Thousand Oaks, CA. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) announced that United Water Conservation District will receive $750,000 in funding to support the planning phase of the United Water Conservation District Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This grant is awarded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF), and partially funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“I am very pleased that United Water Conservation District will receive these critical funds to protect endangered species and ensure that local groundwater resources are maintained, which benefit agricultural and municipal entities,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “It is also important that Congress reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps local communities protect their natural areas and resources at no cost to the taxpayers.”
“We thank Congresswoman Brownley for her continued support in Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Mauricio E. Guardado, Jr., General Manager of the United Water Conservation District. “We are thrilled to receive this grant, which will support the planning phase of HCP and protect threatened and endangered species in the Santa Clara River while offsetting costs that would otherwise be burdened by our rate payers.”
The draft HCP covers portions of the Santa Clara River watershed upstream and downstream of the Vern Freeman Diversion in Ventura County. It would implement a conservation program to benefit 11 threatened or endangered species, including construction of a fish passage facility for southern California steelhead and Pacific lamprey, while continuing to operate and maintain United’s Freeman Diversion facility to benefit regional groundwater resources, as well as municipal and agricultural entities that rely on water from the Santa Clara River.
The LWCF, which is set to expire on September 30, 2015, has conserved iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects such as playgrounds, parks, refuges, and baseball fields.
Congresswoman Brownley has been a strong advocate for the LWCF, and has cosponsored H.R. 1814, legislation to permanently reauthorize it.