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Water: Beach Grants

EPA Grants Available in 2010 for States to Implement Water Quality Monitoring and Public Notification Programs at the Nation’s Beaches

Fact Sheet; EPA 823-F-09-10; January 2010

EPA is making almost $10 million in grants available in 2010 to eligible coastal and Great Lakes states, territories and tribes to help them implement programs to monitor water quality at the beach and to notify the public when water quality problems exist.


Each swimming season, state and local health and environmental protection agencies monitor the quality of water at the nation’s beaches. When bacteria levels in the water are too high, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach.

To improve water quality testing at the beach and to help beach managers better inform the public when there are water quality problems, Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act in 2000. Section 406 of this Act authorizes EPA to award grants to eligible states, territories and tribes to develop and implement beach water quality monitoring and notification programs for coastal and Great Lakes recreational beach waters. The grants also help these governments develop and implement programs to inform the public about the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in the water at the nation’s beaches.

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In 2010, EPA expects to award $9.9 million in grants to eligible states, territories and tribes for their beach water protection programs. For this tenth year of the BEACH Act grants, EPA has set aside $100,000 for eligible tribes who may apply to develop a beach program. EPA expects to apportion these funds evenly among all eligible tribes that apply. EPA expects to award grants to all eligible states and territories that apply based on an allocation formula. EPA consulted with states and the Coastal States Organization in 2002 to develop this formula, which considers three factors: 1) beach season length, 2) total miles of shoreline, and 3) coastal county population. EPA refers to this as the base formula. This year, EPA is implementing an additional formula as a supplement to the base formula. The Agency consulted with states in 2005-2006 to develop this supplemental formula, which considers two factors: 1) beach miles and 2) beach use. The results of the base and supplemental formulas are added together to arrive at a total grant for each eligible state and territory.

Based on this allocation formula, the amount of each implementation grant ranges from $86,000 to $531,000, if all 35 eligible states and territories apply. EPA expects all 35 eligible governments to apply. If fewer apply or qualify for the grants, then EPA will redistribute available funds to states according to the following principles:

  1. States that meet the eligibility requirements for implementation grants and that have met the statutory conditions applicable to previously awarded section 406 grants will be awarded the full amount of funds allocated to the state under the formula described above.
  2. EPA may award program implementation grants to local governments in states that the Agency determines have not met the requirements for implementation grants.
  3. Consistent with CWA section 406(h), EPA will use grant funds to conduct a beach monitoring and notification program in the case of a state that has no program for monitoring and notification that is consistent with EPA’s grant performance criteria.

If all 35 eligible states and territories apply and meet the performance criteria, the allocation of funds for this year will be:

State Distribution of Funds
For the state
or territory of:
The year 2010 allocation
is expected to be:
Alabama $264,000
Alaska $86,000
American Samoa $303,000
California $520,000
Connecticut $225,000
Delaware $212,000
Florida $531,000
Georgia $288,000
Guam $304,000
Hawaii $326,000
Illinois $245,000
Indiana $207,000
Louisiana $323,000
Maine $256,000
Maryland $271,000
Massachusetts $257,000
Michigan $281,000
Minnesota $206,000
Mississippi $259,000
New Hampshire $206,000
New Jersey $280,000
New York $351,000
North Carolina $305,000
Northern Marianas $304,000
Ohio $225,000
Oregon $230,000
Pennsylvania (Erie County) $224,000
Puerto Rico $330,000
Rhode Island $215,000
South Carolina $299,000
Texas $386,000
U.S. Virgin Islands $304,000
Virginia $278,000
Washington $272,000
Wisconsin $227,000

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How does the allocation described above relate to the August 13, 2008 Federal Register Notice regarding expected changes to the Beach Act grant allocation formula?

On August 13, 2008, EPA published changes to the allocation formula that the Agency expected to implement starting with the BEACH Act grants to be awarded in 2010 (73 FR 47154). The allocation of grant funds for this year includes reallocating older money left unspent by Alaska according to the announced changes.

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How long will the funding and project period last?

The funding and project periods for the fiscal year 2010 implementation grants will last one year.

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Who is eligible to apply?

In order to be eligible for BEACH Act grants, states and territories must have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters next to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. Under the BEACH Act, EPA can also award grants to eligible tribes. To receive BEACH Act grants, tribes, like states and territories, must have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters next to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. In addition, a tribe must demonstrate that it meets the “treatment in the same manner as a state” criteria contained in section 518(e) of the Clean Water Act. EPA encourages those tribes with coastal recreation waters to contact their EPA regional beach program coordinator as soon as possible for further information regarding the application process.

The BEACH Act also authorizes EPA to give a grant to a local government to implement a monitoring and notification program, but only if the Agency finds that the state is not implementing a program that meets the requirements of the Act. Local governments may contact their EPA regional beach program coordinator for further information about BEACH Act grants.

In July 2002, EPA published the National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants which explains the requirements for states, territories, tribes, and local governments to qualify for implementation grants. This document is on EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches. A free printed copy of the guidance is available by ordering online at www.epa.gov/nscep/.  Search for EPA document number 823B02004.

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How does a state or territory apply?

Eligible states and territories may get an application from their EPA Regional Office beach program contact. These contacts are listed in the Federal Register Notice of Availability for the BEACH grants on EPA’s Beaches Web site at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/grants.

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For more information

For more information on the BEACH grants, please contact your EPA Regional Office’s beach program representative (see https://www.epa.gov/beaches/plan/whereyoulive_state.html to locate your representative) or contact EPA Headquarters’ Standards and Health Protection Division at (202) 566-0400.

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