Current Prop 1 Grants

2016-2017 Award Cycle Active Grants

The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 projects that are moving forward under the Delta Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program are listed below.

Reclamation District 2137, $2,900,000, Dutch Slough Revegetation

Funding is conditionally approved for this project.

The primary goal of the Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project is to restore historic Delta habitats and provide ecosystem benefits for native species. Funds from this grant will be applied toward Phase 2, Revegetation, which is a critical component for the project to attain its full habitat benefits. The Project site consists of three leveed parcels totaling 1,187 acres that have been used as dairy and grazing lands. Phase 1 will be grading of the first two parcels to create proper elevations for tidal marsh, intertidal channels, and upland areas. Grading will move soil from higher areas to lower elevation areas to create a marshplain, and will also include creation of upland (riparian) berms and shallower levee slopes. Phase 2 will be revegetation of the two graded parcels, and will include preparation of the planting plan; purchase of planting material; planting of tules, riparian trees and shrubs, and forbs and grasses; maintenance of the plantings; monitoring, and reporting. Phase 2 revegetation planting will begin in late 2018, followed by plant maintenance in 2019, 2020 and possibly 2021. Phase 3, which overlaps with the first two phases, is Monitoring. Restoration of these two parcels will create 400 acres of tidal marsh, 50 acres of riparian woodland, 18 acres of native grassland, and 110 acres of subtidal open water; and it will enhance 70 acres of managed marsh. Native wildlife is expected to rapidly colonize the restored habitats.

Solano Resource Conservation District, $444,795, Petersen Ranch: Working Waterway Habitat Enhancement Project

Funding is conditionally approved for this project.

This working waterways habitat enhancement project will pair cattle management practices with ecosystem restoration practices to create 13.5 acres of riparian habitat on actively farmed and grazed ground in the northern part of the Petersen Ranch along Lindsey Slough. It will address both the need for native vegetation—with the habitat and ecosystem benefits it provides—and for improved water quality in the Cache Slough Complex. The project will build upon a successful history of riparian restoration and cattle exclusion activities at the Ranch, and is moving forward with the full support of the landowner and neighboring property owners. The project will install nearly 6.5 miles of fencing structures and provide off-stream water sources for livestock. This will ensure that cattle no longer have direct access to surface waterways that discharge into sensitive Delta habitats and will create a riparian corridor available for restoration activities. The riparian corridors will be planted with a diverse mix of native trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges and forbs to create 13.5 acres of wildlife habitat that will also serve as filter strips for irrigation and storm water runoff. It is anticipated that the removal of cattle and creation of riparian filter strips will provide significant ecosystem benefits to this area of the Delta, including increased habitat for terrestrial and invertebrate species, reduced erosion and improved water quality, enhanced ecological condition of ranch waterways, and carbon sequestration.

The Regents of the University of California, $107,655, Investigations of restoration techniques that limit invasion of tidal wetlands

Funding is conditionally approved for this project.

Thousands of acres of Delta restoration projects are underway or in the planning phase; however, a major constraint on restoration success is invasive species. Historic and recent simplification of habitat structure and altered flow patterns have facilitated the increase of non-native species throughout the Bay Delta, some of which have become harmfully invasive. Unfortunately, once established, invasive species are difficult to control due to their generally rapid growth rate, high reproduction output, and proficient dispersal ability. Conventional control approaches, such as pesticides and mechanical removal, only provide temporary relief to invaded sites.  Competition by native species can be a more sustainable management tool; however, this strategy has not been investigated in a tidal wetland environment.  This project will investigate several revegetation techniques to deter colonization of invasive species on restoration sites in tidal wetlands to improve the potential for successful restoration efforts. Project outcomes will provide restoration strategies that limit invasion of vulnerable tidal systems, which will be put to immediate use by the Department of Water Resources in the planning and implementation of restoration projects, including the adjacent Dutch Slough Restoration Project, as well as several other regionally significant efforts.

Sacramento County Regional Parks, $943,549, Restoration of Priority Freshwater Wetlands for Endangered Species at the Cosumnes River Preserve

Funding is conditionally approved for this project.

