April showers have brought green to the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper in the form of $5,000 grants from the International Academy at Santa Barbara.

EDC, an environmental law firm involved in water quality, public health, species protection and land preservation, expects to use its donation to increase its involvement with groups working to provide environmental protection for local areas. Current projects include opposition to Ellwood Shores development, enhancement and recovery of steelhead trout habitats in the Santa Ynez River, and conservation of Channel Island marine reserves.

“The money will be used to support all of our work,” EDC Community Affairs Director Jenna Garmon said. “It’s not earmarked for a certain project.”

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper also said it would use its money for general purposes, such as the maintenance of the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds, which include the Goleta Slough and its surrounding wetlands.

Drew Bohan, executive director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, said the donation is substantial. The money may allow his organization to improve community access and appreciation of preserved areas like the Goleta Slough by enabling the creation of new hiking trails.

Founded by Dr. Eric H. Boehm in 1960, the International Academy at Santa Barbara collects information concerning global issues. The academy’s concern for local environmental issues was prompted by the 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel.

“Dr. Boehm has always been a supporter of environmental protection in these parts,” Bohan said.

Although this is the first time the Academy has made a donation to these organizations, the Academy’s president, Joanne St. John, said the Academy has always appreciated the work the EDC and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper have done.

“We’ve followed these organizations for some time and we like what they’re doing,” St. John said. “We had some cash, so we decided to make a donation.”