EPA announces $5 million in grants to restore S.F. Bay Water Quality and Habitats
Release Date: 04/22/2014
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Five projects announced at ceremony with EPA, U.S. Rep. Miller and East Bay Regional Park District in Richmond, Calif.
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today announced nearly $5 million in EPA grants to state and local agencies to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed at a ceremony held at Breuner Marsh (Richmond, Calif.)—one of the sites to receive federal restoration grant funding. The ceremony was attended by U.S. Representative George Miller, senior officials from the East Bay Regional Park District, and representatives from various state and federal elected officials.
“A healthy San Francisco Bay—the largest estuary in the country—supports the livelihood of over seven million Bay residents, sustains hundreds of native wildlife species, and aids in shielding the region from the effects of climate change,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work by grant awardees and partner state agencies makes certain the Bay continues to provide for many years to come.”
“Projects like Bruener Marsh not only restore historically significant wetlands, they also protect public health, help prevent the impacts of rising sea levels, and reconnect urban families with a more pristine environment,” said Congressman Miller. “This project is a testament to the successful collaborations between federal and local agencies to ensure that communities across the Bay Area are safer, healthier, and have better access to educational opportunities in our natural surroundings. I’m so pleased to have played a role in this success story that will benefit the Bay Area for many years to come.”
Grants range from $500,000 to $1.5 million and will support five projects that restore rivers and tidal marshes, and address legacy mercury contamination as well as the increasing concern over nutrients.
“As a kid, I could see the marsh was a valuable resource,” said Whitney Dotson, EBRPD Board Director. “As I grew older, I learned what a truly important asset this shoreline is, and decided I would do whatever I could to ensure it is protected for the community. We are very fortunate to have representatives like Congressman George Miller who recognize the importance of protecting our natural resources for future generations. The funding from EPA will help ensure this beautiful marsh is protected for the entire Bay Area.”
The projects are funded under EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund (SFBWQIF) that has invested over $32 million in 53 projects across the Bay region since 2008. Since inception, SFBWQIF investments have been matched with another $105 million from 71 partner agencies and organizations.
The project summaries, partner agencies/organizations, and funding amounts are:
- Removing Mercury in the Guadalupe River Watershed ($800,000, in partnership with San Francisco Estuary Partnership and the Association of Bay Area Governments): Reductions in mercury entering the watershed and San Francisco Bay will be achieved by removing three miles of mercury-laden road material and by planning for the cleanup of the last two high priority mine waste sites in Almaden Quicksilver County Park in Santa Clara County.
- Breuner Marsh Restoration ($1.5 million, in partnership with East Bay Regional Park District): Creation and restoration of 164 acres of wetland and upland habitat at Breuner Marsh along the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond. The project will create a self-sustaining wetland complex that will filter polluted run-off, support native plant and animal species, and protect against projected sea level rise in the next century.
- Napa River Restoration- Oakville to Oak Knoll (approximately $1.2 million, in partnership with Napa County): This project continues the public-private partnership efforts in the Napa River watershed to reduce sediment from bank erosion and improve water quality and salmonid habitat.
- Reducing Nutrients to SF Bay through Wastewater Treatment (approximately $500,000, in partnership with East Bay Municipal Utilities District): To address concerns over the Bay’s ability to handle excessive nutrients, several wastewater treatment plants will test best-available treatment technology to find cost-effective ways of reducing nutrients reaching the Bay through wastewater effluent.
- South Bay Salt Ponds Tidal Restoration Planning (approximately $850,000, in partnership with California State Coastal Conservancy): This project continues the long term investment in designing and implementing the fifty year habitat restoration plan for the South Bay Salt Ponds, the largest restoration project on the West Coast. This funding will enable the Conservancy to plan and permit restoration for over 1,000 acres of tidal wetlands.
EPA began accepting for potential projects to be funded by this program for next year’s grant cycle on March 17, 2014, and will continue to accept proposals through April 30, 2014. Awards will range from $800,000 to $2,000,000 and applicants must provide a minimum 50 percent non-federal match.
In addition, EPA is asking for public input on the rule recently proposed to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands. To view the proposed rule, and for more information on submitting public comments, visit: www.epa.gov/uswaters.
For more information on submitting an application for this year’s grant funding, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/sf-bay-water-quality-improvement-fund-open-rfip
For detailed information on these grants, visit: http://www.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/sfbaywqfund/