Maine to fight lake and stream pollution with 18 new projects

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Non Point Source Grants Program will fund 18 new projects aimed at reducing pollution in Maine's lakes and streams.

Towns will receive more than $600,000 in federal money through the DEP's 319 Grants Program. The money goes to towns, conservation districts and nonprofit stewardship organizations to stop soil from eroding off roads, public and private property, to conduct surveys that identify sources of pollution and to develop watershed management plans.

According to DEP Watershed Management Division Director Don Witherill, "Sediment, eroded soil particles, is the greatest threat to Maine's water resources." Soil particles eroded off roads, driveways, developments and farm fields is carried by stormwater and snow melt into our streams and lakes. This sediment destroys fish habitat and pollutes swimming areas and drinking water. The 319 Grants Program helps the DEP to partner with municipalities and local groups to correct the erosion and other stormwater pollutant problems to help keep Maine's waters clean.

According to DEP Commissioner Dawn Gallagher, success relies heavily on local support and individual responsibility. "For these projects to succeed we need communities and people to respond at a personal level, in their own towns, on their own property." Gallagher said, "Understanding that our individual actions can affect the health of our local lakes and streams is crucial and the 319 Grants Program allows DEP to assist at the local level."

Click here: http://www.maine.gov/dep/press/pr050511.htm for a list of projects receiving grant funds.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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