Press Releases


Department of the Interior

Project Title: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, San Francisco Bay Salt Pond Restoration
Recipient:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Location:  San Francisco Bay, CA
Amount Requested:  $2,500,000

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is managing 9,600 acres of the South Bay Salt Ponds, which were brought into public ownership in 2003.  Funding is needed to effectively manage and restore these lands, including installation and management of water control structures, levee maintenance, and monitoring of salt ponds. Restoration will provide dramatic benefits to the region, state and nation by transforming these former salt ponds into a vibrant wetlands area that will provide extensive habitat for federally endangered birds, fish and wildlife. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because funding supports the second largest habitat and wetlands restoration project in the country.  In addition, levee maintenance is necessary to protect the people and property of the Silicon Valley.

Project Title: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR, San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Monitoring and Research
Recipient:  U.S. Geological Survey
Location:  San Francisco Bay, CA
Amount Requested:  $500,000

The U.S. Geological Survey will use this funding to conduct bird and fish species monitoring, mercury investigations, and water quality studies.  The plan for the salt ponds restoration anticipates a variety of habitats that will change as the restoration progresses.  With restoration work occurring in both the South Bay and North Bay salt ponds, there is an urgent need for monitoring to guide planning and implementation efforts.  The data provided will serve as an important tool in supporting this adaptive restoration program, and the continuance of the project and future restoration activities are dependent upon monitoring as the project is proceeding based on adaptive management techniques.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it is critical that monitoring occur to ensure that this nationally-significant project is guided and implemented in an effective manner.

Project Title: Golden Gate National Recreation Area – Alcatraz Island
Recipient:  National Park Service
Location:  San Francisco, CA
Amount Requested:  $5,000,000

The National Park Service needs to conduct a number of repairs to the historical penitentiary on Alcatraz Island to protect visitors and this national landmark.  The most significant aspect of the project is to repoint the cement work above the entryways to the main cellhouse.  When it was built, the workers added decorative features above the doorways, which are deteriorating and must be restored or they will endanger visitors.  Doorways have deteriorated to such a state that the Park Service will close these entryways until repairs are completed. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide the public with an opportunity to visit this historic building in a refurbished state, which contributes to the national priority of preserving historic buildings.

Project Title: Golden Gate National Recreation Area – China Beach Retaining Wall
Recipient:  National Park Service
Location:  San Francisco, CA
Amount Requested:  $2,000,000

The retaining wall at China Beach, which supports the parking lot and allows for public access, requires rehabilitation.  These 50-year-old metal walls are rusting, bowing, and sagging.  788 feet of metal walls will be replaced with concrete, which will not require extensive construction.  The project also calls for the installation of erosion control measures to secure 850 square yards of eroded bluff, which will prevent further deterioration of the bluff and the potential for landslides.  The Park Service uses the beach for its Ocean Rescue Cache and rescue boat launch for a quick response time to Baker Beach, Lands End, and Ocean Beach.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it maintains public access to publicly-owned land and allows the Park Service to continue its life-saving operations from the most ideal location.

Project Title: Lake Tahoe Invasive Species Inspection Program
Recipient:  Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Location:  128 Market Street, Stateline, NV 89449
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

These funds would be used to continue implementation of the Lake Tahoe Region Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan, which was adopted in 2009 to address the serious threat to Lake Tahoe’s unique ecosystem by the introduction of non-native plants and animals.  The proliferation of these species can lead to degradation of water quality, loss of habitat for native species, and obstructing water conveyance infrastructure.  Without a comprehensive prevention, monitoring, and control effort, new introductions will occur and species already present will spread.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer dollars because the significant federal investment into preserving and restoring Lake Tahoe will be negated by the introduction of aquatic invasive species.

Project Title: Mission San Juan Bautista Preservation
Recipient:  California Missions Foundation
Location:  4129 Main Street, Suite 207, Riverside, CA  92501
Amount Requested:  $750,000

Funding will be utilized for historic structure preservation and seismic retrofit at the San Juan Bautista Mission.  This mission was founded in 1797 and the main sanctuary, which is the largest in the mission chain, was completed in 1812.  However, the mission is built directly over the San Andreas Fault, which has led to both major and minor damage in the last two hundred years.  The sanctuary requires roof repair to stop water intrusion, which has destabilized the adobe walls, making them more vulnerable to earthquake activity.  The convento building also requires a seismic retrofit and reconstruction of its adobe walls.  The California Missions Foundation matches and federal investment at least dollar for dollar.  This is an important use of taxpayer funds because it will give the public an opportunity to view this historic mission in a refurbished state, which contributes to the national priority of preserving historic buildings.