The Cosumnes River Preserve (Preserve) proposes to restore 110 acres of priority wetlands located approximately five miles upstream from the legal Delta boundary. The project will immediately benefit the state and federally-listed “threatened” giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas) and state listed “threatened” and “state fully protected” greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida), as well as many other species of special concern and federal-trust species of resident and migratory waterfowl and waterbirds. The project would restore the hydrologic function and condition of Horseshoe Lake by using heavy equipment to remove invasive Uruguayan water primrose (Ludwigia hexapetala) and its associated biomass and sediments, followed by aquatic herbicide applications for long-term primrose control. The project goals are to: 1) Contribute to the survival of both listed and non-listed species by providing perennial water with adequate aquatic prey in Horseshoe Lake; and 2) Restore local water storage capacity along the Cosumnes River to help recharge shallow perched water and deep aquifers, which may, in turn, help river flows to reconnect earlier in the fall/winter for migrating chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), while also curbing the need for drilling bigger and deeper water wells that could further exacerbate water problems in the lower Cosumnes River watershed and the downstream Delta. Upon completion of the project, the Preserve expects that Horseshoe Lake and the upstream reaches of Badger Creek east of Highway 99 will support giant garter snake, sandhill cranes, and other wetland dependent species with minimal annual management requirements.

 

2015-2016 Award Cycle Active Grants

The Fiscal Year 2015-2016 projects that are moving forward under the Delta Conservancy’s Prop 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program are listed below.

Yolo Resource Conservation District, $688,195.65, Yolo Bypass Corridors for Flood Escape on the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

This project addresses regional and Delta priorities and objectives, bringing together a deep partnership to restore a portion of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) in the Yolo Basin. Working with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW), the local Resource Conservation District (RCD), the Yolo Basin Foundation (YBF), Putah Creek Council (PCC), the Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL), Point Blue Conservation Science, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), California Conservation Corps (CCC), UC Davis, lease holding farmers and ranchers, and the general public, Yolo County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD) proposes 2 goals: 1) Address wildlife flood-safety problems and enhance year round habitat in the YBWA;  2) Use regional partnerships to implement a pilot restoration program to provide educational opportunities and create public connections to habitat restoration in the Delta. The project creates corridors in the YBWA to provide multiple benefits: wildlife habitat compatible with floodway management; wildlife escape cover from advancing flood water; habitat to support groundwater recharge and GHG reductions through use of deep-rooted native perennial plants; and increased awareness and appreciation of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and its many values and functions. Five miles/22 acres of new habitat in two corridors will provide cover for wildlife escaping flood events; enhance year-round habitat for migratory birds, pollinators and other wildlife; and provide a public-access demonstration planting. This work will be the first partner-based effort to integrate new wildlife habitat with ongoing agricultural operations on the property. Wildlife use of the habitat corridors will be monitored to measure success and inform future restoration efforts. Proposed restoration sites are a mixture of grazed and unmanaged grasslands consisting primarily of annual grass and noxious invasive weeds. Treatment of noxious plant species will support a diverse mix of regionally appropriate native plant species. Engagement with the regional community through organized field days involving high school students and community volunteers in hands-on learning about restoration and planting native plants in the corridor areas will expose the public to usually off limits parts of the bypass, expanding awareness and understanding of the area’s importance for flood safety, agriculture and wildlife. At project completion, a 2.7 mile Corridor North, 2.2 mile Corridor, South, demonstration planting, project assessment and wildlife monitoring data will help guide next restoration steps will enhance the YBWA. 3 high school field days and 12 community volunteer stewardship events will have engaged hundreds of participants in project implementation, creating enhanced awareness and appreciation of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and its values and functions.

American Rivers, $836,409.00, Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project

American Rivers and its partners, the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed (FOMCW), the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (District), and the City of Brentwood (City), propose a multi-benefit ecosystem restoration project at the confluence of Marsh, Sand, and Deer Creeks (Three Creeks) to convert a denuded flood control channel into a healthy riparian corridor. The Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project will restore native vegetation on 12.5 acres along nearly a mile of Marsh Creek, and floodplain and riparian habitat along 4,000 linear feet of creek. These restoration actions will increase flood protection and contribute to achieving water quality objectives in the Delta. The project will also maximize voluntary landowner participation: all of the project site landowners are involved in and supportive of proposed efforts. The project team’s overall goal is to reestablish the thriving habitat and functional floodplains that are at the heart of healthy creek and wetland ecosystems. The proposed project will greatly enhance the habitat and resilience of the Marsh Creek watershed ecosystem, including increasing resilience to climate change. It will also improve the quality of life for Delta residents in one of the most densely developed areas of the Delta by reducing flood risk, improving recreational opportunities, and providing a place to make meaningful connections with the natural world of the Delta region. This project is an early step in a larger effort by a collaborative team to restore and improve habitat along the entire length of Marsh Creek from Mount Diablo to the Delta.

