EPA Awards Over $14 Million to Improve and Protect Water Quality in Arizona, California, Nevada & Hawaii
Grant funding will support state projects and leverage local partnerships
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $14,504,000 for water improvement projects in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawai’i to implement Nonpoint Source (NPS) management plans. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall moving over the ground, leading to runoff which picks up natural and man-made pollutants as it flows. NPS pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources.
"Arizona appreciates EPA's continued support of our work to improve the quality of important surface waters," said ADEQ Water Division Director Trevor Baggiore. "ADEQ will use these funds to continue surface water remediation projects that are reducing heavy metals in waters near legacy mine sites and reducing E. coli in Oak Creek, a designated Outstanding Arizona Water and popular recreation area. Our on-the-ground projects have already produced measurable improvements in surface water quality, including the return of fish and wildlife to these areas and significantly less E. coli in Oak Creek."
“These funds will accelerate California’s efforts to reduce the impacts of runoff pollution on the state’s water bodies,” said Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board. “It will help us prevent future harmful algal blooms, collaborate with ranching and agriculture communities to implement sustainable operating practices, and restore watersheds affected by historic and active mining and timber activities. We are grateful for the reliable support of our federal partners for our work to protect California’s waters.”
“Nonpoint source pollution is the major cause of brown water advisories and overall water quality degradation in Hawai’i. These Federal grant funds will be combined with State funding to protect water quality and restore healthy ecosystems in watersheds throughout Hawai’i,” said Kathleen Ho, Deputy Director, Hawai’i Department of Health.
“Nonpoint sources continue to be a leading cause of water quality impairment which can be particularly challenging to manage since it cannot be traced to a specific source,” said NDEP Nonpoint Source Pollution Program Manager Jon Paul Kiel. “Grants from EPA, leveraged with local funding sources, support the implementation of NDEP’s Nonpoint Source State Management Plan to reduce these sources of pollution.”
“These grants will do much to advance our shared goal of protecting water resources in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii,” said EPA Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Combined with state matching funds, EPA’s awards will help put into place the best practices needed to reduce runoff-related pollution and improve water quality for our communities.”
EPA awarded the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) $2,765,000. In addition to using funding for projects at legacy mine sites at Lynx Creek (Middle Gila Watershed), Cienega Creek (Santa Cruz watershed) and the Babocamari River (San Pedro watershed), Arizona will also use a portion of the funds to monitor progress at previously remediated sites and conduct pollution source identification.
EPA awarded $9,008,000 to the California Water Boards to support implementation of California’s NPS management program plan. Over $4 million will be used by partners conducting on-the-ground implementation projects, including projects to reduce excess sediment loading and enhance habitat in the Noyo River, Big River and Navarro River watersheds in Mendocino County, and tributaries to the Truckee River, the Napa River, Sonoma Creek and the Ventura River. The California Water Boards are currently accepting proposals through Dec 19, 2022, for future NPS projects. The State will also use grant funds to advance implementation of the Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Policy (e.g., septic systems) and other efforts addressing priority NPS pollution such as nutrients, sediments, pathogens (bacteria), salts, and pesticides.
EPA awarded $1.3 million to the Hawai’i Department of Health to support implementation of Hawai’i’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan. Grant funds will support several on-the-ground projects working to reduce NPS pollution and restore water quality in priority watersheds with watershed-based plans. Hawai’i recently completed its annual solicitation seeking proposals for watershed implementation projects. More information on projects Hawai’i has funded is available at the projects viewer. Hawai’i will also use funds to implement the recently approved NPS requirements under Hawai’i Administrative Rules 11-56.
EPA awarded $1,432,000 to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to support implementation of Nevada’s Nonpoint Source State Management Plan. Nevada will focus these resources on priority watersheds, environmental education, and providing for enhanced coordination to identify the most effective methods to address NPS pollution. The State is currently reviewing proposals for projects with emphasis on the Las Vegas Wash, Carson River Basin, Lake Tahoe Basin, and Truckee River watersheds, and programs to reduce nonpoint sources of pollution, which is the leading cause of water quality impairments in the state (2022 319(h) Grant Funding Opportunity).
Nonpoint source pollution can impact lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Controlling nonpoint source pollution is especially important due to the harmful effects that the pollutants have on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife.
These grants are part of EPA's 2022 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant Program. Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987 to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. For examples of how EPA Region 9 States have used Clean Water Act Section 319 grant funds to improve water quality visit EPA’s Success Stories about Restoring Water Bodies Impaired by Nonpoint Source Pollution webpage.
For more information on watershed projects, visit EPA’s Nonpoint Source (NPS) Watershed Projects : Interactive Map and Reporting webpage.
For more information on polluted runoff, visit EPA’s Nonpoint Source Pollution webpage.