The Sierra Fund awarded $5.5 million for water projects

The Sierra Fund has received a grant of $5.5 million from the California Department of Water Resources for water quality and supply projects proposed as part of the Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM). The successful proposal, CABY Headwaters Resilience and Adaptability Program, was submitted last winter as part of the Department’s Proposition 84 Round 2 Implementation Grant Solicitation.

This grant, collaboratively assembled by more than a dozen agencies and organizations that began working together in 2007 to integrate their regional water plans in CABY region, includes funding for seven groups of projects. The Sierra Fund served as lead applicant for assembling the grant proposal, and will manage the flow of funds to the projects over the next three years.

“This is a great example of The Sierra Fund’s work to increase and organize investment in our region’s natural resources and communities,” said CEO Elizabeth Martin. “This funding covers a broad range of projects, from new infrastructure that will increase reliability of water delivery and fire safety, to projects that will restore meadows, to projects that will help address our region’s legacy of abandoned mines.”

In early 2013, The Sierra Fund stepped in to provide the capacity needed for organizations and agencies in the CABY Integrated Regional Water Management group (IRWM) to submit a proposal seeking funding for projects to the IRWM grant program. While a recommendation for funding came in late 2013, the final grant award was announced only last week.

The grant includes funding for the following projects (see Table, following, for more details):

  • Camptonville Water System Improvement Project, led by the Camptonville Community Services District
  • City of Placerville Waterline Replacement, led by City of Placerville
  • Water Efficiency, Water Quality and Supply Reliability, jointly led by the Nevada Irrigation District and Placer County Water Agency
  • Wolf Creek Watershed Restoration, Stormwater Source Control and Flood Management, led by nonprofit American Rivers
  • Renewable Energy with Micro and Small Hydro: El Dorado County Small Hydroelectric Development Program, led by El Dorado Irrigation District
  • CABY Mercury and Sediment Abatement Initiative, a suite of seven distinct projects coordinated by The Sierra Fund, which includes:
    • Relief Hill Hydraulic Mine Remediation, led by Tahoe National Forest
    • Malakoff Diggins Feasibility Study, led by The Sierra Fund
    • Omega Diggins and Scotchman Creek Hydraulic Mine Assessment, led by the South Yuba River Citizens League
    • Spring and Shady Creek Mining Impacts Assessment, led by the Yuba Watershed Institute
    • Combie Reservoir Mercury Treatment Facility, led by Nevada Irrigation District
    • Mercury Contaminated Fish: Data Collection and Public Education, led by The Sierra Fund
    • CABY Mercury Forum, coordinated by The Sierra Fund
  • Meadow Restoration, Assessment and Prioritization in the American, Bear and Yuba Watersheds, led by the South Yuba River Citizens League which includes projects on seven meadows in the region

“Not only was the region’s proposal awarded full funding, but it demonstrated how The Sierra Fund can leverage effective partnerships and a small amount of cash for enormous gain for the region,” said Martin. “Our proposal, which was created on a slim budget and a lot of close work with project leads, was the fourth highest ranked proposal in the state, even in competition with other IRWM regions that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their proposals.”

Martin concludes, “The Sierra Fund was so proud to be asked by our CABY partners to be lead applicant on this grant. We are very proud to have brought this funding home to our region, and we look forward to working in our community over the next three years to get all this good work done.”

The Sierra Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, based in Nevada City, CA. The Sierra Fund serves the entire Sierra Nevada region, and is dedicated to the mission of increasing and organizing investment in protecting and restoring the natural resources and communities of the region.

The Cosumnes American Bear Yuba (CABY) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning group is a diverse group of stakeholders who are passionate about making a difference in the region in a consensus-driven manner. CABY is a collaborative planning effort that has adopted an IRWM Plan. CABY comprises more than 30 organizations, representing water supply, conservation, recreation, agriculture, and community interests, as well as federal and local government. Priorities are water quality (maintaining and restoring), water quantity (for both people and the environment, in CABY and statewide), and environmental quality (restoration and preservation).

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has a number of IRWM grant program funding opportunities including for planning, implementation, and stormwater flood management. On February 4, 2014, DWR awarded approximately $131 million in grant funds to 21 proposals. More information about the funded projects is available on DWR’s website including: Final Awards Map [PDF] (1.4 MB), Table (89 KB), and List of Projects (29 KB).

TSF/CABY Projects Awarded Funding : The following is a summary of the specific project budget amounts over the three year life of the project, and each set of project partners, for each project funded in the DWR grant award to TSF/CABY:

Project Name Organizations/ Lead Sponsor Budget
Meadow Restoration and Prioritization in the Yuba, Bear and American River Watersheds South Yuba River Citizens League (primary), Sierra Native Alliance, Tahoe National Forest (Yuba River and American River Ranger Districts), American Rivers, American River Conservancy, Yuba Watershed Institute $308,016
Mercury and Sediment Abatement Initiative The Sierra Fund (primary),Tahoe National Forest, South Yuba River Citizens League, Yuba Watershed Institute, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Irrigation District, Sierra Native Alliance $1,498,524
Wolf Creek Watershed: Restoration, Stormwater Source Control, and Flood Management in a Disadvantaged Community (DAC) American Rivers (primary), City of Grass Valley, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, Sierra Native Alliance $342,499
Camptonville Water System Improvement Project (DAC) Camptonville Community Service District (primary), Camptonville Community Partnership, Sierra Native Alliance $789,341
Water Efficiency, Water Quality and Supply Reliability in the CABY Region: Locksley Intertie and Mt. Vernon Interties for DACs; Canal Lining, Gauging Stations and Water Efficiency Education Nevada Irrigation District and Placer County Water Agency $997,500
City of Placerville Waterline Replacement City of Placerville $950,000
Renewable Energy with Micro and Small Hydro: El Dorado County Small Hydroelectric Development Program El Dorado Irrigation District $380,000
Total Grant Award: $5,543,032