Here’s the release from Reclamation (Peter Soeth):
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced today the selection of eight entities to receive $333,500 in grants under the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program. These grants will aid in the establishment and expansion of local watershed management groups.
“Developing and supporting local watershed management groups ensures local communities are involved in decisions and is vital to create healthy watersheds,” said Commissioner Connor. “This funding will enable local communities to partner with Reclamation to conserve water in the West and will help Reclamation advance the goals of WaterSMART and the National Blueways System.”
The eight entities recommended for funding are:
- Armand Bayou Nature Center in Texas ($22,000)
- Colorado Watershed Assembly in Colorado ($42,000)
- Crooked River Watershed Council in Oregon ($39,500)
- Deschutes River Council in Oregon ($50,000)
- Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in California ($50,000)
- Spanish Peaks/Purgatoire River Conservation District in Colorado ($50,000)
- Sun River Watershed in Montana ($30,000)
- Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition in Arizona ($50,000)
One of the selected entities is the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in California, a 25-year-old nonprofit organization. It proposes a two year project to expand the watershed group, assess watershed issues and develop a management plan to promote sustainable use. Its proposal includes increasing outreach efforts and the expansion of its website and videos, to be available in English and Spanish.
A complete description of all projects is available at: www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/cwmp/.
Each award is limited to $50,000, although a second year of funding, up to $50,000, may be awarded to successful applicants if sufficient progress is demonstrated and funding is available. No cost-share was required.
The purpose of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is to improve water quality and ecological resilience and to reduce conflicts over water through collaborative conservation efforts in the management of local watersheds. Its primary goal is to address two major concerns synonymous with watershed groups—1) the need for funding to pay the salary of a full-time coordinator and 2) the limited funding available for project management. The Cooperative Watershed Management Program provides financial incentives to mitigate these concerns and to encourage diverse stakeholders to continue to work together.
The Cooperative Watershed Management Program also supports Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s National Blueways System. The National Blueways System highlights and supports river and watershed strategies for sustainable watershed resources that are led by stakeholder communities and organizations.
WaterSMART is a program of the U.S. Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. The SMART in WaterSMART stands for “Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow.”
For more information on the WaterSMART program, visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/.