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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Awards Texas and Louisiana Grants to Monitor Water Quality at Coastal Beaches

05/23/2019
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (May 23, 2019) As the nation heads into the summer beach season, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun awarding up to $9.24 million across 39 states, territories and tribes to develop and implement beach monitoring and notification programs. Upon meeting the eligibility requirements, the state of Louisiana will receive $314,000 and the state of Texas will receive $343,000.

“Ensuring Americans have clean water for drinking and recreation is a national priority for the Trump Administration, and EPA is doing its part to make sure our coastal and Great Lakes waters are clean and healthy for beachgoers this summer,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants will increase public information about water quality at our beaches and help our state and local partners conduct testing and address potential sources of contamination.”

“The Gulf of Mexico is one of our nation’s most treasured natural resources, providing recreation for millions of visitors each year,” said Acting Regional Administrator David W. Gray. “ EPA’s BEACH grants will help Texas and Louisiana beachgoers stay informed and safe this summer.”

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial and tribal applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches. When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach. Since 2002, state and local governments, territories and tribes have used nearly $167 million in EPA BEACH Act grants to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA.

As part of EPA’s efforts to better protect Americans who plan to swim and play in or near the water the summer, the agency recently issued recommendations for water quality criteria and swimming advisory values for two cyanotoxins. Algal blooms caused by cyanobacteria sometimes produce cyanotoxins that can be harmful to people recreating in or on the water when present above certain concentrations. EPA’s recommendations are available for states to consider if they develop water quality standards or local swimming advisories for cyanotoxins. EPA also released infographics that states and communities can use to communicate basic information about harmful algal blooms (HABs) to the public. States, tribes and waterbody managers can download handout- and poster-sized infographic files, along with instructions on how to add local contact information, from EPA’s newly refreshed Cyanobacterial HABs websiteEPA’s 2019 BEACH Act grant funding, contingent upon meeting the eligibility requirements, will be allocated to the following states, territories and tribes:

EPA Region 1
Connecticut $210,000
Maine $239,000
Massachusetts $239,000
New Hampshire $190,000
Rhode Island $200,000

EPA Region 2
New Jersey $246,000
New York $303,000
Puerto Rico $315,000
U.S. Virgin Islands $272,000

EPA Region 3
Delaware $206,000
Maryland $236,000
Pennsylvania $212,000
Virginia $240,000

EPA Region 4
Alabama $256,000
Florida $419,000
Georgia $269,000
Mississippi $254,000
North Carolina $277,000
South Carolina $274,000

EPA Region 5
Illinois $222,000
Indiana $203,000
Michigan $241,000
Minnesota $202,000
Ohio $212,000
Wisconsin $213,000
Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians $50,000
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa $50,000

EPA Region 6
Louisiana $314,000
Texas $343,000

EPA Region 9
American Samoa $301,000
California $413,000
Guam $301,000
Hawaii $312,000
Northern Mariana Islands $302,000

EPA Region 10
Alaska $150,000
Oregon $215,000
Washington $237,000
Makah Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation $50,000
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community $50,000

For specific information on grants under the BEACH Act, grant guidance, and contact information for state and local beach programs, visit www.epa.gov/beach-tech/beach-grants.

To check on the latest closings and advisories at particular beaches, the public should contact the relevant state, tribal or territorial beach program listed at www.epa.gov/beaches/state-territorial-tribal-and-epa-beach-program-contacts.

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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central  

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