Last week the California Department of Conservation, (DOC) announced the award of five watershed coordinator grants of nearly $1.5 million to organizations throughout the state within medium- and high-priority groundwater basins.
A watershed coordinator is a position that the state funds for a local government or non-profit to work with local stakeholders and downstream beneficiaries to develop plans and projects to improve watershed health.
DOC Director David Shabazian said, “Groundwater is a critical resource that we must manage more intently to meet today’s needs while also ensuring adequate water supply in the future. These grants, which support the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), help us do that.”
The grants are awarded to:
- The San Jose University Research Foundation – $300,000 to fund the work of two watershed coordinators in the Salinas Valley.
- The Napa-based California Land Stewardship Institute – $272,680 to support a watershed coordinator in the Ukiah Valley.
- The Southeast Sacramento County Agricultural Water Authority – $299,901 for work in the San Joaquin Valley.
- The Fresno-based Kings River Conservation District – $300,000 to support projects in the San Joaquin Valley.
- The Pixley Irrigation District – $300,000 for work in the San Joaquin Valley.
There are currently eight watershed coordinators funded for three years through the Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program in the Sierra and coastal regions and five watershed coordinators funded for three years through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Watershed Coordinator Program in the Central Valley and coastal regions.
The watershed coordinator program has been in place since 2000.