How You Can Transform the Storm with the Watershed Stewardship Grant

More than ten billion gallons of rain falls on San Francisco each year, enough for every resident of the City to shower twice a day for that year. When that rain hits the pavement, instead of soaking back into the earth, it makes its way into San Francisco’s combined sewer system where it is treated as wastewater. This results in a wasted natural resource and during very large storm events can mean an overwhelmed sewer system. The SFPUC is implementing sustainable stormwater solutions, also known as green infrastructure, which work to clean, re-route, and reuse that rain creating a greener and more resilient city.

In partnership with the Community Challenge Grant Program, the SFPUC offers the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant to support community led green infrastructure projects and manage stormwater in San Francisco. Since 2010, the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant Program has awarded over two million dollars to 45 grantees, removing nearly 95,000 square feet of impervious surfaces across the City. These grant projects have transformed sidewalks into rain gardens, created stormwater resilient schoolyards, and provided sustainable community spaces throughout the city. More information about the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant and eligibility criteria can be found here.

Apply for the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant. The 2022 grant cycle will open on October 20, 2021. The grant program has undergone some exciting improvements this year including updated guidelines, new budget guidance, and a fillable budget tool. All of these resources will be available here.

Join a virtual grant workshop. To learn more about the grant program and meet the grant administrators, sign up to join a virtual grant workshop on October 27, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Register here.

Literacy for Environmental Justice has made huge transformations to their native plant nursery which is wrapping up construction this fall. With the support of the Watershed Stewardship Grant the project included this daisy chained rainwater harvesting system which manages stormwater from the roof. The cisterns hold up to 190,000 gallons of stormwater which will be used to water the native plants grown at the nursery. The extra stormwater from the tanks will overflow into a vegetated swale and connecting rain garden.
The finished living classroom and dry creek bed after rain (above) at Commodore Sloat Elementary School. This project removed over 5,000 square feet of impervious surfaces on the school site and fixed a major stormwater drainage issue which was referred to as “Lake Sloat.” Photo credit: Tap the Sky.
The San Francisco Parks Alliance is creating a stormwater parklet as part of the Moss Alley Metamorphosis Project. Alley tenants and community members participated in an event to envision what the space could look like, using colorful paintings to show where the green infrastructure could go. The stormwater parklet will include roughly 50 square feet of bio-retention planting, 77 square feet of permeable paving, and a storage capacity of 675 gallons of rainwater from the roof of the San Francisco Parks Alliance offices. Photo credit: San Francisco Parks Alliance.