TN Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant Program

Tennessee Department of Agriculture

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Dec 1, 2019

Applicant type: Government Entity College / University Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Education / Outreach, Research

Location of project: Tennessee

Location of residency: Tennessee

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Nonpoint Source Program, EPA Section 319

Today, nonpoint source pollution is the nation's largest source of water quality problems. It is the main reason that about 40 percent of our surveyed rivers, lakes, and estuaries are not clean enough to meet basic uses such as fishing or swimming. NPS pollution occurs when water runs over land or through the ground, picking up pollutants, and depositing them into rivers, lakes, and coastal waters or introducing them into ground water. NPS pollution is widespread because it can occur any time activities disturb the land or water. Agriculture, forestry, grazing, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff, construction, physical changes to stream channels, and habitat degradation are potential sources of NPS pollution. Careless or uninformed household management also contributes to NPS pollution.

To address this diffuse type of pollution, Congress established the Nonpoint Source Program, funded by the US-EPA through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture administers the Nonpoint Source Program in Tennessee on behalf of US-EPA. This program, created in 1987, provides funds to states, territories and Indian tribes for installing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to stop NPS pollution; providing training, education, and demonstrations; and monitoring water quality.

The TDA-NPS Program is non-regulatory, promoting voluntary, incentive-based solutions. It is a cost-share program, paying for 60% of the cost of a project. It is up to the grantee to come up with the remaining 40%, usually in cash and “in-kind” services. It primarily funds three types of programs:

BMP Implementation Projects

Improve an impaired waterbody, or prevent a not impaired water from becoming placed on the 303(d) List. Projects of this type receive highest priority for funding. All projects involving BMPs must be based on an approved “Watershed Based Plan”. Small projects can be funded to write these plans.

Monitoring Projects

Up to 20% of the available grant funds assist water quality monitoring efforts in Tennessee streams, both in the state's 5-year watershed monitoring program, and also in performing before-and-after BMP installation, so that water quality improvements can be verified.

Educational Projects

Funded through TDA-NPS raise public awareness of practical steps that can be taken to eliminate NPS pollution.

All proposals should be written with the expectation that they will be 100% accomplished within three years from the time the contract starts. Therefore, plan the tasks, timeline, and budget of the proposal with a 3-year grant term in mind. In reality, all FY2017 grant contracts will be written for the maximum length of time possible given the date it is written. This means contract terms will vary in length from 36 to 48 months, but no project is guaranteed more than 36 months.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, local governments, state agencies, soil conservation districts, and universities. 
  • No watershed restoration project [i.e., one that implements best management practices (BMPs) with the goal of delisting an impaired waterbody] can be funded with a 319 grant unless it is based on an approved watershed-based plan (WBP) developed for that particular watershed.
    • The requirement of a WBP can be fulfilled simply by following the WBP format in Attachment A.
  • The maximum percentage of the total project cost supplied by the grant is normally 60%. The remaining 40% match must come from the grantee. 


  • The highest priority for funding are projects that target waters of the state assessed as impaired from nonpoint source (NPS) pollution and published in the most recent edition of the 303(d) list by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. 
    • The project’s objective should be to identify the specific sources of NPS pollution and seek to eliminate them so that the water will fully support its designated uses. 
    • Preference is given to projects targeting small watersheds, where measurable water quality improvements are most likely to result after the project is completed.