Funding Opportunities for Delta Research
Among the many areas of research that are being conducted in the delta is identifying the best methods of restoring the ecosystem of the delta and its watersheds. There are two programs that are providing funding to support this research: the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program and the Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Those who are interested in pursuing research related to these programs are encouraged to apply.
Integrated Socio-Ecological Systems (ISES)
Integrated Socio-Ecological Systems (ISES) in delta research focuses on the dynamic interactions between social and environmental components. These interactions and feedbacks can have beneficial or detrimental effects on system components. If left unchecked, these feedbacks may result in social-ecological poverty traps.
In this context, a sophisticated conjunction of knowledge is required to characterize a complex delta crisis and simultaneously imagine inventive responses in a variety of contexts. These responses include urban design, agricultural production, political deliberation, biodiversity protection, and the use of river infrastructures.
SES research uses a variety of methods, but only about half of empirical SES studies use quantitative-only methods. Studies that use a wide range of techniques and approaches are more likely to generate practical recommendations. These recommendations are critical for evidence-based decision making. Hence, future SES research will require greater attention to the interdisciplinary composition of project teams.
The number of SES research publications increased threefold from 2010 to 2015. However, only a handful of these publications incorporated the interdisciplinary or technical elements necessary for a complete understanding of the complex interrelationships between social and environmental elements. These included spatial, statistical, and modelling tools.
Watershed Restoration Grants
Using the Delta Landscapes Project as its foundation, NFWF has developed a series of initiatives and reports that inform landscape-scale restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. Among these are two reports, a delta historical ecology investigation and A Delta Renewed. These documents provide recommendations for reestablishing dynamic natural processes to sustain native Delta wildlife.
A Delta Renewed describes an altered Delta and offers guidance for creating landscapes that will provide the ecological functions that humans and wildlife need. The report is accompanied by a user guide that makes the information more accessible.
Delta Wildlife’s project will help restore wetland habitat and reduce agricultural runoff. It will also improve water conservation by installing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on working farms in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta region of the Lower Mississippi Valley. It will include a monitoring component to document the environmental benefits. The project will benefit fish and wildlife. It will also increase public awareness of watersheds.
Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program
Currently, Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program is administered by Delta Conservancy. The purpose of this program is to improve water quality, restore habitat, and protect fish. This program also seeks to promote sustainable water infrastructure, restore important habitat, and enhance local community stewardship of local natural resources.
The Delta Conservancy’s Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program is currently in its fifth cycle of awarding Proposition 1 grants. Through this program, more than 11,350 acres of habitat in the Delta benefit from funding. This program also prioritizes projects that are sustainable, benefit important species, and maximize landowner participation.
As of August 31, 2017, Delta Conservancy is seeking concept proposals for the 2017-2018 grant program. These proposals must be received by 5:00 P.M. PST on August 31, 2017. The Conservancy will review the proposals and contact applicants. They will then schedule a feedback meeting. This meeting will include a presentation of Delta Conservancy’s concept proposal guidelines and information on the program.