NEWS WORTH NOTING: Natural Resources Agency announces awards to protect cultural, community and natural resources; Success dam renamed Richard L. Schafer Dam in ceremony; Perris Dam Seismic Retrofit enters second phase; EPA launches Agriculture Smart Sectors Program to achieve better environmental outcomes

Natural Resources Agency Announces Awards to Protect Cultural, Community and Natural Resources

From the California Natural Resources Agency:

The California Natural Resources Agency today announced $37 million in funding for 21 projects under its Cultural, Community and Natural Resources grant program funded by Proposition 68.

In 2018, California voters passed the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68), which directed $37 million to the Natural Resources Agency for competitive grants that protect and enhance natural, cultural, historic, park and community resources.

“These awards are a unique opportunity to help protect and celebrate important cultural resources while also building climate resiliency and expanding access to recreation,” California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said. “We’re excited to support projects that enable communities to showcase traditional practices and promote sustainability.”

A few projects are highlighted below with the full list of projects following.

The City of Twentynine Palms was awarded $2 million to construct a dual-purpose building that will serve as a visitor center for Joshua Tree National Park and a cultural center and museum for the Twentynine Palms Chemehuevi and San Manual (Serrano) Bands of Mission Indians. The center will showcase elements of the park’s Campbell collection of prehistoric, historic and tribal artifacts, which date back 10,000 years to the earliest human habitation of the area known as the Pinto Basin Culture.  The visitor center will also facilitate the goal of becoming a gateway to the Joshua Tree National Park.

The County of San Luis Obispo was awarded $1.9 million to rehabilitate and restore the historic Cass Warehouse, known as the Cayucos Veteran’s Hall, to serve as an important community center. The Warehouse will increase opportunities for community education and engagement programs, provide recreational amenities and public access to cultural resources, and serve as an economic center for the community. The Cass Warehouse is the oldest building in the original townsite and eligible for listing on the California Register of Historic Resources.

The Yurok Tribe was award $2.7 million to acquire 2,584 acres in Humboldt County, allowing it to continue to reclaim ownership of its ancestral territory and manage the landscape using traditional knowledge and contemporary restoration practices. This property will be managed in conjunction with adjacent properties overseen by the tribe, with coordination of sustainable forest management, habitat restoration, sediment reduction, fire and fuels reduction, and carbon sequestration efforts. This acquisition will directly help tribal members by providing job opportunities, access to traditional foods, and a space for traditional practices.

Click here for full list of awards.


Alameda County:

  • City of Oakland, $2,201,100, Mosswood Park Career Center and Innovation Lab at Mosswood Community Center

Del Norte County

  • Save the Redwoods League, $875,000, Grove of Titans Redwoods Protection Project

Fresno County:

  • City of Kerman, $2,003,695, City of Kerman Eastside Community Park

Humboldt County

  • Yurok Tribe, $2,700,000, Ke’pel Creek Acquisition Project

Los Angeles County:

  • AltaSea, $2,132,559, AltaSea Visitor Center
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, $131,190, White Point Nature Preserve and Center Community Stewardship Project
  • Providence Little Company of Mary Foundation, $674,988, Lawndale Wellness and Activity Center
  • City of Redondo Beach, $4,829,000 Acquisition of 15 Acres at AES Power Plant Site for Park Development

Monterey County:

  • Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, $4,520,000, Esselen Tribal Lands Conservation Project

Napa County:

  • Sonoma Land Trust, $750,000, Acquisition of McCormick Ranch: Protecting the Natural Resources of Napa & Sonoma Counties

Nevada County:

  • The Sierra Fund, $344,193, The Nisenan Preserve, Phase II: Enhance Culture, Community, and Natural Resources

Orange County:

  • Discovery Cube Orange County, $3,468,953, Visitor Enrichment Experience Project

Sacramento County:

  • Powerhouse Science Center, $2,300,000, Vital Visitor Enhancements at New Powerhouse Science Center
  • Southgate Recreation and Park District, $2,325,160, Fruitridge Community Center and Park Restoration Project

San Bernardino County:

  • Twentynine Palms, $2,000,000, Project Phoenix Cultural Center and Joshua Tree Visitor Center

San Luis Obispo:

  • County of San Luis Obispo, $1,937,000, Cayucos Veteran’s Hall Restoration

San Mateo County:

  • Amah Mutsun Land Trust, $399,676, Collaborative Restoration of an Indigenous Cultural Landscape at Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve, Año Nuevo State Park

Sierra County:

  • Sierra County Land Trust, $353,400, Sierra Buttes/Lakes Basin Acquisition Program – Smailes Property.

