EPA offers first-ever grants to reduce toxics in Columbia River
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced its inaugural grant offering for projects aimed at reducing toxics in the Columbia River Basin. The agency expects to fund approximately $1 million worth of projects.
The new grant program was created by the December 2016 enactment of the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act which recognized that EPA must address water quality throughout the basin.
Human activities have significantly altered the Columbia River Basin’s ecosystem where dozens of state, tribal, and federal agencies and NGOs have spent decades mitigating impacts on fish and wildlife. Until now, addressing water quality and toxics reduction has not been a main focus of these efforts. Under the Clean Water Act, water quality is addressed by reducing pollution, including toxics that can accumulate in water, sediment and fish tissues. Tribal people and other populations who consume large amounts of fish can be particularly affected by pollution in the basin.
The agency is issuing two Requests for Application for grants to fund projects aimed at reducing toxics in the Columbia River Basin: one for the Lower Columbia River Estuary and one for the Middle and Upper Columbia River Basin. Eligible entities include state governments, tribal governments, regional water pollution control organizations, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and soil and water conservation districts.
Successful projects will meet one or more of the EPA’s goals for the Columbia River Basin:
- Increased monitoring and access to data from monitoring
- Reducing stormwater and agricultural runoff
- Promoting citizen engagement or education to promote pollution prevention
- Targeted small-scale clean-up actions to reduce toxics enter the river basin.
The work must be for the purpose of environmental protection and restoration activities within the Columbia River Basin, and may include programs, projects and studies.
Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) no later than Friday, December 20, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (ET) to be considered for funding.
EPA anticipates selecting grantees between February and September of 2020.
More information about the EPA’s new Columbia River Toxics Reduction grants program can be found at: EPA’s Columbia River Basin Website