Conservancy awards $2.8 million for Sierra Nevada projects | SierraSun.com

Conservancy awards $2.8 million for Sierra Nevada projects

Sun News Service

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy has awarded nearly $2.8 million in funding for 48 projects located throughout the Sierra Nevada region.

“Today marks the launch of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s grant funding program,” said Secretary for Resources and SNC Board Chair Mike Chrisman. “We are very pleased to provide financial support for local and region-wide projects that will result in the protection and restoration of Sierra watersheds and natural resources.”

The funding for the grants comes from Proposition 84, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coast Protection Bond Act passed by California voters in November 2006. Proposition 84 included $54 million for the SNC to provide grants to eligible organizations for the protection and restoration of rivers, lakes and streams, their watersheds and associated land, water, and other natural resources.

This year’s state budget includes $17 million of the $54 million for the SNC to distribute by June of 2008. It is anticipated that the additional funds will be appropriated to the Conservancy over the next two fiscal years. This year’s $17 million allocation constitutes the first major source of project funding for distribution by the SNC.

“We are thrilled with the response in terms of the number and quality of applications received,” reported Jim Branham, SNC executive officer. “The projects authorized by the Board most strongly met the evaluation criteria, meaning that these are projects that will make positive contributions towards achieving the goals of the SNC. We anticipate continuing to receive applications for quality projects in future grant cycles.”

SNC staff is currently reviewing applications received for additional awards to be considered by the SNC’s Board at its next meeting in March of 2008. Grant applications received prior to December 30 (for certain types of grants) may be considered at the March meeting. Information regarding the SNC and its grants program can be found at http://www.sierranevada.ca.gov.

The SNC was created by legislation signed into law in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The organization covers an area of 25 million acres in all or part of 22 California counties. It initiates, encourages and supports efforts that improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada region, its communities and the residents of California.