Governors, Tribal Leaders Invited To Nominate Projects for Watershed Grants

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling on the nation's governors and tribal leaders to apply for the third round of EPA's watershed grants.

The Targeted Watersheds Grant Program was first proposed by President Bush in 2002 to protect America's waterways. In the programs' first two years, EPA awarded nearly $30 million in grants to 34 watershed organizations across the country. For fiscal 2005, Congress approved $18 million for grants to support community-based approaches and activities to help local water resources -- $8 million of which will go directly to grants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A Feb. 18 notice from EPA announced the beginning of the 2005 process for the $10 million targeted for watershed nation-wide watershed grants.

"Our Targeted Watersheds Grant Program is a shining example of cooperative conservation and environmental innovation," said EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles.

The 34 watersheds already in the program cover more than 110,000 square miles of the nation's lakes, rivers, and streams. They represent varied landscapes from the forests of Maine to the tropics of Hawaii; from the sparsely populated areas in Alaska to highly urbanized watersheds of the East Coast. Funds are already going toward restoration and protection projects such as stream stabilization and habitat enhancement, implementing agricultural and stormwater best management practices, and working with local municipalities and homeowners to promote sustainable practices and strategies.

The selected organizations were chosen to receive the awards because their projects were the most likely to achieve environmental results quickly. Nominations by the country's governors and tribal leaders for the third year of grants competition will be due to EPA on or before May 19. The agency will then evaluate and rank each submission based on a set of criteria outlined in the Feb. 18 notice. Final selections of the watershed grantees will be announced in late summer.

To access the Federal Register notice and other information about the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program go to www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative.

This news item originally appeared in the March/April 2005 issue Water and Wastewater Products, Vol. 5, No. 2.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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