CHICAGO (Nov. 15, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen the Vermillion River watershed in Minnesota to receive a $675,000 Targeted Watershed Grant. It is among 12 watersheds nationwide eligible to receive part of $9 million for innovative water quality protection projects.
The grant will be given to the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization to protect a high-quality trout stream in an urbanizing area through the development of a trading program. The EPA grant with $250,000 in matching local funds will be used to preserve the cold water inflows that make the river a perfect trout habitat. It will allow landowners to buy or trade infiltration and buffering functions. The 372-square-mile watershed is the largest in the Twin Cities region.
"The goal of EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program is to build on the successes of innovative local initiatives such as the Vermillion River project," said EPA Regional Administrator Tom Skinner. "This is what can be accomplished
when people from all walks of life sit at the same table and work collaboratively. This kind of community effort improves water quality, and it improves the quality of life."
"Of course, we're honored that EPA chose our application as one of their 2005 winners," said Dakota County Board Commissioner Joseph A. Harris. "We will now be able to put our work plan into action much more quickly than we had originally thought we could. The end result will be preserving and restoring the Vermillion River to a healthy, sustainable water body using sound scientific and economic criteria to manage land uses within the watershed."
Sheryl Corrigan, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner, said, "This generous grant will enable the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Association to make significant progress in protecting water quality in this unique and important watershed in our metropolitan area. It will build on the progress made with the help of an earlier EPA grant for $57,800 awarded in 2000. Together these grants are helping the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency achieve its goal of reducing nonpoint-source pollution of the state's rivers and improving the water quality essential to Minnesota's future growth."
The three-year-old Targeted Watersheds Grant Program fosters community-based initiatives to help protect, preserve and restore local or regional watersheds. More information about this year's selections and the grants program is at www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative.
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