American Rivers, $73,493.00, Lower Marsh Creek and Sand Creek Watershed Riparian Restoration Planning

The Marsh Creek watershed, located in eastern Contra Costa County, provides an important ecological corridor in a burgeoning urban area of the Delta region. Unfortunately, the watershed is significantly degraded, provides limited habitat and contributes polluted run-off to the Delta. Over the past 15 years, American Rivers’ staff has been working with partners in the region to realize a large-scale, multi-benefit vision to improve habitat, water quality, flood protection and recreational opportunities along the watershed’s creeks. Although some important progress has been made, a piecemeal approach to planning and permitting has been a significant bottleneck. The pace and scale of restoration and conservation are not keeping up with urban development. In the next few years, a confluence of significant opportunities could allow for the restoration of Marsh and Sand Creeks and the treatment of stormwater runoff. However, under status quo conditions, these opportunities could be buried under the next wave of urbanization that is rolling over the watershed. American Rivers and its partners propose a two-prong strategic approach to increasing the pace and scale of restoration and advancing specific on-the-ground efforts: 1) develop a programmatic CEQA document for the lower Marsh and Sand Creek watersheds that will facilitate permitting of multi-benefit projects; and 2) improve stormwater management and ensure it’s integrated with creek restoration. This approach will allow project proponents to advance and implement many restoration and water quality opportunities that have been identified in the last few years. The outcomes anticipated as a result of this approach include: 1) water quality is improved in Marsh and Sand Creeks and their receiving waters, the Delta; 2) flood management and ecosystem resilience to climate change is improved for Delta communities; 3) restored urban greenways are created along Marsh and Sand Creek from the Diablo Range to the Delta;  4) flood protection is improved and riparian habitat is restored in Marsh and Sand Creek; and 5) expedite implementation of projects consistent with the Delta Conservancy’s Strategic Plan and the purposes of Proposition 1.

San Joaquin County RCD, $99,924.00, Paradise Cut Conservation and Flood Management Plan

The proposed project is a category 1 planning grant application to advance plans for a new flood bypass that will reduce flood risk, improve habitat and maintain agricultural land along the San Joaquin River south of Paradise Cut. This bypass was identified as a priority in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan. The new bypass will: Substantially reduce flood stage (1.5 – 3 feet) on the mainstem San Joaquin between Mossdale and Stockton; reduce risk of catastrophic flooding in Lathrop, Manteca, Stockton, and unincorporated San Joaquin County; substantially increase flood conveyance capacity of the San Joaquin floodway; provide floodplain and riparian habitat for a variety of sensitive species including riparian brush rabbit, giant garter snake, Sacramento splittail, and juvenile Chinook salmon; and preserve agricultural land and protect it from uncontrolled flooding. This proposal is focused on: Fully developing conceptual plans and a project description sufficient for advancing a CEQA/NEPA analysis; identifying, analyzing, and advancing near-term restoration projects associated with Paradise Cut; quantifying costs and benefits so that flood managers and other potential implementation funders can make better investment decisions; determining a strategy to expedite a successful Section 408 permit (Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and codified in 33 USC 408, commonly referred to as “Section 408”); completing a finance strategy for subsequent project phases, including project implementation and long-term operations and maintenance; completing a detailed scope of work and budget for NEPA/CEQA analysis; informing local residents and officials so they understand the pros and cons of the project. The project team has also submitted a separate proposal to the Conservancy for a category 2 acquisition grant to purchase flood easements in the Paradise Cut expansion area.

