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D3: Grants and Partnerships to Restore Wildlife Habitat *

About This Project

This project provides grants and partnerships for activities such as developing Stream Corridor Priority Plans; creating or enhancing wetland, riparian and tidal marsh habitat; protecting special status species; removing fish migration barriers; installing fish ladders; removing non-native, invasive plant species; and planting native species. The project includes 7 grant cycles, 1 held approximately every other year during the 15-year duration of the Safe, Clean Water Program, as well as funding for partnerships that restore stream and wetland habitat and provide open space access. This project also funds work that provides access to creekside trails or trails that provide a significant link to the creekside trail network, for example, the possible construction of a bridge over Coyote Creek in the Rock Springs neighborhood.

*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

South Valley Meadow Construction
Datapoints
Status
On Target
Location
Countywide
Schedule
Start FY 2014 / Finish FY 2028
Funding
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($24.1 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program

KPI #1: Develop 5 Stream Corridor Priority Plans to prioritize stream restoration activities.

In Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), Valley Water analyzed existing and available information to assess which creeks would be most suitable for the first Stream Corridor Priority Plans (SCPPs). Candidate creeks were selected based on a qualitative assessment of opportunities for small-scale ecological projects along the creek. Creeks with good existing information rose to the top of a list of potential SCPPs. Valley Water assessed the following creeks as the highest -priority for developing SCPPs. 

  • Lower Peninsula Watershed - Stevens Creek 

  • Coyote Watershed - Coyote Creek (candidate reach is approx. Montague to Coyote Narrows) 

  • Guadalupe Watershed - Guadalupe River

  • Pajaro Watershed - Uvas Creek (downstream of Uvas Reservoir) 

  • West Valley Watershed - Saratoga Creek 

Additional high-priority creeks also include: San Francisquito, Upper Penitencia, Silver/Thompson, Los Gatos, Pajaro, and Permanente. Any of these creeks may be selected for SCPP development if higher priority creeks are ruled-out or postponed. Specific reaches to be included in the SCPPs will be determined independently, as individual plans are initiated. 

In FY18, Stevens Creek was identified as the first creek for which a SCPP would be developed. This work has been completed and can be viewed here

In FY19, management concurred that the criteria used under Project D2 to identify priority areas for revitalization of stream, upland and wetland habitat was consistent with the approach used for SCPPs and would be incorporated into all future SCPPs. The criteria to be incorporated into the SCPPs for selecting locations for invasive or non-native vegetation removal and revegetation installation require a minimum of at least one of the following characteristics:

  1. Impacts sensitive plant or animal communities, especially habitats for state or federally listed species;

  2. Involves flood protection, where invasive removal may increase hydraulic flow conveyance, or is recommended by US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) for levee stability;

  3. Grows adjacent to, but not within, Valley Water mitigation or revegetation sites;

  4. Revitalizes the functionality of riparian and tidal habitat;

  5. Improves wildlife corridors by increasing connectivity of habitat, especially along the Coyote Creek watershed to improve the connectivity between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range; and

  6. Upper watershed habitats, where invasive vegetation has potential to migrate downstream and greater impacts due to proximity to sensitive communities and wildlife corridors.

In FY 20, Valley Water developed the Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (CCNEET), an online decision-support tool to identify and coordinate habitat actions to improve ecological conditions along Coyote Creek, from Anderson Dam to Montague Expressway. Inspired by the need for a watershed approach to environmental resource management, project planning, and permitting, an overarching goal of CCNEET is to help coordinate habitat conservation and enhancement so that multiple projects and limited funding can result in meaningful ecological improvement of the creek. The specific and detailed enhancement opportunities generated by CCNEET will serve as the SCPP for Coyote Creek.

Funded by several Valley Water projects and programs, including Project D3.1, CCNEET facilitates coordination across Valley Water programs and with other regional agencies and organizations. CCNEET synthesized available ecological and environmental information by objectives, management questions, and enhancement actions to identify and justify potential habitat improvements along the creek corridor. Enhancement actions and opportunity areas in and along the creek corridor were further developed with input from a technical advisory committee of regional resources specialists, and were reviewed by and refined based on comments from internal Valley Water, regional organization, and permitting agency stakeholders. 

