SLO County Roundup

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the group that received a grant to fund monitoring of the Morro Bay estuary. The Bay Foundation of Morro Bay received the money.

SLO County

San Luis Obispo County will receive a grant of more than $2 million to put toward energy efficiency and conservation, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, has announced.

The “energy efficiency and conservation” block grant comes from the Department of Energy, and totals $2,053,600.

Energy Department grants go toward helping communities improve energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil-fuel emissions and create so-called green jobs.

Capps said communities throughout the county have energy efficiency and conservation initiatives lined up and ready to go.

“This funding will help get many of them off the ground,” according to an announcement from Capps’ office.

— Bob Cuddy

Morro Bay

The Schwarzenegger administration has announced a $278,296 stimulus grant to the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay.

The money is to be used for general “state of things” monitoring as well as monitoring to determine the effectiveness of water quality programs, said Dan Berman, executive director of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program.

The grant is a combination of federal stimulus funds and state Clean Water Revolving Fund money.

The stimulus funding was used to free up the state funds that were frozen because of the state’s budget shortfall.

The grant was one of three allocations to come to San Luis Obispo County.

The other two were announced in June and were earmarked to reduce water pollution from agricultural sources and to improve management practices in the local wine industry.

— David Sneed

San Luis Obispo

Gary Ruggerone, senior environmental planner with Caltrans District 5 in San Luis Obispo, recently received the Federal Highway Administration’s Environmental Excellence Award for 30 years of environmental leadership.

The biennial award honors individuals who have used administration funding to encourage environmentally sensitive transportation solutions.

Ruggerone oversees the Caltrans Environmental Stewardship Branch in San Luis Obispo, where he has helped deliver hundreds of environmentally compatible transportation projects.

Locally, Ruggerone has been involved with the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay, the California Native Plant Society, Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, Inc. and the Pismo-Edna Watershed Committee.

— Julia Hickey