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News Releases from Region 03

EPA Awards $1.1 Million to Virginia Projects to Protect Wetlands and Adapt to Climate Change

Contact Information: 
David Sternberg (sternberg.david@epa.gov)

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

EPA Awards $1.1 Million to Virginia Projects to Protect Wetlands and Adapt to Climate Change

PHILADELPHIA (December 8, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has awarded two Wetland Program Development Grants totaling approximately $1.1 million to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).

“Wetlands play a significant role in protecting our nation’s water supply,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin at a press conference today at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, Va. “By taking action to protect and restore these valuable resources, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are protecting sources of our drinking water, preventing flooding, and making us more resilient to climate change.”

The Virginia DEQ will receive $750,000 in federal funds for a project focusing on developing strategies and extending outreach to improve the understanding and protection of aquatic resources of high ecological value.  Examples include areas such as headwaters, and wetlands that may help improve the quality of waters which are impaired by pollution. 

This grant will also help Virginia enhance its online Virginia Wetlands Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT) which assists in identifying high valued wetland areas and assessing conditions of wetlands for permits and mitigation regulations.  


“Our wetland resources play a critical role in environmental health, and Virginia appreciates the opportunity to make the best possible use of this grant,” said Virginia DEQ Director David K. Paylor. “Providing much-needed attention to aquatic resources is a key priority in our efforts to help restore and protect the quality of our wetlands and improve climate resiliency.”

VIMS will also receive $356,000 which will address the need to construct and test a climate change vulnerability assessment framework for coastal Virginia wetlands that integrates multiple factors and opportunities to strengthen their capacity for resilience.

“EPA’s support will allow us to continue guiding the informed management of Virginia’s threatened wetland resources,” said Dr. Carl Hershner, Director of VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management. “It will help us determine which wetlands are most vulnerable to climate change, and how we can maximize their continued capacity to provide important ecosystem services.”

The Clean Water Act recognizes the dangers of upstream pollution sources. As water flows downstream, it can carry pollutants with it. Wetlands are instrumental in eliminating or treating pollution, and can have a huge impact on receiving waters located downstream.

In 2016, EPA’s mid-Atlantic region awarded approximately $2.8 million in Wetland Program Development Grants. Grant recipients also include the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maryland Department of Environment.

Wetland Program Development Grants are used to build and refine comprehensive wetland programs, with priority given to funding projects that address: developing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program; improving the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation; and refining the protection of vulnerable wetlands and aquatic resources

For more information: http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/wetlands/grantguidelines/index.cfm