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Whiteman Announces $15 Million for the Nation’s Watersheds

Release Date: 05/02/2003
Contact Information:

CONTACT: John Millett, 202-564-7842 /

(05/02/03) To support community-driven initiatives that protect habitat, improve water quality, and enhance outdoor recreation, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced nearly $15 million in grants to 20 watershed organizations selected as part of a new Watershed Initiative.

“This national competition for these Watershed Initiative grants generated an outpouring of outstanding proposals, each with the enthusiastic support of their respective governors and Tribal leaders,” said Administrator Whitman. “EPA is very excited to commit significant federal dollars to support these top watershed efforts, all of which will serve as national models for other communities to follow. The organizations selected today stand ready to achieve on-the-ground water quality improvements. Two years from now, I am confident that we will see cleaner water and measurable environmental change – such as the return of native bass and trout fisheries and increased recreational opportunities.”

“The Watershed Initiative builds on the energy, commitment, in-depth knowledge of local problems, and enthusiasm of citizen-driven efforts,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, G. Tracy Mehan, III. “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, all of which continue to harm watersheds nationwide.”

During last year’s State of the Union Address, President George W. 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.

The winning watersheds cover more than 90,000 square miles of the nation’s lakes, rivers and streams. They represent our country’s unique and varied landscape – from the forests of Maine to the tropics of Hawaii. These watersheds reside in urban and rural areas, encompass agricultural land, and are often threatened by suburban sprawl. Funds will go toward restoration and protection projects, such as stream stabilization and habitat enhancement, implementing agricultural best management practices, and working with local governments and homeowners to promote sustainable practices and strategies. The grants range from $300,000 to $1 million. For more information log on to

Regional and national experts selected the winners from a highly competitive field of more than 176 nominations. Today’s winners were chosen because they best demonstrated the ability to achieve on-the-ground environmental results in a short time frame. Each of these watershed organizations exhibited strong partnerships with a wide variety of support, showed innovation, and demonstrated compatibility with existing governmental programs.

The 20 winning watersheds include:
• Meduxnekeag River, Maine
• Narragansett Bay, R.I., Mass.
• Charles River, Mass.
• Raritan River, N.J.
• Susquehanna Headwaters, N.Y., Pa.
• Christina River, Pa., Del.
• Dunkard Creek, Pa., W.Va.
• Upper Tennessee River, Va., Tenn., N.C.
• Cumberland River, Tenn., Ky.
• Great Miami River, Ohio
• Greater Blue Earth Watershed, Minn., Iowa
• Manistee River, Mich.
• Rio Puerco Watershed, N.M.
• Bayou Bartholomew, Ark.
• Rathbun Lake, Iowa
• Upper White Watershed, Ark., Mo.
• Clark Fork-Pend Oreille, Mont., Idaho, Wash.
• Upper South Platte, Colo.
• Hanalei Bay, Hawaii
• Lower Columbia River Ore., Wash.

Whitman announced the grants at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association’s Watershed Nature Reserve in Pennington, N.J. and presented a $15 million check to the nation’s watersheds. She applauded the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and the other organizations working on behalf of clean water and a healthy environment.