2015 Approved Project List Central Valley Water Quality Community Grants Program

Fresno Office Region Projects

California Product Stewardship Council
Project Title: Sustainable Medication Take Back for Tulare Basin Watershed

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Kaweah, St. Johns, and Tule Rivers)
Grant Request: $80,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention
California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) will expand its award-winning “Don’t Rush to Flush Meds in the Bin We All Win!” (DRTF) program to Tulare County by assisting community partners (pharmacies, hospitals, local community groups, hauling companies and government agencies) to establish up to twenty (20) take-back sites for unwanted medications targeting disadvantaged populations. This will help protect the Tulare Lake Basin from pharmaceutical contamination that occurs through flushing unused medications down the drain or through leachate from landfills. Due to the high costs of water treatment technologies to remove pharmaceuticals, the only viable solution is prevention and source reduction, which is exactly what this project will accomplish. 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 with high poverty rates, outreach will educate the public, 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. CPSC has fostered partnerships in the cities of Dinuba, Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia and Woodlake. To measure progress, CPSC will track the increase in take-back sites, medications collected, and consumer and pharmacist knowledge. This is planned as a two-year project.

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Project Title: Allensworth and Delano Watershed Improvement: Promoting Community Participation

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Allensworth, Tulare County and Delano, Kern County)
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Well Rehabilitation or Replacement
The City of Delano in Kern County and the unincorporated community of Allensworth in Tulare County both source their water from the Tulare Lake Basin watershed and each has discovered their water is contaminated with nitrates and/or arsenic. In spring of 2014, the City of Delano received nearly $5 million from the State of California for a unique pilot project to restore a drinking water well contaminated by nitrates. Meanwhile, Tulare County received a three-year grant from the Strategic Growth Council in 2012 to investigate the possibility of consolidating the three south Tulare County communities of Angiola, Alpaugh and Allensworth to provide clean water to all three communities. The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment would provide significant leverage for both these grants by engaging with residents in Delano and Allensworth to ensure they play a vital role in both regions’ watershed pilot projects to find effective methods for financing water improvement projects that do not burden low-income residents. Restoring the wells is a longer-term project that won’t be completed within 2015 grant period. The population of both these communities in the southern San Joaquin Valley is overwhelmingly disadvantaged people of color. According to estimates by the Census Bureau, Delano is approximately 71% Latino and 92% people of color; 31% of residents live below the poverty level, and 30% are unemployed. Allensworth is 92.6 % Latino and 48.3% of its residents live below the poverty line. Both Allensworth and significant portions of Delano are among the top 10% of the most impacted communities in the State based on Cal EnviroScreen 2.0.

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: $30,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention
The Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN) 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 250 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 establish two new “Water Watchers” groups in the communities of Shafter and Parlier, and continue the documentation with three already-established groups in 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, Lanare, Shafter and Parlier are overwhelmingly immigrant, low to very-low income, and are in the top 20% of environmental justice “red zone” communities in California.

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, Tulare County)
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Well Rehabilitation and 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 increase community participation in their local water boards. The goal is to provide training and support so that, by the end of the grant period, at least one new member will be appointed to their respective water boards in Tooleville and Plainview and there will be consistent community representation at City Council meetings in Tonyville and El Rancho when water issues are discussed. El Quinto Sol will also facilitate building new and further developing existing relationships with community partners who can help advance DACs water quality goals. 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 by giving community members the training and tools they need to become involved with local water boards to ensure robust community involvement in decisions made around well rehabilitation or replacement.

