U.S. EPA awards $1.5 million to San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Visualization East Bay Dischargers Authority 'First Mile' project

Nate Kaufman

Protecting the Bay and its watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded an almost $1.5 million grant to the San Francisco Estuary Partnership for its Transforming Shorelines project.

The Transforming Shorelines project works with wastewater treatment facilities to take a nature-based approach to improving water quality by limiting contaminants such as nitrogen from entering the Bay, improving habitat, mitigating the effects of sea-level rise, and replacing aging infrastructure.

Excessive nitrogen loads can lead to the overgrowth of algae and other aquatic plants, increasing the risk of harmful algal blooms and depriving the aquatic food web of much needed dissolved oxygen and sunlight. The project aims to create more than 150 acres of wildlife habitat in areas surrounding several wastewater treatment plants. 

The Oro Loma Sanitary District in the East Bay recently completed a project where an 8-million gallon wetland basin or “horizontal levee” was built to help absorb storm surges, while filtering treated wastewater. Over the next three to five years, a UC Berkeley research team will evaluate the effectiveness of Oro Loma’s innovative project.

"The Transforming Shorelines project is years in the making and builds off the collaboration developed out of the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee project,” said Heidi Nutters, manager of Transforming Shorelines project. “We are thrilled and look forward to working with interested parties over the next few years."

The Transforming Shorelines project will create critical linkages between wastewater treatment, resilience to sea-level rise and water around the San Francisco Bay, Nutters said.

Overall, the EPA awarded almost $8 million in grants on Tuesday to protect and restore wetlands and streams in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Estuary Partnership is an ABAG-MTC program working to increase the health and resiliency of the San Francisco Estuary.

For more information about the San Francisco Estuary Partnership visit: sfestuary.org