Water quality improvement projects planned at the Santa Monica Bay, Ballona Creek and Mar Vista Recreation center are among 160 water projects throughout the state that are expected to receive a portion of $717 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and state funding.

The funding for such projects is intended to help stimulate the state economy, save and create jobs and protect public health and the environment, a spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said.

“My administration awarded this funding in record time to boost our state’s economy and get Californians back to work. In fact, the State Water Board approved its first Recovery Act project the very same day it received funding from Washington,” said Schwarzenegger. “These water quality improvement projects will help stimulate local economies throughout California all while protecting our environment and public health.”

Projects awarded funding or loans range from Del Norte County in the north to San Diego County and from the Pacific shore to the Nevada state line. The State Water Board manages $567.1 million of the total funding, of which $256 million is from the Recovery Act and $310 million from the board’s ongoing Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Los Angeles County projects that will receive some of the funding include the Santa Monica Bay Low Flow Diversion Upgrades ($4.34 million), the Mar Vista Recreation Center Retrofit ($1.77 million) and the Ballona Creek Low Impact Development Rain Gardens Project ($1.89 million), according to the governor’s office.

Under the stimulus program, the State Water Board is handling $270.5 million in addition to more than $300 million normally loaned by the Revolving Fund each year. The Water Board worked with local governments and others in advance of receiving Recovery Act funds to ensure its clean water projects were ready to begin work and qualify for Recovery Act money as quickly as possible.

“The State Water Board is using both federal stimulus dollars and its ongoing assistance funds to improve water quality around the state and put Californians back to work,” said Charles Hoppin, chair of the State Water Board. “Rural areas, towns and cities are all critical to protecting water quality and all have been affected by the recession.”

The California Department of Public Health manages $149.9 million of the total funding, all of which comes from the Recovery Act, through the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

The Recovery Act and state funds are targeted to projects in communities that might not normally be able to qualify for CWSRF or DWSRF loans, the governor’s spokesman said.