Last week, amid the frantic coverage of the US Congress’ largest spending vote in history, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) added a positive press release to the coverage schedule.
CDFW announced awards from their Watershed Restoration, Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration, and Rivers and Streams Grant Programs. River Partners will receive over $1,150,000 to support three innovative salmon habitat and river recovery projects: Lower Sutter Bypass Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Planning (Feather River), Willow Bend Floodplain Monitoring (Sacramento River), and Alamo and New Rivers Riparian Habitat Restoration Planning and Permitting.
Projects will be funded through California Proposition 1 and Proposition 68, ballot measures passed with bipartisan support, providing billions of dollars to improve and conserve our state’s water resources, protect wildlife and habitat, and create parks and open spaces for community health and enjoyment.
Restoring our state’s riparian areas and floodplains is critical to making our watersheds more resilient. The investments we make today in the work being done by our grantees like River Partners will ensure that habitat for native plants, fish and wildlife continue to be a part of California’s future.
These projects have taken years of dedication from River Partners staff and a broad network of partners to develop. To reach this milestone, River Partners hosted workshops and meetings, recruited support from elected officials and land managers, cultivated science partnerships with leading researchers across the state, secured and managed matching funds, and most importantly worked with CDFW to identify actions with the greatest potential for future scalability and impact.
“CDFW is a long-standing and invaluable partner in River Partners’ pursuit of projects that provide the most promising, scalable outcomes for wildlife, habitat, and California communities,” said John Cain, River Partners Director of Conservation. “Together, we have identified high priority actions that will benefit the people of California as articulated in no fewer than a dozen overlapping conservation and management plans.”
With these awards, River Partners joins the ranks of many other successful, effective and innovative non-profits and municipalities supported by CDFW to restore ecosystem values within California’s complex water management system. Other activities that comprise the $37 million in awarded projects include land and water acquisition, habitat restoration, and scientific studies.
With this support, in Southern California, River Partners will restore riparian habitat along the Alamo and New Rivers. This project will support important riparian wildlife and provide restored open spaces and improved environmental quality along one of the most imperiled rivers in North America.
In the Sacramento Valley, River Partners will cultivate collaboratives to restore rearing habitat for anadromous fish. This restored habitat will protect and support juvenile salmon as they travel out of the valley. This project will benefit salmon and migratory birds, while simultaneously addressing flood management concerns and supporting local agriculture.
At Willow Bend along the active floodplain of the Sacramento River, River Partners is testing a new approach for creating juvenile salmon rearing habitat. This project will be designed for easy scaling, so the method can be used more broadly across the valley.
If state and local health advisories allow, we hope to begin work on these projects in the late summer of 2020.