Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Announces $5 Million in Grants to Protect Coastal Wetlands in California

Dec 22, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2010 

Contacts:  Erica Szlosek (916) 978-6159 or Samantha Marcum (831) 427-4753

US Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $5 Million in Grants to Protect Coastal Wetlands in California

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the award of more than $19 million to support conservation projects benefiting fish and wildlife on coastal habitats in 12 states in the U.S. through the 2011 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. These federal grants will be matched by $21 million in partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups. Five of these projects are located in California and total $5 million in grant funding.

The grants will be used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat.

“Our Nation’s coastal wetlands encompass large areas of vital habitat for countless species of wildlife while providing important economic resources and recreational opportunities for the American people,” Secretary Ken Salazar said. “These grants will offer additional protection, restoration, and enhancement of these precious habitats.” 

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.

Including the 2011 grants, the Service has awarded nearly $260 million to coastal states and territories since the program began in 1992. When the 2011 projects are complete more than 265,000 acres of habitat will have been protected, restored or enhanced.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Service’s Coastal Program provides strategic conservation planning and assistance in coastal areas. It represents one of the Service’s most popular and effective programs for voluntary, locally-based habitat restoration and protection efforts. With climate change threatening to reduce coastal habitats, the public and private partnerships garnered by the Coastal Program are essential.

The five California projects are:

Breuner Marsh Restoration - Phase I, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline - The East Bay Regional Park District, a California State agency, was awarded $1 million to help restore and enhance 66 acres of tidal and seasonal wetlands, mudflats/open water, and coastal scrub and grassland located between San Pablo Creek Marsh and Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park in Contra Costa County California.  The total project cost is $2,350,000.  The goal of this project is to provide long-term, self-sustaining tidal wetlands, seasonal wetlands, and coastal prairie to create valuable habitat for protected species.  Specifically, this project would restore and enhance 36 acres of declining wetland types, 23 acres of stable coastal wetland types, and 7 acres of coastal uplands.  This project would provide habitat for several Federally endangered species, including Salt marsh harvest mouse and California clapper rail.  The project would also provide public access for compatible, passive recreation and public education.

Devereux Slough Coastal Wetland Project - The California Coastal Conservancy was awarded $1 million to help acquire and permanently protect a 63-acre property in Santa Barbara County, California.  This project will also result in the restoration of approximately 13 acres of coastal wetlands and 6 acres of coastal uplands.  The total project cost is $9,039,704. 

Additional restoration of the property is planned for future projects.  Devereux Slough comprises the easternmost watershed of the Gaviota Coast, which is a significant biological area because it connects the coastal watersheds running from the Santa Ynez Mountains down to the Santa Barbara Channel.  This project has the potential to be one of the most important actions to restore coastal wetland habitat on the south central California coast.  Historically, this site supported more than half the coastal wetlands in the slough system.  This project will effectively double the coastal wetland area found in the system.  The property abuts existing coastal wetland and upland habitats that are adjacent to University of California at Santa Barbara's Coal Oil Point Reserve. Note: photo is available on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw

Emerson Parcel Tidal Marsh Restoration - The California Coastal Conservancy was awarded $1 million to help restore 438 acres of leveed grazing lands to a mosaic of open water, tidal channels, intertidal marsh, riparian woodland, and uplands.  This project is part a larger effort being undertaken by several state agencies to restore the wetland habitat in the 1,166-acre Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh.  The total project cost of this phase is $6,142,500.  The Dutch Slough project is located in the Marsh Creek delta, which drains a large area on the east side of Mt. Diablo.  The project will reroute Marsh Creek from its current engineered channel to a meandering channel through the Emerson parcel.  Flows in the marsh creek will deliver sediment to the marshes, recreating natural deltaic processes and features that will benefit native fish and wildlife.  The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem has been severely impaired by pollution, invasive species, and hydrological modifications.  The Governor has identified the Dutch Slough Project as critical to addressing the ecosystem's decline.  Note: photo is available on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw

Riverside Ranch Restoration Project - The California Coastal Conservancy was awarded $1 million to help restore the natural ecosystem functions of the Salt River Delta in the Eel River estuary.  The total project cost is $2,001,150.  The Eel River estuary is the second largest estuary in California and lies just south of Humboldt Bay.  The 446-acre Riverside Ranch sits at the confluence of the Salt and Eel Rivers was acquired with a 2007 National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant.  The Salt River watershed has been degraded by a century of diking and other landscape modifications.  This project will restore and enhance a total of 334 acres of estuarine tidal marsh, riparian forest, and other estuarine habitats, and 112 acres of associated uplands for numerous Federal and State listed and other wetland-dependent fish and wildlife species.  It will restore a functional tidal ecosystem, restore habitat for special status species, and reduce flooding by restoring tidal prism, sediment transport, and floodplain connectivity.  The project area will be managed by the California Department of Fish and Game as part of the Eel River Wildlife Area. Note: photo is available on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw

Ventura River Estuary Property Acquisition - The California Coastal Conservancy, in partnership with the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, was awarded $1 million to help acquire and permanently protect 52 acres of the 105-acre property in the upper Ventura River Estuary in the City of Ventura, California.  The total project cost is $1,604,500.  Historically, the entire property consisted of wetland vegetation and riparian forest in the river mouth, however, 75 acres are in intensive agricultural production and only 30 acres remain as confined river bottom habitat even though 97 acres are within the 100-year floodplain.  This project will also result in the restoration of 22 acres of row crops to coastal riparian forest.  During storm events, large amounts of sediment carrying nitrates, nitrites, phosphorous, and pesticides runoff into the estuary and the Pacific Ocean.  While some of the land will remain in agriculture, the project will prevent it from being developed and enhance riparian buffering of the river channel to reduce erosion and polluted runoff directly into estuarine and marine habitats.

A complete list of projects funded by the 2011 grant program can be found online at:

http://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/index.html.

Coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area yet support the majority of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened and endangered species.

The Coastal Program is a vital tool in helping to recover listed species and maintaining populations of candidate species that depend on coastal habitats.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

www.fws.gov.


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