In a major boon to San Mateo County Resource Conservation District, the district has accepted more than $1.3 million to help the agency in its efforts to protect natural resources on the coast. Executive Director Kellyx Nelson said she didn't know of a time when a district board meeting - this one held on June 16 - brought in such a sum.

"We are thrilled that funding has become available to assist landowners with critical resource protection in our region," Nelson said. "Like everyone else, we have felt the pinch of the economy these last few years. We are hopeful that this is an indication of better times just around the corner."

San Mateo County Resource Conservation District gets $50,000 in property taxes each year from the western part of the county. The district relies heavily on grant funding. The $1.3 million comes from a hodgepodge of sources, including California Department of Fish and Game, Caltrans and San Mateo County.

California Department of Fish and Game's Fisheries Restoration Grant Program awarded $245,550 to the district. The money will go toward the San Gregorio Watershed Enhancement Program to enhance the survival of rare and endangered fish, including coho salmon, steelhead trout and tidewater gobies.

The RCD also was awarded $575,000 from Caltrans to protect sensitive species during a construction project to seismically retrofit part of Highway 101. In partnership with Peninsula Open Space Trust, the district will repair nine ponds on Cloverdale Coastal Ranches property in Pescadero and restore the habitats for the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the threatened California red-legged frog.

An agreement between the district and San Mateo County will provide $500,000 to help landowners reduce pollution entering the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve by improving erosion and sediment control and managing stormwater runoff. The money is part of a grant awarded to the county under state Proposition 84 to improve water quality entering areas of special biological significance.

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