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Bear River project receives $707,581 EPA watershed grant

Release Date: 7/20/2004
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the Bear River Commission, with offices in Bountiful, Utah, as the recipient of a $707,581 Targeted Watershed Grant to develop its innovative water-quality trading program to improve water quality in the Bear River Basin.

The Bear River project was one of 14 projects to be funded, competing against 114 projects from across the country.

The 7,500-square-mile Bear River Watershed exemplifies many of the complexities faced in water quality management and is an excellent candidate for study and demonstration of how trading based on integrated watershed information and management can improve water quality.

Fifty-two streams and nine lakes in the Bear River Basin are on state lists of impaired waters in three states – Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Water quality problems include sediment, nutrients, fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen and high water temperature. Pollutant sources include animal feeding operations, grazing, agriculture, wastewater treatment, degraded stream banks, urban development, roads, phosphate mining, oil and gas exploration, and logging.

“This targeted grant selection recognizes the efforts of the Bear River Commission and speaks to the progressive approach that this watershed group is taking towards addressing water quality issues,” said Max Dodson, U.S. EPA Region 8 Assistant Regional Administrator. “We are encouraged by this integrated and holistic method that will utilize economics are the marketplace based on scientific data and analysis.”

The Bear River Commission will develop an integrated Watershed Data Information System and water quality models to support an innovative water quality trading system. An online virtual trading room will be developed that will provide infrastructure and support for pollutant trading, tracking, and account balancing to address pollution throughout the basin.

This year, $15 million was available for the nationwide competitive grant process with an emphasis placed on funding proposals that included a market-based approach. Selection criteria included innovation, environmental results, broad support, outreach and financial integrity. Selectees demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of watershed ecology, presented a sound approach for combating threats or impairments to the water system and showed they were likely to achieve measurable, quantifiable environmental results in a relatively short time period.

The Targeted Watershed Grant program funds large watershed implementation projects across the country to study promising and innovative watershed-based approaches to improving water quality.

The watersheds announced, representing more than 20,000 square miles of rivers, lakes and streams across the United States, are:

Bear River, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming
Nashua River, Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Ipswich River, Massachusetts
Passaic River, New Jersey
Schuylkill River, Pennsylvania
Cape Fear, North Carolina
Sangamon River, Illinois
Kalamazoo River, Michigan
Fourche Creek, Arkansas
Upper Mississippi River, Iowa
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Siuslaw River, Oregon
Dungeness River, Washington
Kenai River, Alaska

Detailed information about these projects and the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program is available at: For more on The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, please visit: