U.S. EPA awards over $8.4 million to California State Water Resources Control Board for water quality protection
SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a $8,415,900 grant to the California State Water Resources Control Board to reduce polluted runoff and improve the health of California’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. “This grant will assist California in its important efforts to protect and restore its lakes, rivers, coastal waters and groundwater.”
“Because we have limited resources for programs that address nonpoint source pollution, we are immensely grateful for the EPA grant,” said Chief Deputy Director of the State Water Resources Control Board Jonathan Bishop. “This funding provides for much-needed on-the-ground-work in our ongoing attempts to protect our waters and maintain water quality throughout the 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 is used to support water quality improvements throughout the state. Recently completed projects in the California portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin include:
Accelerated Best Management Practice Implementation in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, $300,000
The project is built on an existing program by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to help private property owners and local municipalities implement stormwater runoff control practices. Fine sediment particles delivered to Lake Tahoe by urban stormwater are the primary pollutant of concern for the lake, causing a loss of clarity in the lake. The project increased implementation of control practices by commercial and multi-family residential parcels, based on proximity to recently completed or planned water quality improvement projects, sensitive lands, steep slopes, and areas that have been identified as having a high level of pollutants.
Lake Forest Water Quality Improvement Project (Panorama Phase) – Placer County, $750,000
The project supported the reduction of sediment and improved water quality by restoring wetlands in the Lake Forest - Panorama neighborhood. This project has invested more than $6.7 million in water quality improvements over the past nine years. Partners include the California Tahoe Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The project restored Lake Forest Creek as well as a portion of wetlands on California State Parks land.
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 year, EPA is distributing more than $165 million in section 319 grants to states, territories, and tribes. Over the last two years, states and tribes 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. The 319 grants received by California complement other funding to address pollution to surface and groundwater, including Clean Water State Revolving Funds and Water Pollution Control grants.
For more information regarding EPA’s Nonpoint Source grant program visit: https://www.epa.gov/nps/319-grant-program-states-and-territories
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