The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 19 stream flow enhancement projects were approved for funding at the board’s April 1 meeting. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change.
Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.
Funded projects include:
A $1.52 million grant to the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds (ARCG) along the main stem of Dutch Bill Creek in Sonoma County. The project will improve dry season stream flows in Dutch Bill Creek from May to October for the benefit of listed salmonids and aquatic habitat by addressing water use and water sources at the ARCG.
A $495,291 grant to Trout Unlimited for a cooperative project with Peter Marchi of Marchi and Son Farm to increase stream flow in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County during critically low flow months to improve passage and rearing conditions for anadromous fish. With the addition of Marchi and Son Farm, all commercial farms in the lower San Gregorio Creek will have implemented irrigation efficiency measures and be committed to 20 years of diversion forbearance during the dry season.
A $299,185 grant to Creek Lands Conservation for a cooperative project with Watershed Progressive, Eagle Aerial and Hicks Law to identify and analyze opportunities to enhance stream flow throughout the Ventura River watershed in Ventura County. The project will assess water demand, infiltration and opportunities for reduced consumptive use in order to prioritize parcels that have the highest potential to enhance stream flow.
A $3.8 million grant to California Trout for a cooperative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Cardoza Ranch in Siskiyou County. The project will enhance flows in Parks Creek, a tributary to the Shasta River, and restore critical spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead throughout the watershed.
A $689,618 grant to Trout Unlimited to acquire the water rights on lower Battle Creek in Tehama County. The project will dedicate water rights to instream flow in the lower 7.3 miles of Battle Creek to restore dwindling Chinook salmon and steelhead runs and enhance wetlands on private lands managed as part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
A $3.94 million grant to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County for a cooperative project with Hicks Law and The Conservation Fund to acquire ownership of the Santa Rita Ranch and associated water rights in San Luis Obispo County. The project will conserve approximately 1,715 acres of intact wildlife habitat and includes the headwaters of Santa Rita Creek and Hartzell Dam. The entirety of the water rights will be dedicated to instream flow for the benefit of fish and wildlife, wetland habitat and riparian habitat restoration.
For more information about the WCB, visit wcb.ca.gov.