Up to $100,000 in federal Ocean Guardian School grants is now available for California schools from the National Marine Sanctuaries Program to create projects that focus on current issues affecting local watersheds and the ocean, while promoting best environmental practices.

General project pathway options include water quality monitoring, watershed restoration, marine debris, schoolyard habitats/gardens and reuse/reduce/recycle.

Funding will range from $2,000 to $6,000 per project, depending on the scope of the conservation project proposed by the school.

Schools will receive funds to implement their projects. Schools may apply for funding of one-year projects scheduled to begin in the fall 2011 semester.

The grants are available to public and private K-12 schools in the California counties of Contra Costa, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Applications are due via mail by May 1.

Click here to download an application from the Web. For more information, click here or contact Naomi Pollack at 831.236.7677 or naomi.pollack@noaa.gov.

— Shauna Bingham is a volunteer and outreach coordinator for the NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.