EPA awards North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality $3.8 million to improve water quality and watershed health
EPA partners with the state and agriculture industry to protect and restore watersheds
BISMARCK, N.D. (September 26, 2019) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $3,799,000 to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) to improve water quality in streams, rivers and lakes. The funding comes through a Nonpoint Source Program Clean Water Act (Section 319) grant, which is given to states to implement programs that address various sources of pollution in surface and groundwater to meet and maintain water quality standards.
“EPA is partnering with NDDEQ to restore water quality throughout five watersheds in the state,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “Water quality across the West is a high priority and by working together on these projects, our impact is that much greater.”
“The Section 319 grants provide a unique opportunity for local resource managers and other organizations to secure additional funds,” said Greg Sandness, North Dakota’s NPS Pollution Management Program Coordinator. “The funds help with implementing water quality educational programs and delivering assistance to residents, landowners and agricultural producers to address local water quality improvement priorities.”
Given the size of the agricultural industry in North Dakota, most of the state’s Section 319 funds are directed toward projects promoting voluntary nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control on agricultural lands. This grant continues those efforts by providing financial assistance to reduce NPS pollution and improve water quality in the predominantly agricultural watersheds of the Painted Woods Creek, Sheyenne River, Goodman Creek, English Coulee, and Upper Spring Creek.
Best management practices (BMPs) are being used to address NPS pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sediments, and/or E. coli bacteria. These BMPs may include rotational grazing systems, riparian buffer strips, manure management systems, cover crops and conservation tillage, and alternative water supplies for livestock. Each watershed project has a local coordinator who works with various partners to achieve project goals and garner local support and funds. The grant provides seed money that is matched by state and local funding, bringing together local landowners and a variety of government agencies, all working toward a common goal of improved water quality.
Also funded by the grant is the statewide Livestock Pollution Prevention Program (LP3) and five educational projects. The LP3 provides technical and financial assistance to livestock producers for the design and installation of systems that improve manure management and reduce the transport of pollutants from livestock feeding areas. The educational projects include Project WET (Water Education for Teachers); The Regional Environmental Education Series (TREES); Rancher Mentoring and Outreach Program; Livestock Nutrient Management Education Program; and the Soil Conservation and Watershed Leadership Academy.
For more information regarding EPA’s Nonpoint Source grant program visit: https://www.epa.gov/nps/319-grant-program-states-and-territories