WASHINGTON —The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing an estimated $2.5 million in federal grant funding to improve water quality on tribal lands. Awards made under this competitive grant announcement will support tribal-led projects that will make a significant difference in water quality and human health on tribal lands.
“The tribes are essential partners in protecting our nation’s waters,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water David Ross. “These grants will help our tribal partners implement projects to protect and restore tribal waters from the effects of nonpoint source pollution, protecting water quality in tribal communities and communities beyond reservation boundaries."
“Tribes across the country are using these grants to assess and manage nonpoint source pollution from many sources, and EPA is excited to continue working with tribes in support of these efforts as we work together to improve the health of our waters,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of International and Tribal Affairs W.C. “Chad” McIntosh.
“Tribal NPS management program efforts, supported by Clean Water Act Section 319 grants, protect and restore water quality. These efforts are informed by tribes’ unique knowledge and understanding inherent in their traditions and culture that provides real value to the government-to-government partnership, as we work together to preserve and protect each unique yet interconnected ecosystem for future generations,” said Ken Norton, chair of the National Tribal Water Council.
These grants will aid tribes and intertribal consortia in funding projects to develop and implement watershed-based plans and projects on tribal lands to manage nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, which originates from many diffuse sources across the landscape, including excess fertilizers, hydromodification and urban stormwater runoff. A wide range of activities are eligible for this funding, including but not limited to: NPS training for tribal staff, developing watershed-based plans, riparian planting, livestock exclusion fencing, lake protection and restoration activities, NPS ordinance development, and outreach and education. Eligible tribes and intertribal consortia may apply for funding by submitting an application for up to a maximum budget of $100,000. The application deadline is Dec. 20.
Funding for this project is one part of EPA’s overall effort to ensure that America’s waters are clean and safe. This year, EPA is distributing more than $165 million in section 319 grants to states, territories, and tribes to reduce nonpoint runoff in urban and rural settings, including efforts to reduce excess nutrients that can enter our waters and cause public health and environmental challenges. Over the last two years, states restored over 80 waters and reduced over 17 million pounds of nitrogen, nearly 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 3.5 million tons of excess sediment through section 319 projects.