WiLDCOAST Wins Grant from California American Water

WiLDCOAST in Imperial Beach, Calif., will receive funding through California American Water's 2009 Environmental Grant Program, according to a July 23 press release.

WiLDCOAST, an international non-profit agency that protects and preserves coastal ecosystems, will receive a $7,500 grant, which the company earmarked for community-based projects that improve, restore or protect watershed areas.

A panel of employee judges selected the winning grant proposals, which were evaluated on such criteria as environmental need, innovation, community engagement and sustainability.

"Our Environmental Grant Program has been very successful in helping local organizations carry out meaningful, sustainable environmental initiatives year after year," said Rob MacLean, president of California American Water. "The grant recipients this year exemplify the type of environmental stewardship that we are proud to support."

WiLDCOAST works by building grassroots support, conducting outreach and education campaigns and establishing protected areas. The funds will be used for clean up and restoration projects targeting the Tijuana and Otay river watersheds. Both rivers are vital to the San Diego community and common targets of illegal dumping and pollution. WiLDCOAST estimates that pollution in the Tijuana River is responsible for 80 percent of San Diego County's total beach closures every year.

The organization will recruit and train local environmental stewards and initiate routine clean-up events and pollution monitoring and reduction activities in both watersheds.

"These rivers, which feed directly into the San Diego Bay and area beaches are in urgent need of help," said WiLDCOAST's acting executive director Fay Crevoshay. "With this grant, we will work to reverse the effects of decades of pollution and finally restore these vital waterways."

California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water, provides water and/or wastewater services to more than 600,000 people. Founded in 1886, it is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals

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