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
(Fiscal Sponsor: The Tides Center)
Project Title: Septic to Sewer: For Community Health, For Groundwater Quality, For Regional Sustainability

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Lanare and Riverdale, Fresno County; Matheny Tract, Tulare County)
Grant Request: $43,500
Theme: Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention
Failing septic systems continue to be a significant contributor to nitrate and bacterial contamination of drinking water sources and environmental degradation. Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability’s (LCJA) Septic to Sewer campaign will eliminate failing septic systems by advocating for and facilitating projects that connect disadvantaged communities to public wastewater systems. This project will start in the communities of Lanare, Matheny Tract and Riverdale where residents complain of failing septic systems and related impacts on drinking water quality, such as bacterial contamination. Residents of these communities are majority Latino, and have African American populations as well. LCJA will partner with community-based organizations, local government and other stakeholders to develop a feasibility study of community-driven septic to sewer conversion projects. This project will identify septic system issues, quantify maintenance costs, and assess interest in abandoning septic systems and converting to a public wastewater system among residents in target communities with median household incomes at or below 50% of the state median household income. Upon completion of the feasibility study, LCJA and its partners will initiate discussions with representatives of local governments and other relevant entities to secure necessary approvals and build collaborative strategies to access funding and technical assistance to implement conversion. All three communities have drinking water currently contaminated by arsenic and threatened by nitrate and bacterial contamination. All three are adjacent to farmland and/or dairies and are subject to pesticide exposure. This project allows the community to get involved and leverage dollars to help influence and direct funds to ensure a successful outcome. It will also serve as a template, or model, that may be replicated throughout the region – and even the state – to encourage and facilitate the elimination of failing and leaching septic systems and cesspools.

Self-Help Enterprises
Project Title: IRWM DAC Coordinator

Watershed: Tulare Lake Basin (Fresno and Kings Counties)
Grant Request: $54,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Watershed Assessment
This project will improve DAC participation in Integrated Regional Water Management Planning (IRWMP) by establishing a position to work directly with and bridge the gap between DACs and IRWMP groups in the Tulare Lake Basin. The DAC Coordinator will work in the TLB Hydrological contamination and is challenged by several other pollutants, including arsenic, uranium, 1,2-Dibromo-3chloropropane (DBCP), 123 Trichloropropane (123 TCP) and bacteria. Approximately 353 of 530 identified communities within the TLB are classified as disadvantaged or severely DAC. 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. This grant would support year one of a multi-year project. During year 1, Self-Help Enterprises will 1) create the DAC coordinator position, 2) provide local support to 3-5 local DACs and six IRWMP groups to better define participation and project development challenges and opportunities to improve overall integration and addressing of needs, 3) conduct two educational tours to build capacity and foster working relationships, 4) address local barriers; and 5) support development of water projects. This is envisioned ultimately as a multi-phase project.

(Fiscal Sponsor: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs)
Project Title: Kern/Tule Watersheds Disadvantaged Communities Water Quality Improvement and Outreach 2015

Watershed: Tule River Watershed (East Porterville) and Kern River Watershed (Arvin)
Grant Request: $15,000
Theme: Riparian Restoration / Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention and Trash Clean Up
WildPlaces is a grassroots, community-based non-profit that organizes community-based environmental education, restoration and clean up events that restore watersheds and wilderness areas. This project has two primary geographic areas: 1) East Porterville located entirely within the Tule River watershed and 2) the community of Arvin located entirely within the Kern River watershed. For East Porterville, this project will focus on stewardship of the Tule River. Volunteers will remove trash, waste and graffiti, and they will gather water quality testing results. The project will also expand into Arvin and combine conservation education with empowering mitigation by getting community members involved in restoration work. Residents will plant 100 willow seedlings along damaged areas of Long Meadow, headwaters of the Kern watershed, which provides clean water to Arvin. By embracing an ecosystem-wide approach, this project, through water education, community outreach, land-based restoration, and stewardship activities, will engage disadvantaged communities to improve water and habitat quality in upland areas. This approach lifts individuals as solution-makers, gaining a greater understanding of the water system, and knowing their actions will directly preserve water quantity and quality where they live. The rural communities of East Porterville and Arvin are comprised of largely Spanish-speaking families who work mainly in agriculture-related labor. Unemployment in both areas is twice the National average.

