U.S. EPA awards over $1.3 million to Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for water quality protection
CARSON CITY – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $1,338,000 grant to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (NDCNR) to reduce polluted runoff and improve the health of Nevada’s waterways. Today’s announcement coincides with the 23rd annual Lake Tahoe Summit in South Lake Tahoe.
“Improving water quality across the West is a high priority for EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “EPA is pleased to support projects which reduce pollution and restore Nevada's waters.”
“The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection is excited to leverage these grant funds to make important investments in projects that improve water quality for the benefit of all Nevadans,” said Greg Lovato, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. “We want to thank the EPA for continuing to support our mission to enhance water quality, habitat, and environmental education throughout the Silver State.”
The grant is part of the Nonpoint Source (NPS) program under Clean Water Act Section 319. NPS grants are given to states to implement environmental programs that address various sources of nonpoint source pollution to surface water and groundwater in order to achieve and maintain water quality standards. This EPA funding supports state-wide efforts and on-the ground projects that implement a variety of best management practices to reduce pollution, including watershed planning, monitoring, and education and outreach programs.
Section 319 funding is used to support water quality improvement projects throughout the state. Examples of projects in the Nevada portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin include:
Incline Village Green Infrastructure Project – Washoe County and Nevada Tahoe Conservation District, $150,000
The project reduced stormwater pollutants to Lake Tahoe and helped Washoe County restore Lake Tahoe's clarity by designing and installing green infrastructure in the road right-of-way and adjacent public lands.
Mysis Shrimp Control to Recover Lake Clarity – U.C. Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, $60,000
The project is pilot testing a plan to reduce the abundance of Mysis shrimp in Lake Tahoe. The reduction of this invasive species may allow the recovery of native zooplankton species, whose higher grazing rates have been shown to significantly improve water clarity in Emerald Bay. The results from the pilot test will be used to develop a Mysis shrimp reduction plan for Lake Tahoe, which could play a role in decreasing the time to achieve lake clarity and ecosystem restoration. The project is expected to be completed in June 2020.
Discover the Waters of Lake Tahoe Children’s Activity Book – Project WET Foundation, $75,000
Designed to inspire youth stewardship of Lake Tahoe, the Discover the Waters of Lake Tahoe activity book serves as an engaging outreach tool that focuses on key topics such as nonpoint source pollution, invasive species, watershed education and more. The activity book features science-based information through diverse education methods, content-rich text, interactive games, challenging experiments, and fun exercises.
Nonpoint source pollution is caused as water moves over the ground and picks up natural and man-made pollutants, transporting them to lakes, rivers, coastal waters and groundwater. This type of pollution can contribute to problems like harmful algal blooms, erosion, and bacteria contamination of surface and groundwater.
Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987 to help states control nonpoint sources of water pollution. This funding is part of EPA’s overall effort to ensure that America’s waters are clean and safe. This year, EPA is distributing more than $165 million in section 319 grants to states, territories, and tribes to reduce nonpoint source runoff in urban and rural areas, including efforts to reduce excess nutrients that can enter our waters and cause public health and environmental challenges. Over the last two years, states restored over 80 waters and reduced over 17 million pounds of nitrogen, nearly 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 3.5 million tons of excess sediment through Section 319 projects.
For more information regarding EPA’s Nonpoint Source grant program visit: https://www.epa.gov/nps/319-grant-program-states-and-territories