The City of Santa Monica Environmental Programs Division has awarded nine grants totaling $80,000 to Santa Monica property owners for sustainable landscape projects.

Grants will assist in covering costs to design and/or install water-conserving plants, water-efficient irrigation systems, permeable paving and rainwater catching systems.

“We are very excited to announce the grant recipients for 2004,” said Neal Shapiro, City of Santa Monica water resources coordinator.

“We are confident that individuals will see the benefits of sustainable landscaping practices right away.”

The City of Santa Monica says that many homes in the city use more than 200 gallons of water each day to irrigate landscape, with much of it running off into streets, alleys and sidewalks.

“Research shows that converting turf and other water-thirsty plants, and traditional, high-volume sprinkler irrigation systems to California-friendly plants and water-efficient gardens produce less yard waste, reduce the need for harmful chemicals and polluting maintenance equipment, and provide habitat for beneficial birds and insects,” a representative of the city Environmental Programs Division said.

The competitive landscape grants provide partial funding for new or remodeled innovative garden designs, which include one or more of the following:

– California native plants;

– water-efficient plants;

– water-efficient irrigation systems;

– storm management systems;

– gray-water systems; and

– other innovative water saving features.

Applications for the next round of grants are due March 31st.