Sacramento Office Region Projects

California Indian Environmental Alliance
Project Title: Safer Subsistence Fishing in Sacramento River

Watershed: Clearlake, Cache Creek, and Sacramento Valley Watershed
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Pollution Prevention / Public Awareness / Watershed Assessment
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 to mercury and PCBs. Through a cooperative effort involving agencies, landowners and California Indian Tribes, the project will identify safer fishing locations, participate in designing remediation plans for contaminated sites 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 Big Valley Rancheria 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. This project will initially study surface water quality, through fish tissue toxicity, related surface and groundwater, and quantity in order to identify waterbodies that can support safe fish and fish tissue targets. CIEA will aid in securing the funding needed to enable Tribes to remediate three (3) fishing locations so that families can utilize the watershed for traditional uses.

Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Project Title: Clean Water Capacity-building for Sacramento Valley Disadvantaged Communities

Watershed: Lower American River Watershed and the Sacramento River – Sacramento Valley Watershed
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention
This project will focus on both surface water rivers and bodies and groundwater in the American River Basin, with an emphasis on Sacramento County. The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water aims to improve the collective knowledge of and tools available to disadvantaged communities for engaging in watershed health problem-solving first by conducting a water quality needs assessment and then building the capacity of residents in DACs to become agents for water justice and watershed health. This project will address the following pollutants: primarily arsenic, nitrate, and hexavalent chromium, with respect to drinking water; heavy metals, mercury, and other industrial pollutants, with respect to subsistence fishing; fecal coliform, human waste, and diseases capable of transmission via water, with respect to homeless population; and paints, household chemicals, electronic waste, and other unknown pollutants that are routinely dumped illegally in irrigation ditches and other areas where they can impact water quality and watershed health. EJCW will conduct this work in close coordination with other project partners in the growing Sacramento Valley Water Justice Network (SVWJN), which will include the Environmental Council of Sacramento (the region’s largest environmental advocacy network), the Avondale Glen Elder Neighborhood Association (the voice for one of Sacramento’s lowest income neighborhoods), Mutual Housing California (a regional, affordable housing non-profit), and the Alchemist Community Development Corporation (a local, community-based CDC). Project deliverables include: 1) growing the network to anchor the SVWJN, 2) setting project or campaign agenda with toolkits for 3-5 of the disadvantaged communities engaged, and 3) engaging community representatives from each of the DACs as participants in EJCW’s water justice leadership training curriculum. People of color make up more than 50 percent of Sacramento County’s population and a disproportionate number of these residents live below the federal poverty level.

Friends of Marsh Creek
Project Title: East County Wetlands and Underserved Youth Project

Watershed: Marsh Creek Watershed, eastern Contra Costa County
Grant Request: $15,000
Theme: Public Awareness / Water Quality Monitoring / Watershed Assessment / Wetland and Riparian Restoration
Water quality in Marsh Creek, a tributary to the San Joaquin River, is impaired by mercury and metals, diazinon, E. coli, and various synthetic toxins resulting from intensive agricultural discharges, rapid urbanization and loss of the filtering capacity of wetlands. The project has two elements. In the first element, Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed (FOMCW) will partner with the Contra Costa Office of Education to implement the East County Wetlands and Underserved Youth Project engaging participants in their summer internship program. Qualifying students typically are low income, foster youth, homeless, English second language and/or receiving special educations services. Project components include: 1) conducting community-based water monitoring data collection by trained students doing weekly sampling; 2) outreach and public education to raise awareness about the importance of water pollution prevention and promote restoration of local wetlands and riparian areas; and 3) developing outreach materials regarding mercury exposure reduction and citizen water quality data collection. In the second project element, FOMCW will engage DACs with its work on the Delta Mercury Exposure Reduction Program with the Delta Conservancy to reduce human exposure to mercury from eating fish caught in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 50% of Contra Costa youth were non-Caucasian and more than one in four youth in Contra Costa live in a low-income household. Additionally, approximately 37,000 children and youth in Contra Costa were born outside of the U.S. East Contra Costa was particularly hit hard by the economic downturn and is still struggling to recover.

The Sierra Fund
Project Title: Building an Integrated Regional Water Management Collaborative Serving the CABY Region

Watershed: Cosumnes, American, Bear and Yuba River watersheds
Grant Request: $194,154
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 multi-year collaboration between fifteen government and non-profit organizations. This grant would leverage that process and would allow The Sierra Fund to help 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. This grant would support the creation of educational materials and help The Sierra Fund develop a portfolio of projects that emerge from consultation with tribal leaders and disadvantaged community residents, and convene community meetings about watershed plans. The project will prioritize rural, isolated communities with deeply entrenched poverty, including Camptonville, Grass Valley, North San Juan, and North Auburn. 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.

