Drinking water protection projects in Oregon, Washington awarded $400,000

July 7, 2020
Funding is provided by federal and state drinking water partnership grants.

PORTLAND, OR – Local drinking water protection projects from around Oregon and Washington are getting a $400,000 boost from a partnership of local, state and federal agencies. The Drinking Water Providers Partnership, a collaboration of Federal and State agencies and nonprofits, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by distributing $400,000 in grant funding to 13 key projects in Oregon and Washington. Funded projects help protect drinking water source areas, improve water quality and restore fish habitat.

“Investing in drinking water protection is an easy call,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “The Drinking Water Providers Partnership unites federal, state and local partners to leverage resources and create a streamlined, ‘one-stop-shop’ for funding vital local water protection projects.”

“Our watersheds provide drinking water to downstream communities, habitat for fish and wildlife, and countless other public and economic benefits,” said Glenn Casamassa, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “The Drinking Water Providers Partnership shows how we can all work together to protect these watersheds.”

Previously funded projects range from improving water storage by reconnecting floodplains or wetlands; to reducing turbidity by reducing sediment from roads; to improving awareness of drinking water source protection through an education campaign.

Newly funded projects will re-create or enhance natural river processes compromised by past land use practices. These projects benefit native fish while also helping municipal water utilities. By ensuring that water coming into their systems is as clean as possible prior to treatment, towns save money and free up resources for other local priorities. Each partner has agreed to pool resources to create a grant program encouraging work that benefits both aquatic species and public drinking water systems.

“A river connects everything that it touches, but we often miss seeing what’s right in front of us,” said Marlies Wierenga, WildEarth Guardians’ Pacific Northwest Conservation Manager. “Our partnership aims to spotlight the importance of clean water by linking upstream efforts to restore streams to the drinking water needs of downstream communities.”