San Joaquin County RCD, $2,000,000.00, Paradise Cut Flood and Conservation Easement Acquisition

The proposed acquisition project is the first implementation phase of a larger effort to establish a new flood bypass that will reduce flood risk, improve habitat and maintain agricultural land along the San Joaquin River south of Paradise Cut. This proposal is focused on acquiring flood and conservation easements to build the bypass. The specific outputs and outcomes of this phase include: Final appraisals and all necessary reviews from the Department of General Services; options are purchased for flood and conservation easements on up to 2,000 acres; the Department of Water Resources and other funding agencies join with the Delta Conservancy in financing acquisition of up to 2,000 acres; and easements are purchased and recorded. The easements will protect habitat for species like Swainson’s hawk whether the flood bypass is built or not. Funding from the Delta Conservancy and other agencies will make it possible to execute all the options and purchase easements at fair market value, as well as provide critical seed money to secure significant contributions from DWR and others. Once the San Joaquin County Resource Conservation District (SJCRCD) has obtained approval from DGS for the purchase price based on a fair market appraisal and secured all of the agreements and funds necessary to complete a transaction on one or more parcels, the SJCRCD will request the Conservancy transfer $2 million into an escrow account that will close when all of the paperwork is finalized to transfer interest in an easement on one or more parcels. The project team has also submitted a proposal to the Delta Conservancy for a planning grant to initiate environmental compliance for the expanded bypass under NEPA and CEQA.

Ducks Unlimited, $2,000,000.00, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project

Funding is reserved for this project.

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project will provide new and enhanced habitat for migrating waterfowl and other species, improve agricultural sustainability and wildlife-friendly agricultural practices, and increase public access opportunities through the construction of drainage and water infrastructure improvements in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. The Project is the top priority in the 2014 Yolo Bypass Drainage and Water Infrastructure Improvement Study, developed collaboratively with local agencies, farmers, wetlands managers, and other stakeholders. The Project will create 220 acres of new wetlands and improve water management on 1,250 acres of existing wetlands and 540 acres of agricultural land. The Project will also increase public access by an average of 7 days per year by reducing localized flooding resulting from insufficient capacity in the existing drainage and water supply system.

California Land Stewardship Institute, $89,450.00, Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The Delta suffers from several water quality problems related to agriculture including pesticide pollution and low dissolved oxygen (DO). Organochlorine pesticides, although removed from use in 1972, remain in agricultural soils. Organophosphate pesticides are used widely in the Delta. Low DO found in many locations can result from algal blooms as a result of fertilizer/nutrient runoff. Improving water quality in the Delta requires recognizing that sources of pollutants are distributed throughout the Delta and that there are many pathways for pollutants to reach waterways. Source control of these pollutants requires changing cultivation and agricultural practices in as many locations as possible. The Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) Certification Program is a voluntary program which has enrolled over 140,000 acres of agricultural lands in eight counties in California. The FFF program has already developed Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) to improve water quality for winegrapes, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, strawberries, apples, walnuts, cherries and livestock grazing. This proposal will produce a version of the FFF program for the Delta. The FFF program will provide for reduction of nonpoint sources through collaborative efforts with growers to change cultivation and land management practices. This approach has the greatest potential to produce long term improvements. An Advisory Committee of growers and agricultural organizations will review the draft farm plan template and BMP workbooks.

Ducks Unlimited, $100,000.00, Sherman Island Wetland Restoration Project, Phase III

The proposed planning project will advance the restoration up to 1,600 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands. The restoration project is located on a portion of Sherman Island which is owned by California Department of Water Resources (DWR). The property is currently managed for flood irrigated pasture and includes a regular and extensive disturbance regime associated with field prepping, disking, and grazing. The restoration project focuses on the restoration of palustrine emergent wetlands, complemented with upland riparian forest, scrub shrub, and grassland to add diversity of structure and habitat to the site. Restoration of wetlands will be accomplished by upgrading existing water management infrastructure and installing new infrastructure such as water control structures and water conveyance channels and swales. The restoration project will combine the wildlife benefits of wetland restoration with the importance of reversing Delta island subsidence. Upland vegetation will be planted on a higher elevation area adjacent to the wetland. The purpose of the wetland sequestration restoration projects is to reverse subsidence by capturing atmospheric carbon and converting it to organic material which in turn creates new soils surface material. Subsided Delta islands are like bowls and if tule wetlands are constructed and permanently flooded, these bowls over time will fill up with rhizome root material (or Carbon). For the proposed planning project, DU will utilize the topographic survey that will be collected by DWR to develop the conceptual, 30% and 60% engineering designs collaboratively with DWR. Additionally DU staff will conduct a wetland delineation of the project area to facilitate submission of the US ACOE 404 permit and other environmental documents. The wetland delineation also functions as a baseline for wetland acres, of which new acres will be identified. The outcome of grant related activities will produce a wetland delineation, report and map, as well as a 60% engineering design.