Valley Water to award grants for environmental protection projects

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Finding funding for environmental projects can be a daunting task, but Valley Water is hoping to make it easier for local organizations to make a difference in their communities.

The water district, which serves the Santa Clara Valley, is now accepting grant applications under its "Safe, Clean Water" program. Funded by a 2012 ballot measure that was approved by county voters, officials plan to award nearly $2.1 million in grants during the fiscal year 2020 cycle to support projects that conserve water, prevent pollution,or restore wildlife habitats.

"One of the things that we're doing is expanded outreach to non-profits and others to get in creative proposals from not just people who have done things in the past, but new people, so we're really looking forward to that," said Gary Kremen, who serves on the water district's board of directors.

RELATED: 'We're always a state that's not going to have a ton of water,' Valley Water offers water conservation rebates

ABC7 News checked out the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose, which was previously awarded a grant to help build its "Bill's Backyard: Bridge to Nature" interactive outdoor exhibit. The museum was able to eliminate all grass and put in native plants in the space, which has helped with increasing bio-diversity in the area.

"Water conservation has become a big issue for all of us living in the Bay Area, and we realize that to make a difference, we needed to start with children and help them get the message about the ways in which they too can help save water," said Marilee Jennings, the museum's executive director.

In Palo Alto, Grassroots Ecology was awarded a pollution prevention grant, which they used to build water collection barrels, as well as rain gardens like the one constructed at Bol Park. Leaders with the non-profit organization say the grants can be a catalyst for getting more people involved.

RELATED: Program launched in Santa Clara County to help people adopt conservation lifestyle

"People worry about habitat loss, but a lot of times, they don't know what they can do," said Grassroots Ecology executive director Alex Von Feldt. "What we're doing is providing people a way to come out, meet their neighbors, and actually take one step, one action to help improving the effects of climate change."

Click here for more information on how to apply for a grant.
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