Project Title: Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Inholdings
Recipient:  Bureau of Land Management
Location:  Riverside County, CA
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

Available for purchase are 500 acres of inholdings within the Bureau of Land Management’s holdings in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.  Acquisition of these properties will support the Coachella Valley Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide recreational opportunities and protect critical habitat for native species.  The President’s Budget request includes $500,000 for this project, and I am requesting an additional $1 million.

Project Title: Yosemite National Park Schools (P.L. 109-131)
Recipient:  Bass Lake Joint Union Elementary School District and the Mariposa Unified School District
Location:  40096 Indian Springs Road, Oakhurst, CA 93644 (Bass Lake); and P. O. Box 8, Mariposa, California, 95338 (Mariposa)
Amount Requested:  $400,000

Three schools serve the children of Park Service employees at Yosemite National Park.  In 2005, Congress enacted legislation to provide funding that will ensure that Yosemite school students have access to the same educational opportunities as the rest of the country.  Without these schools, children would have to travel more than 90 miles roundtrip each day to attend school.  The authorization of these appropriations was extended in 2009.  This is an important use of taxpayer funds because, due to the small student populations and geographic isolation of these schools, they have difficulty providing educational programs.

Environmental Protection Agency

Project Title:  Anaheim Recycled Water Project
Recipient:  City of Anaheim
Location:  200 South Anaheim Boulevard, Anaheim, CA 92805
Amount Requested:  $500,000

Anaheim is constructing a 100,000 gallon per day recycled water facility adjacent to City Hall. This project will provide a new drought-proof water source, reducing demand on the Orange County groundwater basin, the Colorado River and the California State Water Project. The estimated water savings as a result of this recycled water project is 112 acre-feet per year.  The total cost of this project is $10 million, and the City has secured $8.5 million in matching funds. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide an alternative local water source for the residents of Anaheim, who rely primarily upon imported water.

Project Title: Borrego Springs Water Supply
Recipient:  Borrego Water District
Location:  806 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
Amount Requested:  $500,000

The community of Borrego Springs in eastern San Diego County has a sole source aquifer that is seriously over drafted (20,000 acre feet pumped per year with a recharge rate of 5,000 acre feet).  The Water District has implemented a number of strategies to decrease water use, but in order to recharge the basin and provide adequate water supply, an imported source is required.  These funds are for monitoring wells in an adjacent basin to determine if taking that water will harm the environment.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide an alternative water source for the residents of this water-poor area.

Project Title: California Emissions Reduction Grants
Recipient:  San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD)
Location:  SJVAPCD:  1990 East Gettysburg Avenue, Fresno, CA  93726; and South Coast AQMD: 21865 Copley Drive, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Amount Requested:  $10,000,000

The South Coast Air Basin has some of the worst air quality in the nation and suffers from the greatest population-weighted health risk as a result of high particulate and air toxics emissions, while the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin is facing significant challenges in its efforts to meet the federally mandated ambient air quality standards.  Major sources of pollution from mobile sources include trucks, port activities, locomotives, marine vessels, and construction equipment.  Heavy-duty diesel trucks produce significant amounts of smog-forming emissions like Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and fire particulates (PM2.5), and greenhouse gas emissions, with truck emissions expected to grow significantly with projected population and trade growth in the two regions.  Emissions from heavy-duty trucks must be significantly reduced to meet air quality goals. Both districts have developed action plans for emissions reduction, which will rely on the investment of federal dollars. This project benefits taxpayers by improving air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, which promotes public health.

Project Title: Combie Reservoir Sediment and Mercury Removal
Recipient:  Nevada Irrigation District
Location:  1036 West Main Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
Amount Requested:  $3,000,000

The Nevada Irrigation District needs to remove 300 pounds of Gold Rush-era mercury contaminating Combie Reservoir, north of Auburn.  Mercury contamination has left the Reservoir’s drinking water supply unusable, and has also led the Regional Water Quality Control Board to halt dredging that maintained the Reservoir’s water storage capacity.  The District is working on a new approach to remove mercury, treating dredged sediment using a centrifuge to ‘spin out’ the mercury.  The District expects they will be able to remove 200 pounds of mercury and 200,000 tons of sediment over a five year period.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it will restore a public drinking water supply and prove a technique that can be used by other water districts with similar problems.