KPI #2: Provide 7 grant cycles and additional partnerships for $21 million that follow pre-established criteria related to the creation or restoration of wetlands, riparian habitat and favorable stream conditions for fisheries and wildlife, and providing new public access to trails.

In November of 2020, Santa Clara County voters approved the renewal of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program parcel tax. This renewal continues Valley Water community grants and partnerships and consolidates the funding opportunities under a newly created Priority F - Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community. More information will be available in FY 2022 about the expanded funding, eligibility, and criteria.

For information, visit https://www.valleywater.org/grants.

To receive notifications for all of Valley Water's upcoming grant cycles, please email [email protected]

Trails and Open Space Grants

Grant applications for the FY2021 Provide Access to Trails & Open Space program closed on December 1, 2020.

On February 23, 2021, the Board awarded Community Express $25,530 in grant funding to support their La Sendera Community Art Trail Project.

Wildlife Habitat Restoration Grants

We are not currently accepting grant applications for larger Wildlife Habitat Restoration Grants. 

On February 11, 2020, the Board of Directors approved two of the four D3 Restore Wildlife Habitat grant applications for funding for a total of $580,531.

  • Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority – Pond Restoration Project for California Red-Legged Frog and Western Pond Turtle in Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve ($476,796)
  • Grassroots Ecology – Re-Oaking Silicon Valley ($103,735)

Wildlife Habitat Restoration Mini-Grants Program

We are currently accepting grant applications for the Wildlife Habitat Restoration Mini-Grants program. The mini-grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with a maximum award of $5,000 per grant.

For information on how to apply, visit https://www.valleywater.org/grants.

To date, the following D3 mini-grants were awarded in FY 2021:

  • Baker Highschool - Outdoor Classroom and Garden
  • Bay Area Older Adults - Watershed Walk & Talk Program
  • Bay Area Older Adults - Watershed Appreciation Program
  • Bay Area Ridge Trail Council - Bio Blitz
  • City of Santa Clara - Adopt-a-Spot Tool Lending Program
  • City of Santa Clara - Green Infrastructure and Water-wise Native Plant Demonstration Garden Design
  • City of Santa Clara - San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail Pet Waste Station and Public Litter Container Expansion Project
  • Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden – Watershed Garden
  • Gilroy After Hours Rotary Club - Gilroy Watershed Clean Up
  • Grassroots Ecology - Embarcadero Road Habitat Corridor
  • Latimer Highschool - Latimer Garden & Outdoor Classroom
  • Marshmallow Minds - STE(A)M Education on Conservatory of Birds
  • San Jose State University Research Foundation - KCCB BioBlitz and Connection to Nature
  • Science is Elementary - SiE Books Creek Cleanup

 

Partnerships

Information about FY2021 Wildlife Restoration partnerships will be posted when it is available.

In FY19, Valley Water established one (1) Wildlife Restoration Partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) in the amount of $50,000. The project will support expansion of SCCOE's Education Outreach Program and environmental education programming to reach more students, specifically in school districts that lack resources and opportunities to implement environmental education in their classrooms. 

 

Updated April 2021 

For more information:

Stream Corridor Priority Plans

Grants and Partnerships

Environmental & Community Benefits

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program

  1. Develop 5 Stream Corridor Priority Plans to prioritize stream restoration activities.

  2. Provide 7 grant cycles and additional partnerships for $21 million that follow pre-established criteria related to the creation or restoration of wetlands, riparian habitat, and favorable stream conditions for fisheries and wildlife, and providing new public access to trails.

Benefits

  • Enhances creek and bay ecosystems

  • Improves fish passage and habitat

  • Expands trail and open space access

  • Leverages community funding through grants

  • Increases collaborations and partnerships for stewardship activities with cities, the county, nonprofit organizations, schools and other stakeholders

Geographic Area of Benefit 

Countywide

History & Background

About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program

In November 2012 the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, as a countywide special parcel tax for 15 years with a sunset date of June 30, 2028. This Program replaced the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, which voters approved in November 2000.

The Safe, Clean Water Program was developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders and was created to match the community’s needs and values. The voters of Santa Clara County identified five priorities:

Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply

Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways

Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters

Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space

Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways\

Other: Six projects from the Clean, Safe, Creeks Plan have been carried forward into the Safe, Clean Water Program.  

Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these Program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.

To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the Program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board.

In addition, the Program requires three independent audits, the first of which was conducted in FY 2017.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.