In a significant move to protect California’s biodiversity and combat climate challenges, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the allocation of $20.4 million to fund 15 projects. These initiatives aim to improve salmon habitat, establish wildlife corridors, and restore wetlands, all while enhancing climate resilience. This marks the third round of grant awards in 2023, with funding made available last year through the Drought, Climate, and Nature-Based Solutions Initiatives. The total grant funding awarded has now reached nearly $80 million.
“As climate-driven challenges to California’s biodiversity continue to grow and shift, our own strategies for new projects must adapt. Saving salmon and rebuilding their populations for Californians is the goal, and we are meeting these challenges head-on.”CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham
To expedite restoration efforts, CDFW has introduced a unified set of General Grant Program Guidelines. The department remains open to applications for new projects and will continue to make awards on an ongoing basis. For information on eligible project types, priorities, and application details, interested parties can visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.
Statewide Efforts to Protect Species and Habitats
The grants awarded under the Drought for Salmon Protection and Wildlife Corridors funds will support the planning and implementation of projects aimed at enhancing salmon habitat. These initiatives include removing barriers to fish passage, restoring flows, and providing critical habitat for juvenile rearing salmonids.
In Northern California, the Wetlands and Mountain Meadows funds will contribute to the restoration and enhancement of floodplains, wetlands, and mountain meadows. These efforts will benefit various fish and wildlife species and their habitats. Notably, the project will also focus on enhancing waterfowl habitat on Battle Creek in Shasta County.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the projects awarded, interested individuals can access the details online.
Accelerating Restoration Efforts
Over the past 90 days, CDFW has granted nearly $80 million to 53 projects across the state, out of the $200 million in new initiatives available this year. CDFW has streamlined the funding application, review, and award processes, as well as the establishment of agreements to minimize delays. Projects awarded in March and April 2023 have already commenced work with agreements in place.
To further expedite restoration initiatives, CDFW’s Cutting the Green Tape Program has improved the grant process and facilitated permitting and environmental reviews of restoration projects statewide.
Two projects awarded funding in this round, the First Slough Fish Passage, Floodplain Restoration and Coastal Habitat Connectivity Project, and the Bull Creek Hamilton Floodplain Restoration Project, have taken advantage of the streamlined processes. The First Slough project has received support through CDFW’s Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects process, while the Bull Creek Hamilton project obtained a streamlined Restoration Management Permit with the assistance of the Cutting the Green Tape program. These efficiency measures have saved approximately $100,000 and numerous work hours, allowing for redirected efforts toward additional restoration endeavors.
CDFW’s grant funding pace and scale have also been bolstered by collaborating agencies such as the Wildlife Conservation Board. In the first two months of 2023 alone, the Wildlife Conservation Board awarded nearly $70 million in block grants and an additional $59 million to individual projects for the protection and enhancement of California’s biodiversity.
This grant funding aligns with key initiatives, including California’s 30×30 initiative, which aims to conserve 30 percent of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. It also supports Nature-Based Solutions and the acceleration of restoration efforts through the Cutting Green Tape program.
For more information about these funding opportunities, including guidelines and application procedures, general information about CDFW’s grant programs, and upcoming grant solicitations, interested parties can visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.
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