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Water district awards funds to five partnership projects

June 03, 2015

SAN JOSE— On May 26, the Santa Clara Valley Water District awarded $1.9 million in partnership funds to five projects to prevent pollution, restore wildlife habitat, and improve fish habitat and passage.

The four awardees, the City of San José, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, Trout Unlimited, and the County of Santa Clara, were selected from a pool of six applicants in two rounds of applications started last fall from the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, a parcel tax approved by voters in 2012. Partnership funding amounts awarded in this cycle range from $24,450 to $1 million for projects ranging in duration from one to seven years.

“With these partnerships, the water district is on track to address Key Performance Indicators for pollution prevention, wildlife habitat restoration and improvement of fish habitat and passage,” said Sarah Young, Senior Project Manager for the water district. “The district is looking forward to finalizing these agreements and launching these projects.”

Partnering with local agencies allows the water district to provide a greater benefit to the public. The water district expects to distribute nearly $35 million in grants, partnerships and rebate programs over the life of the 15-year Safe, Clean Water Program to achieve various program priorities, including funds for water conservation, drinking water stations for schools, nitrate systems, pollution prevention, volunteer cleanup efforts and wildlife restoration.

City of San José – San Jose Watershed Community Stewardship & Engagement Project

The city was awarded $196,250. Through the partnership, the city will engage the homeless populations to assist with 24 trash cleanup events in both Coyote Creek and Guadalupe River over the next year. The work will be conducted in socio-economically diverse neighborhoods along two different watersheds. On Coyote Creek, the proposed work starts at Hellyer Avenue on the southern end and ends at Watson Park on the north. On Los Gatos Creek and Guadalupe River, the work starts at Bascom Avenue, and ends at the confluence at Lincoln Avenue. The City of San José’s team includes the Downtown Streets Team and the San Jose Parks Foundation as the fiscal agent supporting two grass-roots community groups: Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful and Friends of Los Gatos Creek. Recruiting and engaging volunteers to participate in cleanup events and trash surveys will be the focus of the education and outreach activities funded by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory — Active Vegetation Management at Levees around South Bay Salt Ponds

The SFBBO was awarded $690,000 for vegetation management on levees in the South Bay Salt Ponds. The partnership will create transitional and upland habitats and provide the habitat structure needed by several federally listed species and state Species of Special Concern. Creating native plant communities on a 15-acre site will require two years of preparation and four years of phased implementation, maintenance, and monitoring.

The project supports multiple Safe, Clean Water Program projects. It restores wildlife habitat; strengthens the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Partnership and revitalizes wetland habitat. The work also builds upon the strong existing partnership between the water district and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve habitat on salt pond levees.

Trout Unlimited — Carnadero Creek Agricultural Ford (Creek Crossing) Project

The proposed work is to abandon an existing agricultural ford, which is a shallow part of a stream that may be crossed by walking or driving across it. Located just south of Gilroy, the ford is used by farmers who drive across a creek bed up to 50 times daily, degrading water quality and healthy fish habitat. This project will locate, design and construct a free span bridge for an alternative stream crossing that could result in improved water quality and fish habitat. To conduct this project, the agency has applied for a state grant, one that would require matching funds. The water district has awarded the agency $24,450 to serve as the matching funder, contingent upon the receipt of the state grant. The matching funds are intended for site investigation, topographic and right of way surveys, and hydrologic modeling.

City of San José – Coyote Creek Trail Fish Passage Remediation and Pedestrian Project (Singleton Road Crossing)

This work is to remove a barrier to fish passage on Coyote Creek. An antiquated stream crossing and culvert system on the main stem of Coyote Creek currently blocks upstream fish passage to access 18 miles of higher quality habitat for state and federally endangered steelhead trout species. The perched culvert presents a significant barrier to migration in all but very high stream flow events. Up to $1 million was approved for this partnership.

County of Santa Clara – Green Business Program

The board approved $40,000 in funding to add to an existing partnership with the County of Santa Clara that began in 2013. The water district’s past funding has supported the continuation of the county’s Green Business Program since 2003. The program steers businesses toward operating practices that protect water quality, conserve water and prevent pollution. The county plans to use a portion of the added funding to increase the public awareness of the program in order to increase the number of certified green businesses.

Valley Water 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 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 277 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 in Santa Clara County.