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EPA To Provide $1.7 Million to Pacific Northwest Watershed Efforts
Release Date: 5/2/2003
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
May 2, 2003
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced that the agency will provide the Tri-State Water Quality Council (The Council) with $1 million for a set of restoration projects for the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille watershed in Montana and Idaho. The agency will also provide the Lower Columbia River and Estuary Partnership (LCREP) with $700,000 to complete stream restoration, wetland restoration, and habitat monitoring projects in both Washington and Oregon. The funds are part of a new EPA Watershed Initiative providing $15 million in grants to 20 watershed organizations across the country selected by the agency.
The Clark Fork-Pend Oreille interstate watershed is the largest watershed selected for funding, covering 26,000 square miles, encompassing three states and one Indian reservation. More than 65 percent of the watershed's streams are not meeting the uses designated by states, making restoration and improvement of water quality imperative. Total EPA funding for the project will be $1 million, and the Council and its partners are matching the grant with over $1 million in non-federal funds. The funds announced today will enable diverse stakeholders and individual watershed groups – under the umbrella of the Tri-State Water Quality Council – to implement a variety of projects such as dairy waste management and riparian habitat restoration. The ultimate goal is to reduce nutrients entering the watershed and improving fish habitat in the headwaters of the Columbia River.
The Lower Columbia River and Estuary Partnership is one of 28 national estuary programs recognized under the Clean Water Act. The Partnership focuses on improving water quality in the lower Columbia River estuary through on-the-ground improvements and education programs. The EPA grant will help the LCREP improve water quality and critical habitat types important to threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Specifically, the funds will help enhance about 200 acres of wetlands at Oregon’s Rooster Rock State Park in the upper portion of the estuary, and will enable the LCREP to acquire and restore about 118 acres of various habitats along the Deep River in Washington.
During last year’s State of Union Address, President Bush asked the nation’s governors and tribal leaders to nominate proposals to support community-based approaches to clean up the nation’s watersheds. This year Congress appropriated $15 million of the President’s original $20 million dollar funding request. Regional and national experts selected the winners from a field of more than 176 nominations.
"The new national Watershed Initiative targets mature community-based watershed groups that have developed science-based watershed plans, established broad partnerships, and are ready to carry out projects that will measurably improve water quality," said EPA Region 10 Administrator L. John Iani. "There were many outstanding proposals from our states. We will be looking for other opportunities to bolster these other groups’ works in the future.
“There’s so much to be done – and so many great organizations getting it done."
“These Watershed Initiative grants will help tackle some of the nation’s most pernicious water quality problems—problems such as habitat loss and alteration, nutrient enrichment, pathogens, and invasive species—which continue to harm watersheds nationwide,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, G. Tracy Mehan, III.