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$82 million available for restoration

December 30, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — The state has made $82 million in grant money available for watershed restoration to curb polluted runoff and protect coastal waters, according to the governor's office.

The money is available through the state Water Resources Control Board from a $1.97 billion bond issue approved by voters in March 2000. The bond issue was titled the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection and Flood Protection Act of 2000, Proposition 13.

Overall, the state board is responsible for allocating $763.9 million to various entities during the next three years. The state board is expected to allocate a large portion of the funding to small and low-income communities.

"Without this infusion of money, many smaller groups and communities cannot effectively tackle these important local environmental problems," said state board Chairman Arthur G. Baggett Jr.

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Locally, the bond issue received the formal endorsement of the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, though one director opposed it because the bond issue made $3 million available for a San Diego/Tijuana canal feasibility study. The IID board has formally opposed such a conveyance.

The Imperial County Farm Bureau, at the time, expressed concerns that no money was available in the bond issue for the surface storage of water while it would make money available for the purchase of ag land to convert into species habitat. The Farm Bureau considered the latter a taking of ag land.

Earlier this year, the state board allocated more than $40 million to 63 water quality projects.

Proposals for new projects are due to the state board by Feb. 1, 2002.

Parties interested in obtaining grant money are encouraged to attend a public workshop at 10 a.m. Jan. 8 at the Imperial County Irrigated Desert Research Station.

Other workshops are scheduled for Jan. 7 in Los Angeles, Jan. 8 in Sacramento, Jan. 15 in Modesto and Jan. 17 in Red Bluff.

For more information, call (916) 341-5499 or visit www.swrcb.ca.gov/prop13/index.html

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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