Funding support coming for Lake Solano infrastructure, salmon habitat

New growth is coming back near trees at the Lake Solano campgrounds that were burned in the LNU fires. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Last year, Congressman John Garamendi requested over $12M in funding for local projects. Of the $12,183,898 package, $867,648 is directed toward accessibility improvements at Lake Solano and $5 million to reactivate the Sacramento River basin flood plain and restore salmon habitat.

H.R. 2471 was signed into law on March 15 by President Joe Biden and responds to needs in local communities. The funds were made available through the Community Project Funding (CPF) program and designated for specific infrastructure and healthcare projects.

“These investments support underserved areas and foster economic development, making a real difference in the lives of so many in our community. I am proud to have fought for funding that will make our community healthier, safer, stronger, and even more resilient,” Garamendi said in a press release.

Garamendi said in his request for the Lake Solano funds, … “[the] proposed project will provide greater access to public facilities and parkland for people with disabilities and improve safety for all who visit Lake Solano County Park.”

The Lake Solano project will improve pedestrian pathways and increase accessible public parking to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act. Solano County is managing the project under an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Solano County Park Services Manager Chris Drake told the Express the funds will be used for paving in the campground side of the park to repair old roads, improve campsite access, make public safety improvements and increase access for emergency vehicles. In 2017, Drake said most of the campground was underwater which caused damage to the roads and campsites were damaged in the recent wildfires.

The funding package also delivers $5 million to reactivate the Sacramento River basin flood plain and restore salmon habitat. Putah Creek Streamkeeper Max Stevenson said of the funding, “It’s exactly what I want to see happen,” adding that this year’s salmon run was disappointing.

According to Garamendi’s description of the project to Congress, the project is to provide fish-rearing habitat, generate fish food, improve fish passage, and enhance the overall ecosystem. It will also maintain farming, flood protection and manage wetland operations.

“Decades of established science have now proven that increasing the duration of continuously flooded acres increases high-quality habitat, rich in food resources, that support the development, growth, and survival of salmon,” Garamendi said. “Additionally, shallow, inundated floodplains produce high densities of zooplankton and invertebrates that are important food sources for salmon and other federally protected species.”

CPF is a new initiative by the U.S. House of Representatives allowing members of Congress to request direct funding for projects that benefit the communities they represent. CPF is separate from federal grants and funding apportioned to states or awarded by federal agencies. Requests for CPF must meet stringent eligibility, ethics and transparency guidelines.

Additional projects approved in the funding package include Lower Cache Creek Flood Risk Mgt. Project ($2 million), UC Davis’ Future Pandemic Prevention and Rapid Response Institute ($1 million), CommuniCare Health Centers, based in Davis ($400,000), Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity low-income housing in Fairfield ($1 million), accessible recreational trails project at Rockville Trails Preserve ($431,259), Lake County Restoration House hours expansion ($985,000), Capay Valley Health Center equipment and facilities ($500,000).

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