The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced $20.4 million in awards on May 25 to 15 projects to improve salmon habitat and support climate resiliency, wildlife corridors, and wetlands restoration. This is the third round of grant awards made in 2023, with funding made available last year under Drought, Climate, and Nature-Based Solutions Initiatives, bringing the total grant funding awarded to nearly $80 million.
“As climate-driven challenges to California’s biodiversity continue to grow and shift, our own strategies for new projects must adapt,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said in the press release. “Saving salmon and rebuilding their populations for Californians is the goal, and we are meeting these challenges head-on.”
The CDFW has developed a single set of General Grant Program Guidelines to get restoration completed faster. In addition, the CDFW is continuing to accept applications for new projects and make awards on an ongoing basis. An overview of eligible project types, priorities, and information is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.
Projects awarded with Drought for Salmon Protection and Wildlife Corridors funds will support the planning and implementation of projects to enhance habitat for salmon by removing barriers to fish passage, restoring flows, and providing critical habitat for juvenile rearing salmonids.
Within the CDFW’s Inland Desert Region, two new projects supported with Addressing Climate Impact funds will also focus on the effects of climate-driven weather whiplash on the arroyo toad and the desert salamander.
Throughout central and northern California, Wetlands and Mountain Meadows funds will support projects to restore and enhance floodplains, wetlands, and mountain meadows to benefit fish and wildlife species and their habitat. Work will include enhancing waterfowl habitat on Battle Creek in Shasta County.
According to the CDFW, in the past 90 days, CDFW has awarded just under $80 million to 53 projects statewide from the $200 million in new initiatives made available this year. The CDFW has streamlined the processes for applying for funding, reviewing and finalizing awards, and getting agreements so projects can start without delays. Projects awarded in March and April of 2023 have agreements in place and are currently starting work.
CDFW’s Cutting the Green Tape Program has streamlined the grant process and continues to improve permitting and environmental review of restoration projects statewide.
- The First Slough Fish Passage, Floodplain Restoration, and Coastal Habitat Connectivity Project, awarded grant funds in this round, is moving forward with implementation with the support of a recent concurrence through CDFW’s Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects process.
- The Bull Creek Hamilton Floodplain Restoration Project, awarded funding in this round, recently worked with the Cutting the Green Tape program to secure a streamlined Restoration Management Permit.
These two project efficiencies have saved an estimated $100,000 and countless hours, which can now be diverted to more restoration.
The pace and scale of the CDFW grant funding have also been led by sister agencies, including the Wildlife Conservation Board, who, in the first two months of 2023, awarded just under $70 million in block grants and another $59 million to individual projects for the enhancement and protection of California biodiversity.
This grant funding supports critical initiatives, including conserving 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 under California’s 30×30 initiative, Nature-Based Solutions, and increasing the pace and scale of restoration through Cutting Green Tape.
Once available, more information about these funding opportunities, including guidelines and how to apply, general information about CDFW’s grant programs, and a schedule for upcoming grant solicitations can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.