Tuolomne River Trust
Project Title: Stanislaus County Water Stewardship Campaign

Watershed: Tuolomne watershed (Stanislaus County)
Grant Request: $50,000
Theme: Water Quality Monitoring / Public Awareness / Pollution Prevention and Trash Clean-up
The Tuolomne River Trust aims to improve water quality of the Tuolumne River as it flows through two of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Modesto. The lower Tuolumne River is listed as impaired for water temperature, mercury, Group A Pesticides, Diazinon, and Chlorpyrifos. Dry Creek, a tributary to the Tuolumne River at Modesto, is listed as impaired for E. coli, Diazinon, and Chlorpyrifos. Trash is also a major problem. Project activities are: 1) building on baseline water quality information by recruiting monitoring teams from the Airport Neighborhood (AN) and West Modesto (WM) to add two neighborhood monitoring sites; 2) implementing an Adopt a River pollution prevention campaign to combat hazardous trash dumped in the River and river parks; and 3) a launching a Water Literacy Campaign to improve awareness of water pollution and water quality by working with elementary schools in both the communities where between 85-100% of the students are designated as socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Redding Office Region Projects

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

Watershed: Sacramento River and its tributaries (Butte County)
Grant Request: $38,000
Theme: Watershed Assessment / Water Quality Monitoring / Public Awareness
California Urban Streams Alliance – The Stream Team, a community-based watershed stewardship group, aims to expand its existing citizen monitoring program to maximize the benefits to disadvantaged communities (DACs) working on water quality issues in the Sacramento River Watershed. The water quality in Butte County’s waterways are declining as a result of urban development and increasing stormwater runoff. This project 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. The Stream Team is currently working within DACs throughout Butte County and has established working relationships with community groups, schools, and municipal stormwater programs.
With additional resources, this project can be scaled and modified to provide project elements for Glenn, Mendocino, and Placer counties. 100% of the students in the schools, and greater then 80% of the neighborhoods targeted by this Project are identified as socio-economically disadvantaged.

The South Yuba River Citizens League
Project Title: The Stream Team General Support

Watershed: Growing Green: Reducing Water Quality Impacts from Marijuana Grows in the Yuba Watershed
Grant Request: $110,000
Theme: Pollution Prevention / Public Awareness
Marijuana growing practices, both legal and illegal, are causing serious water quality pollution problems including: diversion of streams and springs for irrigation; chemical application; erosion caused by land preparation; fuel spills; and reduction of native vegetation. The Yuba watershed is an important contributor to the state’s water supply for municipal drinking water, agriculture and industry. It also supplies water directly to DACs and other communities within the watershed and provides habitat and instream flows for one of the last strongholds of wild salmon in the whole of California. The South Yuba River Citizen League will work directly with DACs in the Yuba watershed to leverage funding received from the National Forest Foundation to research and develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) pertaining to marijuana grow operations. They will target water quality impacts created by the overuse and illegal disposal of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the erosion of sediment caused by improper forest management practices, accidental dumping of diesel fuels, and overuse of and water diversions from natural streams and rivers. Project work will center on multiple disadvantaged communities in the Yuba watershed that were identified as DACs in the 2010 Census, including North San Juan, Grass Valley, Rough and Ready, Camptonville, Washington, Alleghany, Pike and Dobbins. All named DACs are known to have several marijuana farmers in their area. SYRCL has already formed partnerships in several of the DACs and will build upon these to successfully implement this project to reach small local growers in DACs in the Yuba watershed. Upon development of BMPs, SYRCL will create educational outreach materials and a series of easily accessible and freely available online “how-to” webinars for marijuana farmers. These materials, results and outcomes are expected to be applicable to communities and watersheds throughout the Central Valley and beyond.

the content below is just for reference and will be deleted before launch