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WHITMAN ASKS GOVERNORS, TRIBAL LEADERS TO NOMINATE WATERSHED PROPOSALS FOR $21 MILLION GRANT PROGRAM
Release Date: 08/21/2002
FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2002
WHITMAN ASKS GOVERNORS, TRIBAL LEADERS TO NOMINATE
WATERSHED PROPOSALS FOR $21 MILLION GRANT PROGRAM
Robin Woods 202-564-7841/Woods.Robin@epa.gov
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the agency will be requesting nominations for President Bush's Watershed Initiative. The program, initially announced in the President’s State of the Union address, would provide assistance to state and local communities to protect and restore inland and coastal watersheds.
The President's vision for clean and healthy watersheds is a key focus of the Year of Clean Water, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. As part of this new Watershed Initiative, the President has requested that Congress appropriate $21 million for grants to encourage community-based approaches and techniques to protect water resources throughout the country.
Administrator Whitman said this new initiative "recognizes the important role that states and local communities have in helping to achieve our common goals, by giving them the power to do what works."
Governors and Tribal leaders are being invited to submit nominations for projects that would help promote and advance the successes of efforts in up to 20 watersheds. Project awards would range from $300,000 to $1,300,000, which would be made available in the form of grants to help local entities protect and restore their local watershed. Selection and funding are contingent on favorable Congressional action on the appropriations request.
After careful review by a panel of experts at the regional and national level, Administrator Whitman would announce the 20 watersheds early next year. Nominations that are likely to result in environmental improvements in a relatively short time frame and that show broad stakeholder involvement would be strong candidates.
Because selected watersheds are expected to serve as models, projects that undertake unique, innovative, or novel approaches to environmental problem-solving would also be scored higher. Compatibility with federal or state programs is also a key criterion in the proposal. Over the past decade, EPA has witnessed a groundswell of support for locally-driven watershed protection and restoration efforts. In many communities, such as those along the Charles River in Massachusetts, citizen groups, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses have come together and created long-term goals and innovative solutions to clean up their watersheds and promote more sustainable uses of their water resources. The Watershed Initiative seeks to build on the energy, commitment, in-depth knowledge of local problems and enthusiasm of these
Governors and Tribal Leaders would evaluate proposals using a process most appropriate to their state or tribe. The Governors and Tribal Leaders would then nominate to EPA by November 21 the two most meritorious proposals, plus an unlimited number of inter-state and inter-tribal nominations. Nominations submitted by the Governors and Tribal Leaders would be evaluated based on a set of criteria outlined by EPA. Proposals would be required to explain in detail how the infusion of additional funds would help support
projects that quickly result in cleaner water.
As part of the Watershed Initiative, EPA has asked Congress to fund 10 employees to work with the grant recipients to help them meet their objectives and to share knowledge of their experiences with other states and watershed organizations. About five percent of the total appropriation would go toward enhancing national tools, training, and technical assistance that would help local partnerships be more effective at improving watershed health.
The Federal Register Notice and other information about today's Watershed Initiative is available at https://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative/ .