Article contributed by Angela Stuart for the Resource Conservation District.
The Loma Prieta and San Benito Resource Conservation Districts (RCD’s) are offering $175,000 in grants to local livestock owners in southern Santa Clara and San Benito Counties located in the Pajaro River Watershed. The funds from the Livestock and Land Program will help pay for improvements to livestock and horse properties that need assistance with managing drainage, erosion, stormwater runoff and manure.
The Livestock and Land website states that through a voluntary and non-regulatory approach, the program has provided cost share assistance to equestrian and livestock owners and boarding facilities who wish to implement projects on their property that improve water quality.
Started in Santa Cruz County by local conservation districts as a way to affect positive changes to water quality concerns from livestock facilities. The program works with residents on a voluntary basis to reduce stormwater runoff by implementing good drainage practices. Past projects have included everything from gutter and downspouts to French drains to manure composting facilities to fencing and more.
“The great thing about this program,” explains Dina Iden, Executive Director of the Loma Prieta RCD, “is that the benefits go far beyond water quality improvements to our local creeks and streams. Depending on what upgrades you make, cleaning stalls can get easier, animal health issues can be reduced; maintenance cost can be lowered, your property can be safer, and it may even increase in value. It’s basically a win-win.”
According to Iden, property owners can get up to 50% of the cost of improvements covered by the program. And there may be other federal grants programs that can be combined with this program to cover even more of the cost.
The program also offers no-cost technical assistance and project designs. Funding for the program is made possible through an EPA Clean Water Grant and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
To see examples of past projects visit the program web site at www.livestockandland.org
For an application or to find out more about the program, contact Dina Iden at 408-847-4171.