FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: DWR Offers $15 Million in Grants to Protect Communities, Support Fish Populations, and Restore Streams

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released the final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package for the Riverine Stewardship Program, which provides funding to plan and implement projects that will reduce flooding, improve water quality, and restore streams, creeks, and rivers to enhance the environment for fish, wildlife, and people. 

As communities and wildlife alike face challenges posed by climate extremes and California’s ongoing drought conditions, the program will award up to $15 million in competitive grants to implement projects that help reduce flood risk, increase water supply, and enhance and restore fish populations and habitat. The funding will be delivered through the Riverine Stewardship Program and its two subprograms: the Urban Streams Restoration Program (USRP) and the San Joaquin Fish Population Enhancement Program. 

All three programs will help support watersheds, local wildlife, and aquatic habitat. Eligible projects include habitat restoration, bank stabilization, water temperature improvements and habitat enhancements to increase water supply reliability to help fish adapt to climate change.

“Climate change is driving multiple threats to California including the severe drought conditions that challenge our communities and fish populations alike,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “This funding supports a local and state partnership to make our communities and their streams more drought resilient for people and fish.”

Both the Riverine Stewardship Program and San Joaquin Fish Population Enhancement Program are funded by Proposition 13, while the Urban Streams Restoration Program is funded by Proposition 68, 84, and state budget general funds.

During the 2019 solicitation, DWR awarded $54.4 million in competitive grants to 20 projects that improve habitat and spawning conditions for fish species, reduce flood risk to property and local communities, and more. The Urban Streams Restoration Program, which has funded projects for 35 years, recently celebrated ribbon cutting ceremonies for previously completed restoration projects located in Santa Barbara, Berkeley, and Santa Rosa.

Applications will be accepted starting June 1, 2022, and funding is available for Tribes, local public agencies, and certified non-profits as specified in the program guidelines and proposal solicitation package. Other applicant types such as community groups will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For-profit corporations, non-public entities, and individual landowners are not eligible. The released guidelines will also address future funding that may become available to DWR through the 2022/2023 Budget Act to address drought resilience and aquatic habitat improvements.

The Urban Streams Restoration Program also provides funding and technical assistance for public engagement, outreach, and underrepresented community support. DWR encourages community participation in project design and implementation to promote educational opportunities to community members of all ages and increase understanding of the project’s benefits.

Project proponents can submit grant applications using DWR’s online submittal tool, GRanTS. DWR will identify projects through the grant application process and will match concept proposals to the appropriate funding source based on eligibility. Awards will be made based on how responsive the application is to program priorities and will be made on a rolling basis until all funds are committed.

The guidelines and proposal solicitation package, as well as detailed information on the solicitation rules, procedures, and process can be accessed at the Riverine Stewardship Program – Grants webpage. For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, visit DWR’s Grants and Loans webpage.

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