide average and 79.1% of students in the Grass Valley School District qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Waldo Holt San Joaquin Wildlife Conservancy
Project Title: The Waldo Holt Riparian Habitat Acquisition Program

Watershed: Mokelumne River, San Joaquin River, Calaveras River, and Stanislaus River
Grant Request: $128,577
Theme: Riparian Habitat Conservation
The Waldo Holt Riparian Habitat Acquisition Program (project) will identify, acquire, and protect remaining riparian habitat in San Joaquin County. The WHSJWC is a small community-based land trust and almost all of the habitat parcels in our target acquisition/conservation easement area are located in disadvantaged communities. Riparian habitat has been defined as “transitional between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, providing linkages between water bodies and adjacent uplands and include portions of terrestrial ecosystems that significantly influence exchanges of energy and matter with aquatic ecosystems” (RHJV 2004). The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that 95% of California’s original riparian habitat has been lost to development. The remaining riparian habitat in the Central Valley of provides a multiplicity of benefits. Rivers and their floodplains provide many “river services” to the surrounding local community. These include:

  • Conveyance and delivery of water supply
  • Effective conveyance of flood waters (and the associated protection of property from associated floodplains), riparian plants on the floodplain attenuate floodwaters and trap large debris.
  • Maintenance of water quality through biological processing of pollutants and physical filtering of sediments and organic material.
  • Wildlife habitat and regional migration corridor provide cover for fish and wildlife during migration.
  • Recreation Opportunities

Long-term monitoring and management of the acquired riparian areas will be done by our partner, the San Joaquin Multi-Species Habitat Conservation and Open Space Plan (SJMSCP). Any habitat that is acquired and conserved by the project is over-and–above the conservation requirements of the SJMSCP, does not serve as “mitigation” under the terms of the SJMSCP, and will not be credited to the SJMSCP. The SJMSCP compensates for loss of habitat land to development by preserving equivalent land. The SJMSCP does not normally conserve riparian areas because the land lost to development is farmland, not riparian. Our project will strengthen and enrich SJMSCP habitat preserves. By coordinating our riparian acquisitions with SJMSCP’s land acquisitions we will preserve adjoining riparian which will enhance the habitat value of the agricultural land acquired under the SJMSCP. Handing over the monitoring and management responsibilities to SJMSCP will maximize long‐term management efficiency and will free WHC to focus on acquisition and protection.


Redding Office Region Projects

California Urban Streams Alliance – The Stream Team
Project Title: The Stream Team General Support

Watershed: Sacramento River and its tributaries (Yuba, Sutter, Butte, Glenn, Tehema, Shasta counties)
Grant Request: $90,000
Theme: Watershed Assessment/Public Awareness
For facilitating citizen involvement in stewardship actions in the Sacramento Valley by cultivating and maintaining partnerships with community organizations, Resource Agencies, Resource Conservation Districts, IRWMP’s, schools, universities/community colleges, and municipal stormwater programs, providing an important opportunity for expanding effective stewardship actions to achieve water resource protection and management goals that specifically target disadvantaged communities throughout the Sacramento Valley. The Stream Team will leverage citizen involvement and knowledge to accomplish low-cost watershed assessments and ecosystem restoration; facilitate stewardship actions to achieve water resource management goals and objectives; implement Low Impact Development (LID) demonstration projects to reduce stormwater runoff; integrate science ambassador programs in schools; and implement Residential Landscape Irrigation Conservation Education/Outreach.

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