Funds will be used to restore and clean up Otay and Tijuana River Watersheds

San Diego, CA (Vocus) — California American Water announced today that WiLDCOAST in Imperial Beach will receive funding through the Company’s 2009 Environmental Grant Program. WiLDCOAST, an international non-profit agency that protects and preserves coastal ecosystems, will receive a $7,500 grant, which California American Water earmarked for community-based projects that improve, restore or protect watershed areas.

A panel of employee judges selected the winning grant proposals from a wide variety of organizations across the state, which were evaluated on such criteria as environmental need, innovation, community engagement and sustainability.

“Our Environmental Grant Program has been very successful in helping local organizations carry out meaningful, sustainable environmental initiatives year after year,” said Rob MacLean, president of California American Water. “The grant recipients this year exemplify the type of environmental stewardship that we are proud to support.”

WiLDCOAST is an international non-profit agency that protects and preserves coastal ecosystems by building grassroots support, conducting outreach and education campaigns and establishing protected areas. California American Water will grant the agency $7,500 for their cleanup and restoration projects targeting the Tijuana and Otay River watersheds.

Both rivers are vital to the San Diego community and both are the common target of illegal dumping and pollution. WiLDCOAST estimates that pollution in the Tijuana River is responsible for 80 percent of San Diego County’s total beach closures every year.

WiLDCOAST will recruit and train local environmental stewards and initiate routine cleanup events and pollution monitoring and reductions activities in both watersheds.

“These rivers, which feed directly into the San Diego Bay and area beaches are in urgent need of help,” said WiLDCOAST’s acting executive director Fay Crevoshay. “With this grant, we will work to reverse the effects of decades of pollution and finally restore these vital waterways.”

California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 600,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.

WiLDCOAST began its Clean Water Campaign in 2005 in response to the environmental and health impacts associated with pollution in the Tijuana River. The organization’s work has influenced policy decisions at the local, state and federal levels, including the upgrade of the International Wastewater Treatment Plant, which discharges off Imperial Beach. In 2008, the Otay River Program was launched to increase community stewardship of the Otay River Valley.