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U.S. EPA awards $5.2 million to protect and restore San Francisco Bay

Oct 11, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded about $5.2 million for water protection and restoration projects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“A healthy San Francisco Bay is vital to the environmental and economic health of the region,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "EPA is succeeding in our mission to protect and restore habitats and water quality by supporting local partners and projects."

San Francisco Bay is a designated "estuary of national significance" under the Clean Water Act. The bay and its tributary streams, situated in an urban area with more than seven million people, provide crucial fish and wildlife habitat at the heart of the larger Bay-Delta Estuary. The bay’s users and nearby residents are all affected by threats to its ecological health, including legacy pollutants like mercury and PCBs, polluted stormwater, and the challenges of drought and climate change.

Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, announced the funding today at the 13th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference in Oakland.

The following organizations received EPA grants for projects that benefit San Francisco Bay and its watersheds:

--   Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District will receive $1.5 million for the restoration of Lower Walnut Creek. This project will restore up to 110 acres of tidal wetlands and an additional 100 acres of transitional habitat (areas that will become wetlands as sea levels rise).
--   San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will receive $1.2 million for remediation work at India Basin Waterfront Parks. This project will restore an area of tidal marsh with shoreline access by removing about 3,500 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with PCBs, copper, lead, mercury, and nickel.
--   Zone 7 Flood Control Agency will receive $1.1 million for watershed restoration work on Alameda Creek. This project will include constructing more than 2,000 feet of stream bank setbacks and floodplain areas, improving flood protection and steelhead trout habitat.
--   Ducks Unlimited will receive $500,000 for the continuation of wetland restoration work at Eden Landing, near Hayward. This phase will include designing plans to restore 1,300 acres of tidal wetlands, improving flood protection and habitat for endangered species, such as the Ridgway’s rail and salt marsh harvest mouse.

EPA also awarded a combined $878,245 to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to protect and restore water quality in and around the bay. This includes a $600,000 National Estuary Program grant for the implementation of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership's Estuary Blueprint. The Blueprint addresses issues such as rising sea levels, habitat loss, and urban pollutants through projects that include pollution prevention education for boaters and stormwater infrastructure development.

ABAG will also receive a $278,245 wetland grant to work in partnership with the San Francisco Estuary Institute on the development of a Bay Area wetland regional monitoring plan. The plan will provide a consistent way to measure over time how tidal wetlands are responding to both restoration efforts and stressors (such as sea level rise).

For more information about EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund, visit: http://www.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/sf-bay-water-quality-improvement-fund

For more information about EPA’s National Estuary Program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/nep      

For more information about EPA’s Wetland Program Development Grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wetlands/wetland-program-development-grants

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