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Upper Sevier River water quality project receives $600K EPA grant

Release Date: 11/10/2005
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      Denver- The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will provide $600K to the Upper Sevier River Watershed to fund water quality improvement efforts. This grant will reduce pollution and establish a Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery by restoring impacted river reaches and encouraging the use of more efficient irrigation and grazing practices. The effort, one of 12 watershed projects selected nationwide under EPA's Targeted Watershed Grant program, will be managed by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

      "This is a partnership that will lead to significant and measurable water quality benefits from both stream restoration and improved agricultural practices," said EPA's Regional Administrator, Robbie Roberts. "In emphasizing collaboration with local landowners, we expect this project will demonstrate successes that will be transferable to other agricultural areas."

      Encompassing 2,031 square miles in south-central Utah, the Upper Sevier River Watershed is predominantly public land with private agricultural land concentrated in lower elevation valleys. The Targeted Watershed Grant will improve stream channel condition and restore riparian and fish habitat in approximately 24 miles of river in four areas of the watershed. In addition, outreach with local agricultural producers will focus on reducing runoff from irrigated fields and rangeland. As a result of this work, severely eroding streambanks will be stabilized with vegetation and the amount of sediments and phosphorus entering the river will be reduced.

      This project follows up on the Upper Sevier River Community Watershed Project, which identified water quality issues associated with habitat alteration and irrigation impacts as primary concerns in the basin. Utah DEQ will lead the project with a diverse technical project team and will work closely with federal, state and local partners.
The Upper Sevier coalition joins 34 others that have used EPA Targeted Watershed Grants over the past two years to help protect and restore some of the nation’s most highly valued watersheds. The total amount awarded through this program since 2003 is nearly $39 million.

“This seed money grows partnerships for healthy watersheds and sustainable infrastructure,” said EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin H. Grumbles. “These grass-roots projects advance cooperative conservation and environmental innovation across America.”

The 12 projects announced today, receiving over $9 million in gants, are being recognized for having set clear goals and comprehensive watershed plans. The Targeted Watersheds Grant program has come a long way in fostering community-based initiatives to help protect, preserve, and restore watersheds. The goal of the program is to build on the successes of partners who have completed watershed assessments and are ready to carry out plans to achieve water quality improvements.

Today’s selections will help improve watershed health in areas from northern Maine to the California coast. Projects include stream stabilization, culvert replacement, and habitat enhancement activities. Funds will also be going to implement agricultural management practices in rural areas and stormwater management practices in urban areas. Many of the projects this year will benefit anadromous fish species and natural fisheries.

In addition to the Upper Sevier River, the other targeted watersheds for 2005 are:

Presumpscot River/Casco Bay, Maine
Lake Hopatcong, N.J.
Cheat River, W.Va.
Little River, Tenn.
Vermillion River, Minn.
Huff Run, Ohio
Tangipahoa River, La.
Tuttle Creek Lake, Neb. and Kan.
Trinity River/Lower Klamath River, Calif.
Willamette River, Ore.
Skagit River, Wash.

For more information about this year’s selections or about the Targeted Watershed Grant program go to: