A $1.8 million state grant to restore Hercules’ Chelsea Wetlands that was rescinded in May has been reinstated in a collaboration between the city, the state and several environmental organizations.
Under an agreement that will come before the City Council on Tuesday, the grant would be administered by Ducks Unlimited Inc., an organization that restores waterfowl habitat and promotes duck hunting throughout North America.
The city would be responsible for operation and maintenance once the project is complete, as it would have been under the original grant from the California Natural Resources Agency.
The 12-acre Chelsea Wetlands lies west of San Pablo Avenue between Santa Fe Avenue and the Pinole city line.
The state agency awarded Hercules a grant of $1,836,680 in September 2011 to restore the wetlands. The project received additional grants of $146,025 from the state and $56,200 from Contra Costa County, according to a city staff report.
But in May, the Natural Resources Agency rescinded its grant in light of a scathing audit by the state controller of the city’s handling of state and federal funds that chastised Hercules for shoddy record-keeping and failure to fulfill requests for documents in a timely manner.
The audit raised fiscal accountability concerns, a Natural Resources Agency official said in justifying the termination of the wetlands grant.
City officials decried the state audit, saying it did not take into
After the Natural Resources Agency terminated the grant, City Manager Steve Duran said he and his staff contacted state legislators who represent Hercules, as well as environmental and government agencies such as Friends of Pinole Creek, Muir Heritage Land Trust, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, Ducks Unlimited and the state Environmental Protection Agency. Duran credited that coalition for preserving the funding and saving the Hercules project by arranging for the Natural Resources Agency to make Ducks Unlimited the lead agency.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hercules City Hall, 111 Civic Drive.
Find out more about the Chelsea Wetlands Restoration Project at http://www.ci.hercules.ca.us/index.aspx?page=227.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760.
What: Hercules City Council
Where: Hercules City Council chamber, 111 Civic Drive
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday