Over $50 million awarded to California environmental projects

California redwood forest
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February 22, 2023 – Environmental protection projects in California received great news from the state’s Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) this weekOpens in a new tab.. At its quarterly meeting on February 16, 2023, WCB approved $51.83 million in grants to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitats across California.

A total of 25 projects were approved, many of which involve streams, wetlands and other water-related preservation activities.  The largest grant was awarded to Save the Redwoods LeagueOpens in a new tab., a nonprofit organization formed in 1918 that is focused on protecting old growth redwood forests. According to the League’s website,

The redwood forests are true wonders of the world — as significant to our planet as the Amazon rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and the Serengeti. Home to the tallest and largest trees on the planet, old-growth redwood forests store more carbon than any other known ecosystems. These are the greatest forests in the world.

Explosive demand for lumber after the 1849 Gold Rush devastated what were once vast, ancient redwood forests that stretched from Central California to Southern Oregon. Just 5 percent of the original coast redwood range remains.

Grant funding came from multiple sources, including the state’s General Fund, Habitat Conservation Fund, and bond measures that California voters have approved to help preserve and protect the state’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $2.1 million grant to the Mid Klamath Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  to conduct prioritization, planning, design and permitting actions for 16 miles of high value waterways in the mid-Klamath River basin where restoration activities following the removal of the Klamath Dam will benefit migratory salmonids and other aquatic species.
  • A $1.27 million grant to the Montague Water Conservation District for a cooperative project with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to repair 1.19 miles of the Montague Water Conservation District’s Main Canal and to dedicate cold water annually for instream benefit to migratory salmonids and other aquatic species in the Shasta River in Siskiyou County.
  •  A $4.3 million grant augmentation to the Ventura County Watershed Protection District for a planning project that will complete final design plans for Matilija Dam removal and for three downstream levee construction and rehabilitation projects, which are essential components to support future restoration of the most productive and resilient spawning and rearing habitat for Southern California steelhead in support of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project located four miles northwest of the city of Ojai in Ventura County.
  • A $4.9 million grant to the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains for a cooperative planning project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks), and Caltrans to develop the technical studies, environmental review and outreach necessary to restore the Topanga Lagoon located within the third largest watershed that drains into the Santa Monica Bay and maintains a natural hydrologic regime that supports three native fish species and over 20 native amphibians, including a population of endangered tidewater goby and Southern California steelhead in Los Angeles County.
  • A $1.35 million grant to California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 4,922 acres of land for the protection and preservation of stream flow, migratory bird habitat, seasonal upland wetlands, rangelands, grasslands and habitat linkages located near the community of Bieber in Lassen and Modoc counties.
  •  A $1.5 million grant to Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to acquire approximately 88 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered habitat and to provide for future wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities located near Malibu in Los Angeles County.
  • A $1.97 million grant to the Friends of the Dunes for a cooperative project with the Tollowa Dunes Stewards, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Parks, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tollowa Dee-ni’ Nation to remove non-native vegetation, restoring 17.8 acres of coastal dune, coastal prairie, open sandspit, estuarine and freshwater wetland habitat within the Lake Earl Wildlife Area in Del Norte County.
  • An $11 million grant to Save the Redwoods League for a cooperative project with the National Park Service, State Parks and CAL FIRE to enhance forest health and reduce hazardous fuels through selective thinning on 1,000 acres of mixed conifer forest and four miles of road removal in Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • A $1.81 million grant to California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete wetland, riparian and upland habitat enhancement at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve located in the town of Blythe in Riverside County.

For more information about the WCB, visit wcb.ca.govOpens in a new tab..


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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