Sonoma County:

  • Sonoma County Regional Parks, $389,850, Tolay Gathering Area – “Heenup Tuliila.”

Stanislaus County:

  • Stanislaus County, $756,030, Bonita Park Pool Project

Tulare County:

  • City of Farmersville, $1,908,206, Farmersville Community Park Phase III – The Sequoia Gateway Area

Success dam renamed Richard L. Schafer Dam in ceremony

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a ceremony October 1 to formally rename Success Dam after longtime Tule River Water Master Richard L. Schafer.

At 93 years old, Schafer remains an integral member of the Central Valley water community, maintaining active participation on numerous water boards and providing consultation for 13 different water management organizations. He has served as the Tule River Water Master for the last 56 years.

“I never thought of this happening, but it’s a real honor,” said Schafer. “The Corps [of Engineers] are the renowned dam builders of the nation; that’s what they do. I am so pleased to see so many of the Corps people here.”

For the last 20 years, Schafer has spearheaded the local effort to partner with the Corps of Engineers to increase water storage in Lake Success.

Today, the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project is funded and scheduled to start construction next year. The Corps plans to widen the existing spillway 165 feet and construct a 10-foot-high Ogee Weir, which would increase the reservoir pool by 28,000 acre-feet. These modifications will not only increase irrigation water storage space, but will also lower flood risk for downstream communities like Porterville.

“It is not often that we get the chance to rename a dam, and it is a special privilege to honor a man like Richard L. Schafer who has done so much for this community and the nation,” said Sacramento District Commander Col. James Handura.

“This is a much-deserved honor,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, who introduced the bill to rename the Success Dam facility after Mr. Richard L. Schafer. The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 9, 2019.

Approximately 100 people attended the renaming ceremony at the dam, including many members of Schafer’s family. Handura, Rep. McCarthy, County Supervisor Dennis Townsend, Walter Bricker of the Tule River Association, and Schafer all delivered remarks.

Since its construction in 1961, Schafer Dam has prevented an estimated total of $200 million in damage and reduced flood risk for a population of more than 76,000 people. The dam is a multipurpose facility designed to provide flood damage reduction benefits, water storage, recreation, and electrical power generation.

Perris Dam Seismic Retrofit Enters Second Phase

Construction Begins on Outlet Tower Structure

From the Department of Water Resources:

Today, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) started construction on the Outlet Tower Bridge, a component of the Perris Dam Complex in Riverside County. The work is part of DWR’s statewide effort to reduce seismic risk to State Water Project (SWP) dams.

“This project is an example of DWR’s ongoing commitment to modernize California’s water infrastructure to better protect California’s water supplies and enhance public safety,” said Ted Craddock, Acting SWP Deputy Director. “Earthquakes are a constant threat to our infrastructure, and we need to make our facilities as resilient as possible.”

The bridge work is part of the Outlet Tower Improvements Project, the second of three Perris Dam seismic retrofit projects. Located just upstream of the Perris Dam south abutment and connecting the Outlet Tower to the shoreline, the bridge provides access to the Outlet Tower for operation of the control valves and fish screens.

The retrofit of the Tower Bridge consists of modifications to the bridge support, bridge seat, end diaphragm, and installation of stiffener plates. The work that is planned for completion fall of 2020 will ensure the tower bridge can withstand a major earthquake and ensure access to valve controls for release of water under normal and emergency operations.

