Imperial Valley Endowed Program Funds

Welcome to our Imperial Valley program page. We’ve tailored our local programs to benefit our core operation areas and to match our expertise. Hopefully, your visit to these pages indicates your interest in both conservation and philanthropy. Please take the time to read about each of our fund programs to find one that interests you and in which you see important benefits. 90% of your donation is deposited directly into a locally managed endowment fund of your choosing. When we find a project (property) that deserves support we are able to use a portion of the endowment to support, fully or in part, the purchase of a the property or the establishment of a conservation easement. Our hope is that our donors will support not only the essence of our programs but also the the enhancement of the lands and species they benefit. If you have suggestions of other projects and that would fit with our philosophy and goals, please let us know. We are also ready, willing, and able to work with you on tailoring your donation(s) to best suit your donor ideals.

At present we have four funds established for the Imperial Valley. Here’s a brief description of each:

I. The Migratory Bird & Bat Mitigation Fund

In November of 2014, PCCA established a Migratory Bird and Bat Mitigation Fund held and managed by US Bank, NA. This fund was designed to give financial support to initiatives that enhance breeding and migratory route habitats for bird and bat species that pass through the Imperial Valley as well as those that winter and breed within or adjacent the valley floor, including the Salton Sea.

The fund, established primarily to compensate for loss of habitats as well as other adverse effects to migratory and stopover bird and bat species, an outcome of the development of energy projects that are built within the migratory flyway between the Gulf of California and America’s Great Basin. The distribution of awards to groups whose mission and function is to enhance and preserve relevant and important migratory habitats will be advised by a committee of scientists; specifically, a panel of migratory bird experts in collaboration with habitat and vegetation specialists.

II. The Alamo River Restoration and Enhancement Fund

The PCCA established the Alamo River Restoration and Enhancement Fund (Alamo River Project) in order to contribute to the recovery of the Imperial Valley/Salton Sea system by protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Alamo River, its associated wetlands, and the bufferlands that surround it from the U.S./Mexico border to its confluence with the Salton Sea. We hope to be an integral part of the process that restores the river to a former, healthier biological state while also creating a healthier environment for Imperial Valley residents to enjoy. A major component of the plan is to augment the river’s restoration by also creating healthy recreation opportunities along its banks – opportunities that include walking & hiking, cycling, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding – with informative signage at key locations along the trail, especially in the vicinity of the four cities that are most closely associated with the river: Holtville, Brawley, Calipatria, and Niland.

The Alamo River Restoration project is just a part of our bigger vision that will begin to reverse the worsening health problem created by a shrinking Salton Sea. Our bigger vision includes the creation of a recreational corridor that will link the communities of the Imperial Valley with our neighbors to the north – a link that joins the Imperial Valley with the Coachella Valley by extending the Alamo River Trail from the U.S./Mexico border to the Coachella Valley trail (formerly “Parkway 1e11”, now called the “CV Link”) on the north side of the Sea.

Important components of the Alamo River Plan are more conservative and highly achievable. Our 7-point plan includes these highlights:

  1. Create a framework to incorporate private and public river-adjacent landowner cooperation;
  2. Design and construct wetland areas to provide natural filtration to currently polluted river flows, both along the river and also at its major (albeit ephemeral) tributaries;
  3. Design and construct streambed aeration facilities at water impoundment sites;
  4. Design and construct safe routes between “host” cities (Niland, Calipatria, Brawley, and Holtville) and simple but aesthetically pleasing recreation areas (e.g. boardwalks, walking trails, mountain bike trails) located along the river;
  5. Develop a water quality monitoring program; measure and document current conditions as the baseline for comparison and progress assessment;
  6. Identify pollution point and non-point sources and implement release modification strategies and water improvement facilities to minimize amounts of pollutants entering the river.
  7. Evaluate and upgrade stormwater release protections as well as enhancing river protections from adverse events that may result from stochastic events (floods, earthquakes, etc.).

Current Action Items – State & Federal Nexus:

  1. Initiate conversations with federal and state agencies to ensure that the bi-national sanitation projects in Mexicali are properly operated and maintained and all bypasses of raw sewage and untreated industrial wastes into the Alamo River in Mexicali are eliminated
  2. Ensure that new water quality infrastructure components north of the border are on track for construction and/or rehabilitation.
  3. Encourage the development of a monitoring and reporting program for the Alamo River that measures and monitors the water quality entering the U.S. from Mexico and also the tracks water quality at the Alamo River/Salton Sea confluence.

Alamo River Project Action Items:

  1. Establish a project-specific stakeholder advisory committee;
  2. Recruit a scientific advisory committee;
  3. Develop a recreation advisory committee;
  4. Develop a detailed conceptual design addressing the entire length of the project; and  
  5. Identify funding sources.

