Current Projects

In 2011, the Greater Monterey County IRWM region received a total of $4,139,009 in IRWM Implementation Grant funds to implement seven environmental and water resource management projects. Those projects are currently being implemented. Below is a brief summary of the seven projects, along with the award amounts and each project’s primary resource areas.

City of Soledad: Soledad Water Recycling/ Reclamation Project
Awarded Amount: $904,480
Primary Resource Area(s): water supply
Project Summary: The City of Soledad is designing and constructing, in fundable phases, the balance of the Soledad Water Reclamation Project. The 5.5 million-gallon/day (MGD) Water Reclamation Facility was substantially complete on February 24, 2010. This project includes completion of design of a recycle water delivery system to both agricultural and recreation areas in and near the City of Soledad. The project also includes research on the use of recycled water for agricultural uses. The entire project costs an estimated $45M. The first phase, which is being implemented through this grant, is to construct the recycled water pump station and to design and construct the transmission mains needed to connect the recycled water transmission mains already constructed to the pump station. Completion of this phase will enable delivery of recycled water to multiple landscaped areas currently being irrigated with potable water. This first phase will also include a feasibility study and preliminary conceptual design for the neighboring communities of Gonzales and Greenfield for delivery of their cities’ wastewater to the Soledad Water Reclamation Facility for processing.

Castroville Community Services District: Castroville CSD Well 2B Treatment Project [DAC project]
Awarded Amount: $581,000
Primary Resource Area(s): water supply + water quality
Project Summary: The project consists of construction of a well pump and arsenic removal treatment system for an existing well in Castroville, CA. This is a water supply enhancement project. Castroville’s wells are in the 180/400-Foot Aquifer of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, and were experiencing increased salinity due to seawater intrusion. The overall project is to construct a new well in the deeper 900-Foot Aquifer and reduce pumping from the shallower aquifers. In 2007, Castroville Water District (now the Castroville Community Services District) drilled a new well, No. 2B, into the 900-Foot Aquifer. Water quality testing indicated that arsenic levels in the new well (17 parts per billion [ppb]) exceeded the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for drinking water (10 ppb). The District has designed the well pump and treatment system for the new well, but has not initiated construction.

San Jerardo Cooperative, Inc.: San Jerardo Wastewater Project [DAC project]
Awarded Amount: $924,455
Primary Resource Area(s): water quality
Project Summary: This project consists of construction to upgrade the wastewater facility at San Jerardo Cooperative, a farm-worker housing collective. San Jerardo is a DAC that is confronted with serious drinking water, wastewater, and human health concerns. The community runs its own wastewater system in the form of four ponds, leach fields, and a machine room. The area’s groundwater, and hence the community’s drinking water, is threatened by nitrate contamination and other issues. The community urgently needs to upgrade the wastewater system to prevent further water quality deterioration. In addition, the current system is at capacity, and the proposed repairs and upgrade are necessary to ensure compliance with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (RWQCB)Waste Discharge Requirement Order No. R3-2003-0054 and to prevent further groundwater contamination in the Salinas Valley – East Side aquifer. The project is in close collaboration with a number of entities, including: Monterey County; the Central Coast RWQCB; Rural Community Assistance Corporation; Engineers Without Borders; and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.

Elkhorn Slough Foundation: Integrated Ecosystem Restoration in Elkhorn Slough
Awarded Amount: $822,242
Primary Resource Area(s): natural resource enhancement + flood management + water quality
Project Summary: In this project, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Moss Landing Harbor District, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and the County of Santa Cruz, will restore up to 90 acres of tidal salt marsh and a 30-acre native grassland buffer to provide habitat and reduce non-point source pollution in Elkhorn Slough. The marsh will be restored through the placement of sediment to be removed from Moss Landing Harbor and benches along the Pajaro River, making harbor maintenance and flood protection projects more effective and with fewer impacts on the environment. The project will address these specific problems through a collaborative approach and using a phased implementation approach. Prior phases included property acquisition and establishment of a buffer between farmland and the estuary. The next phase, the focus of this grant, includes: planning to finalize the project description and conduct California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, engineering to a 30% design, establishment of native grassland in portions of the vegetated buffer, and site preparation for receiving sediment.

Central Coast Wetlands Group at Moss Landing Marine Labs through San Jose State Research Foundation: Water Quality Enhancement of the Tembladero Slough and Coastal Access for the Community of Castroville
Awarded Amount: $341,698
Primary Resource Area(s): flood/watershed management + natural resource enhancement + water quality
Project Summary: This project aims to enhance the thoroughly degraded Tembladero Slough, a water body that currently has 14 303(d) listed pollutants, which flows untreated into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Enhancement will be achieved through a collaborative effort between County planners, farmers, scientific researchers, and the community. In this first phase of the project, the Coordination Team will redesign the form and function of the lower drainage to include wetland enhancement projects, water quality treatment areas, and public access, while addressing agriculture discharge permits, the Castroville Redevelopment Plan, and the County Flood Control Program. In the second phase, the Coordination Team will improve water quality through the purchase of easements and creation of treatment wetlands in strategic locations along the slough, improve flood plain open space areas, create enhanced habitat, and construct public access trails where possible.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Central Coast Wetlands Group, and the Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Monterey County: Watershed Approach to Water Quality Solutions
Awarded Amount: $372,413
Primary Resource Area(s): water quality + flood/watershed management
Project Summary: This project will take a watershed approach to improve water quality in Santa Rita Creek, an impaired water body located within the Lower Salinas River Watershed. This approach will address impacts from agriculture and urban areas and will incorporate creek restoration while engaging the community. Santa Rita Creek flows into the Salinas Reclamation Ditch, Tembladero Slough and ultimately to the MBNMS. These water bodies are considered the most polluted water bodies on the Central Coast with 37 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) listings, 7 of them on Santa Rita Creek. Agricultural efforts will focus outreach and referrals to leverage existing programs and funding for implementation of irrigation and nutrient management practices and the Livestock and Lands program. In addition, management measures will control erosion from strawberry crops. Two restoration projects along Santa Rita Creek will promote environmental stewardship, reduce illegal dumping, stabilize banks and increase biofiltration of pollutants through revegetation of native plants. This holistic approach will inform resource managers on the geographic scale at which we can see improvements to water quality and habitat.

University of California, Davis (Granite Canyon Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory): Evaluation of Potential for Stormwater Toxicity Reduction by Low Impact Development (LID) Treatment Systems
Awarded Amount: $192,721
Primary Resource Area(s): water quality
Project Summary: In order to protect the beneficial uses of aquatic habitats, many cities are now mandating LID treatment systems such as bioswales. Information on the ability of urban bioswales to reduce toxicity is an important component for evaluating impacts of regional urban stormwater runoff. This project will evaluate the efficacy of bioswales in reducing the concentrations of contaminants that contribute to stormwater toxicity in the City of Salinas. Looking at four sites in the City of Salinas, the project will: 1) assess toxic effects of stormwater runoff to aquatic organisms prior to treatment by bioswales; 2) evaluate efficacy of bioswales to reduce toxicity to aquatic organisms; 3) determine stormwater and pollutant load reduction through bioswales; and 4) provide data to stormwater agencies, water quality managers, LID engineers, and others to be incorporated into future land-use planning and management decisions.