S.C. Watershed Among National Finalists for Funding

The Upstate Forever organization in Greenville, S.C., was selected as a finalist eligible to apply for a grant of $800,000 through EPA's national Targeted Watersheds Grant Program to use market-based mechanisms to improve the health of the Saluda-Reedy watershed.

"Market-based approaches to promote low-impact development and generate funding for watershed restoration are sensible ways of protecting the environment," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Jimmy Palmer. "This project could become a model for watershed protection and restoration in other rapidly developing areas."

The proposed project is focused on Greenville County, which comprises about 45 percent, or 525 of 1165 square miles, of the Saluda-Reedy watershed. The county is the most populous and fastest growing in the watershed, with about 200,000 of the watershed's 338,000 residents. Urban areas within the county were developed without stormwater controls and have impaired some sites in the watershed.

The project aims to improve water quality through the development of three innovative market-based mechanisms. The first is a decision-making tool to help developers assess water impacts and costs or savings from any combination of low-impact development techniques. Upstate Forever also plans to work with Greenville County and the City of Greenville to establish both stormwater mitigation and floodplain restoration banks. These banks would provide incentives for developers to improve stormwater control and restore areas of the rapidly developing Reedy River corridor.

EPA initiated the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program in 2002 to encourage successful community-based approaches to protect and restore the nation's watersheds. Watershed health is important to providing clean, safe water where Americans live, work and play. Since 2003, more than $40 million has been provided to 46 watershed organizations. Besides Upstate Forever, 15 other organizations were selected nationally to apply for a total of $13.36 million through EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grants Program. The selected organizations will implement a variety of activities to improve the health of their watersheds.

other organizations invited to apply for the grant money are:

• Ducks Unlimited - Upper Klamath Basin, OR • The Elizabeth River Project - Money Point, VA • The Sonoran Institute - Santa Cruz River, AZ • County Government of Maui - West Maui Watershed, HI • Nisqually River Foundation - Nisqually River, WA • Pioneer Valley Planning Commission - Tri-State Connecticut River Watershed, VT, NH, MA • Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York - Lake Champlain, NY • Clear Creek Watershed Foundation - Upper Clear Creek, CO • Grand Traverse Band Ottowa & Chippewa Indians - Betsie Platte Otter Watershed, MI • Heidelberg College - Honey Creek Watershed, OH • Lewis & Clark County Government - Lake Helena Watershed, MT • Rio Puerco Alliance - Torreon Wash, NM • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes - Jocko River Watershed, MT • Groundwork Yonkers - Saw Mill River Watershed, NY • Kansas Department of Health and Environment - Marais Des Cygnes Basin, KS, MO

More information on the finalists is available at: www.epa.gov/twg/implementation.html

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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