Governors and tribal leaders invited to nominate projects for watershed grants

To further preserve and restore the country's waterways, the Bush Administration is calling on the nation's governors and tribal leaders to apply for the second round of EPA's watershed grants.


Oct. 8, 2003 -- To further preserve and restore the country's waterways, the Bush Administration is calling on the nation's governors and tribal leaders to apply for the second round of EPA's watershed grants.

This Watershed Initiative was first proposed by President Bush in his 2003 budget to protect waterways across the country. In May 2003, EPA announced the first round of nearly $15 million in grants to 20 watershed organizations selected as part of this new Watershed Initiative.

President Bush has asked Congress for a $21 million appropriation for grants to support community-based approaches and activities to help local water resources.

"Addressing 21st century problems like polluted runoff and suburban growth demands a collaborative approach to environmental protection-an approach grounded in innovative solutions and broad public involvement," said G. Tracy Mehan III, the EPA Assistant Administrator for Water. "The challenge of improving water quality nationwide is a task far greater than EPA can undertake alone. Success will require a sustained and coordinated commitment from our many partners."

Last year, EPA selected 20 watershed organizations to receive grants averaging $700,000 each. The selected organizations were chosen to receive the awards because their work plans were the most likely to achieve environmental results in a relatively short-time period.

For example: over 70 percent of the selected projects address agricultural pollution; 50 percent address urban and industrial runoff; 50 percent address the relationship between water quality and habitat restoration for wildlife and endangered or threatened species and 30 percent have projects aimed at the homeowner.

Several projects will study a more innovative, market-based approach to attaining water quality and will test possibilities such as pollutant trading and crop insurance.

For 2004, the Agency is continuing its focus on approaches aimed to provide quick, measurable environmental results, partnerships, innovation, and program integration. In addition, this year more emphasis will be placed on market-based approaches and other socio-economic strategies and the serious and growing hypoxia problem facing the Gulf of Mexico.

Nominations by the country's governors and tribal leaders for the second year of grants competition will be due to EPA on or before Jan. 15, 2004.

The Agency will then evaluate and rank each submission based on a set of criteria outlined in the Federal Register Notice. Final selections of the watershed grantees will be announced next spring. To access the Federal Register Notice and other information about the Watershed Initiative go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative/ .


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