The Santa Clara Valley Water District has opened a grant application process to award up to $2.057 million in funds to implement projects that will improve the health of local watersheds.
Cities, the county, open space districts, non-profit organizations and schools are all encouraged to submit project proposals. Details on the priority themes and the application process are posted at www.valleywater.org/grants.aspx. Proposals are due on Nov. 22, 2013.
This is the first cycle of grant funding from the voter-approved Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, approved by voters in 2012. This cycle will fund grants in three categories: pollution prevention, volunteer cleanup efforts and education, and restoration of wildlife habitat.
For this round of funding, the water district board has chosen priority themes for each of the three categories, based on input solicited from community members.
For this grant cycle, the three priority themes in the pollution prevention category are to increase the permeability of urban areas—which reduces runoff into streams, to increase trash free areas around creeks and to prevent medications and other pollutants from entering our waterways.
The priority themes for volunteer cleanup efforts and education category are education and outreach related to the three pollution prevention themes.
The grants for restoring wildlife habitat will focus on four priority themes: to restore and protect riparian corridors, to protect or improve habitat of special status species, to restore tidal habitat, and to emphasize projects with ecosystem/watershed-scale benefits.
During the 15-year life of the Safe, Clean Water Program, the district expects to distribute nearly $35 million in grants, partnerships and rebate programs. Every year, one grant program or another will be available, including future grant cycles that will prioritize access to new trails.
Later this year, the district will solicit grant proposals to fund projects that will pilot test new water conservation programs. This grant program will help us meet the district’s goal to nearly double water conservation by 2030.
Also, the water district is joining with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and FIRST 5 Santa Clara County to provide grants to schools to install new drinking water dispensers to ensure that kids have access to free, fresh and healthful drinking water.
This round of grants follows several grant cycles over the past 13 years. The district’s grants and partnerships program, combined with other public and private funding, has helped fund 92 projects totaling more than $16.7 million since 2000. The program has opened more than 70 miles of trails and created or restored more than 569 acres of habitat.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 1.8 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses throughout Santa Clara County.