Future work on the Outlet Tower and the downstream water release and delivery facilities include the construction of a new control building, installation of a new gate, installation of seismic and security monitoring equipment, repair of penstock liner and refurbishment of slide gate and cylinder, and installation of new hydraulic power units.

The third and final project at Perris Dam will focus on the Emergency Release Facility (ERF) and is planned for completion in 2023. The ERF project provides improvements downstream of the reservoir that would direct the flow of water in an emergency requiring the dewatering of the reservoir. Flows would be directed through a series of berms and lined and unlined channels that would ultimately terminate at the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District’s Perris Valley Channel.

Constructed from 1970 to 1974, Perris Dam was identified as a high priority state-owned dam due to its proximity to nearby earthquake faults and large downstream communities. The seismic retrofit to Perris Dam began in 2005 to improve seismic stability and enhance public safety at the Perris complex. Completed in 2018, the first project included several upgrades, such as strengthening the foundation and adding 1.4 million-cubic-yards of embankment material at the 130-foot tall, earthen Perris Dam. Following completion of that work, DWR began a controlled refilling of the reservoir in March 2018.

Lake Perris is the State Water Project’s southernmost facility and the terminal storage facility on the East Branch.

For information about the remediation projects, visit our Lake Perris and Perris Dam Projects website.

EPA Launches Agriculture Smart Sectors Program to Achieve Better Environmental Outcomes

From the US EPA:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 office is announcing the launch of an agriculture focus in its Smart Sectors Pacific Southwest program, a partnership initiative between the agency and regulated business sectors that is aimed at achieving better environmental outcomes. Based on the national Smart Sectors program, this approach provides a significant opportunity for EPA to consider more forward-thinking ways to protect the environment through collaboration and dialogue with key sectors of the economy in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, as well as with 148 tribes in the region.

EPA Regional Administrator Mike Stoker was joined Tuesday by farmers, association members, and EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) senior management at a roundtable discussion at the USDA office in Davis, Calif.

“We are very pleased to work with farmers, ranchers and others who are naturally stewards of our air, land, and water,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Through our Smart Sectors dialogue, we can better understand the issues and challenges faced by farmers and ranchers and work together for the benefit of all.”

“Today’s launch builds on the success of our national Smart Sectors program,” said EPA Associate Administrator for Policy Brittany Bolen. “We’re excited to expand the program in Region 9, marking the fourth regional program to focus on the agriculture community, while EPA continues to improve regulatory certainty for this and other sectors.”

“I appreciate the time EPA is taking to bring people together to think about common-sense approaches to environmental regulation,” said Paul Wenger of Wenger Ranch.

“This kind of dialogue is something that is long overdue between working groups and EPA,” said Paco Ollerton of Tierra Verde Farms.

“We appreciate being included an any discussion with EPA. As fourth and fifth generation farmers we can’t do it alone, and we can’t be overregulated,” said Dierdre Lefty of Auburn Ravine Ranch.

In the Pacific Southwest, EPA initially began with a focus on the oil and gas sector in April of this year and plans to expand to other sectors in addition to agriculture in coming months. Nationally, Smart Sectors engages with 13 sectors of the economy. EPA focuses on best practices, convening workshops to facilitate communication, raising public awareness and information sharing, and enhancing knowledge of federal environmental programs.


A sector-based approach can provide benefits such as increased long-term certainty and predictability, creative solutions based on sound data, and more sensible policies to improve environmental protection. Staff conduct educational site visits, host roundtables with EPA leadership, analyze data and advise about options for environmental improvement, and maintain open dialogue with business partners and their environmental committees.

Announced nationally in October 2017 and since launched in four regions of the country – EPA Regions 1: New England; 2: New York, New Jersey, and the Caribbean; 8: Mountains and Plains; and 9: Pacific Southwest – the Smart Sectors program provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health.

Additionally, the program is releasing a series of interactive sector snapshots that provide historical environmental and economic data for industries participating in the program. Each snapshot is designed to help the general public, EPA, and sector partners gain a common understanding of sector performance to inform environmental improvement strategies going forward.

More information about EPA’s Smart Sectors program:

More information about the sector snapshots:

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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