It’s obvious this project will have a long horizon. However, we feel this component of our larger vision for Imperial Valley recovery from the great Salton Sea tragedy is doable and affordable. We need your help to ensure that the Alamo River and the east side communities of Holtville, Brawley, Calipatria, and Niland benefit from the funding the Valley so richly deserves. Donate! Volunteer! Stay in touch!

. . . and follow these pages to see our larger view of what will work best to create a healthy environment for the Valley.

III. Desert Wildlife Restoration & Enhancement Fund

The PCCA’s Desert Wildlife Restoration & Enhancement Fund (Desert Wildlife Fund) has been created for the purpose of supporting fish, terrestrial wildlife, and habitat enhancement initiatives, and in particular to conserve and increase desert wildlife populations through an array of possible scenarios including:

  1. Restoration of wildlife habitats;
  2. Wildlife studies, especially those aimed at investigating effects of drought and climate change on desert habitats and wildlife;
  3. The acquisition, by purchase, lease or other means, properties of importance that provide or protect critical wildlife habitat.

The following are eligible activities supported by The PCCA’s Desert Wildlife Fund:

  1. Conducting surveys and inventories of wildlife populations;
  2. Acquiring, managing, and/or improving habitats;
  3. Removal of exotic invasive plant and animal species;
  4. Introducing wildlife into suitable habitat to help stabilize species populations;
  5. Improving public access and facilities (for example, creating access easements) for their use and enjoyment of wildlife resources;
  6. Operating and maintaining private wildlife management areas;
  7. Acquire land through fee title, leases, or other agreement for the purpose of wildlife conservation; and
  8. Conducting research on wildlife as well as monitoring wildlife status

Two areas of greatest interest to The PCCA and thus its funding priorities are:

  1. Projects that include the planting of native vegetation that will improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat in desert habitats and
  2. Research projects that are proposed to investigate the effects of climate change, especially to document shifts in occurrence that can be associated with effects of changes in water regime and temperature by collecting current data and comparing with changes over time.

Through the application process, applicants must show their understanding of the problem they wish to address and proficiency in the field methods proposed for the study. Evidence of previous work in harsh conditions will be of benefit to all applicants. Through the application process, applicants must describe the purpose of the study including how the study goals will address the purpose of the Desert Wildlife Fund program.

If local, state, or federal permits (e.g., MOUs, scientific collecting permits, etc.) will be required to conduct the fieldwork, the applicant need not have the permit(s) in hand at the time an application is submitted. However, if the necessary permits are not in hand, a statement supporting reasonable expectancy for receipt of such permits must be addressed in the candidate’s application, which may be supported by statements from appropriate state and federal permitting staff.

Awardees will be determined on a competitive basis. Each awardee will be required to submit a completed application accompanied by two letters of recommendation. Additional criteria will include the following:

  1. A well thought-out and described study purpose, methods, and goals;
  2. Our assessment of the potential for the proposed study to be conducted as proposed;
  3. The presentation of a rationale that explains how and why the study will benefit desert wildlife;
  4. A simple budget of what the stipend will be used for; and
  5. Of specific importance to our determination process will be documentation the proposed study will be in keeping with our program’s goals.

The successful candidates will be chosen by a vote of The PCCA Board along with two local professionals working in the field of desert wildlife or desert habitat rehabilitation.

Recipients will be able to use their award to purchase supplies for their study, compensation for study and travel time, and other related expenses. The outline for reporting, including the format of the expected final report will be addressed in the application package. Awardees WILL be able to apply for additional grant monies in successive years but will need to compete with all other candidates in each subsequent application year.

IV. The Imperial Valley Agriculture-Wildlife Scholarship Fund

Each year, for every $100,000.00 invested in our Agriculture-Wildlife Scholarship Fund, we will award four $1,000.00 scholarships to graduating high school students entering study programs that focus on two primary disciplines:

  1. Sustainable, agricultural practices, especially programs with a biological basis or
  2. Conservation biology, especially in the field of land conservation and management

Candidates must show scholastic proficiency in related disciplines (e.g., agriculture, biology, mathematics, etc.); however, awardees will not be ranked on relative scholastic achievement but rather:

  1. General academic achievement
  2. Volunteer experience
  3. A successful work experience related to their chosen field, including working on a family farm or ranch (which may also be on a volunteer basis), and
  4. Letters of recommendation from professionals in a field related to anticipated academic pursuits.   

Awardees will be determined on a competitive basis. Each awardee will be required to submit a completed application accompanied by two letters of recommendation from industry professions, at least one of whom served as the candidate’s supervisor in his/her volunteer or work position(s). The successful candidates will be chosen by a vote of The PCCA Board along with two local professionals working in the field of sustainable agriculture or conservation-oriented biology.

Recipients will be able to use their scholarships for tuition and/or academic supplies to support enrollment in a 2-year or 4-year college with a program-appropriate curriculum or in an alternative program with a similar expected outcome of proficiency in the arenas of sustainable agriculture or conservation biology.