Project Title: Gateway Cities Stormwater Infrastructure
Recipient:  Los Angeles Gateway Region IRWM Joint Powers Authority
Location:  11111 Brookshire Avenue, Downey, CA 90241
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

This is a regional project of the 27 cities of the Gateway Council of Governments in Southeast Los Angeles County, representing 2 million residents.  Funding will be used toward a $41 million program to install stormwater treatment devices to capture trash, bacteria, and oils from urban street runoff to decrease discharges into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and into San Pedro Bay.  The cities are ready to begin design, engineering, and installation of screens and filters in 24,800 catch basins.  The cities will use State Integrated Regional Water Management Plan funds to match any federal investment.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it will reduce urban runoff and contamination of two rivers, improving public safety and health and protecting aquatic ecosystems.

Project Title: Georgetown Divide Water Infrastructure Technical Correction
Recipient:  Georgetown Divide Public Utility District
Location:  6425 Main Street, Georgetown, CA 95634
Amount Requested:  Technical Correction

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District has determined that instead of building a new water treatment plant, it is more cost-effective to expand its current water treatment facility.  The District received funding in Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L. 109-54) designated for the new Greenwood Lake Water Treatment Plant, which will not be built.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer dollars because it will improve sanitation and public health.  I am requesting the following technical correction to allow the District to use those funds for improvements to its current facilities:

Item number 22 in the Conference Report accompanying P.L. 109-54 for the Georgetown, CA Greenwood Lake Water Treatment Facility for $1,500,000 shall be made available to the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District for water and wastewater infrastructure.

Project Title: Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Environmental Cleanup
Recipient:  BRAC Program Management Office
Location:  San Francisco, CA
Amount Requested:  $8,000,000

Since its closure in 1974, the Hunters Point Shipyard has been a neglected and contaminated neighbor to the Bayview/Hunters Point community. The City of San Francisco has been working to cleanup and transform the former Navy shipyard into a source of jobs, economic development, parks and affordable housing.  These funds will allow for the continued cleanup of Hunters Point.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because, once cleanup is complete, this site will be an important source of much-needed jobs, economic development, and affordable housing.

Project Title: Kettleman City Water Infrastructure Improvements
Recipient:  Kings County
Location:  1400 Lacey Boulevard, Hanford, CA 93230
Amount Requested:  $3,750,000

For more than a decade, the community of Kettleman City has suffered from inadequate and poor quality drinking water.  Arsenic and benzine are prevalent in the community's water supply and pose an immediate and long-term health concern for residents.  Kettleman City is located adjacent to the California Aqueduct and has secured a water right, but needs help to construct a new water treatment facility and storage tanks to access this source.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it will provide a clean source of water for this economically-depressed community.

Project Title:  Los Angeles Coastal Interceptor Sewer Project
Recipient:  City of Los Angeles
Location:  200 North Spring Street, Third Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

Coastal sewage pollution in the Santa Monica Bay frequently requires beach closures to prevent human contact with the outfall.  A relief sewer is needed to handle the increased sewage flows associated with the Santa Monica Canyon and the Palisades Park Low Flow Diversion upgrades, which are being implemented to mitigate this problem and bring the City into full compliance with Federal and State bacterial requirements.  This project proposes to construct a 4,500 foot long sewer to provide additional sewer capacity beyond that of the existing system, by capturing stormwater and directing it to a wastewater treatment plant instead of discharging it directly to the ocean.  The additional capacity will also allow nearby areas (Malibu, Mandeville Canyon, and Topanga Canyon) that are served by septic tanks to connect to a sewer system.  The total project will cost $15 million, towards which the City has secured $13 million using funding provided by Proposition O and the City’s Sewer Construction and Maintenance Fund. This project is a valuable use of taxpayer funding because its implementation is expected to have a significant effect on the water quality of the Santa Monica Bay.  Additionally, moving residents off septic use will reduce the danger of contamination in area streams and creeks.

Project Title: New River Project Box Culvert
Recipient:  City of Calexico
Location:  608 Heber Avenue, Calexico, CA 92231
Amount Requested:  $600,000

The New River, which flows north from Mexicali through Calexico and Imperial County, is the most polluted river in North America, with more than 100 biological contaminants, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and pesticides.  In order to treat the polluted water before it enters the United States, EPA has worked with Mexico to build two water treatment plants in Mexicali.  However, significant trash and sewage continue to flow north across the border.  Calexico is planning to cover the river in a culvert below ground in order to protect residents.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it will improve sanitation and public health in the City of Calexico.

Project Title: Orange Cove Water Infrastructure Improvements
Recipient:  City of Orange Cove
Location:  633 Sixth Street, Orange Cove, CA 93646
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

The City of Orange Cove is upgrading its water and wastewater treatment plants, which are having difficulty meeting current water quality standards.  The water treatment plant is too small to meet current water demand and outdated chemical storage and feed equipment are significant safety hazards.  The wastewater treatment plant requires new distribution lines, filters, pumps, and storage pond to handle increased effluent flows.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will improve drinking water quality, sanitation, and public health in this economically-depressed community.

Project Title: San Francisco Bay Competitive Grant Program
Recipient:  Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
Location:  75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Amount Requested:  $7,000,000

This funding will continue the EPA’s competitive grant program for local governments and non-profit organizations working to restore the San Francisco Bay.  Projects to date have focused on improvements to city stormwater systems, controlling agricultural runoff, and removing PCBs and mercury from Bay Area watersheds.  All grant funding is matched by the local sponsors.  These grants are a valuable use of taxpayer funds because they support improvements to water quality and public health, controlling pollution from agricultural and urban runoff, and restoration of wetland habitat.

U.S. Forest Service

Project Title: California Fire Safe Councils Community Fire Risk Reduction Grants
Recipient:  California Fire Safe Council
Location:  502 West Route 66, Glendora, CA 91740
Amount Requested:  $5,000,000

California has more than 150 of these community-based organizations, which are authorized by the State to work actively toward minimizing the potential for wildfire damage and promote the health of California’s natural resources. Fire Safe Councils across California have completed their county and community fire plans, which outline strategies for fuel reduction, planning, and education.  The Councils are implementing these strategic goals to protect public and private lands, as well as life and property. Projects include reduction and treatment of fuels in areas with a history of wildfire conflagration. This grant program is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because funding goes toward the effective reduction of fire hazards, protecting land, public safety and property.

Project Title: Lake Tahoe Community Fire Protection Project
Recipient:  South Tahoe Public Utility District
Location:  1275 Meadow Crest Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Amount Requested:  $5,000,000

The public water agencies in the Tahoe Basin, from California and Nevada, have joined together as the Lake Tahoe Community Fire Protection Project to improve their water distribution systems to better prepare for fire danger.  A majority of the water distribution system is over 50 years old, and was originally constructed as individual, small, privately-owned systems not designed to provide the fire flows necessary to meet current fire codes.  The agencies are replacing hundreds of thousands of feet of undersized, 1.5-inch water lines with six-inch water lines, installing fire hydrants where they did not exist before, and integrating their systems so they are able to assist one another during a fire. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will facilitate water distribution, providing greater protection for property and public safety in the Lake Tahoe region, saving the federal government millions in fire suppression dollars in the event of a catastrophic fire.

Project Title: Small Forest Products Infrastructure Assistance Grants
Recipient:  U.S. Forest Service, Region 5 – Pacific Southwest
Location:  1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, California
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

This grant program, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, provides assistance to transport hazardous fuels to sawmills, which would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, leaving trees cut down for fuels reduction piling up in our National Forests. The program will offset the trucking costs of transporting these hazardous fuels for processing. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because removing these hazardous fuels will decrease the danger of fire, and provide economic benefits for local communities.

Project Title: Smith River National Recreation Area
Recipient:  U.S. Forest Service
Location:  Del Norte County, CA
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

Available for purchase are 5,360 acres, representing the last, large remaining inholding in the Smith River National Recreation Area, which was established in 1990 (P.L. 101-612).  This inholding acquisition will protect the Smith River tributaries of Hurdygurdy Creek, Little Jones Creek, and the Siskiyou Fork, which contain critical salmon spawning habitat.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide recreational opportunities, support critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and protect sensitive habitats.

Project Title: Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests Inholdings
Recipient:  U.S. Forest Service
Location:  Sierra, Nevada, Placer, and El Dorado Counties
Amount Requested:  $1,500,000

Continued acquisitions in the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests support the consolidation of land under the Forest Service, which allows for improved management for wildfires, recreation, and habitat protection, including for the spotted owl, American marten, and Sierra Nevada red fox. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will provide recreational opportunities, support critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and protect sensitive habitats. The President’s Budget request includes $3.5 million for this project, and I am requesting an additional $1.5 million.

Project Title:  Wilshire Boulevard Temple
Recipient:  Wilshire Boulevard Temple
Location:  3663 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Amount Requested:  $500,000

Wilshire Boulevard Temple was founded in 1862 and the domed sanctuary, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dates from 1929.  The Temple’s buildings need seismic retrofitting and historic restoration.  Along with this work, the congregation has decided to undertake a redevelopment of the adjacent campus to provide a new childcare center and elementary school and office space for nonprofit organizations offering medical, social and legal services to low-income neighbors.  The Temple is the oldest Jewish institution in Los Angeles and serves 2,500 member families.  These funds will be used to renovate and retrofit the historic sanctuary.  This is an important use of taxpayer funds because it will give the public an opportunity to view this historic temple in a refurbished state, which contributes to the national priority of preserving historic buildings.