WV Nonpoint Source Program: Clean Water Act (CWA) § 319 Watershed Project Grants

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection


Grant amount: Up to US $125,000

Next anticipated deadline: Mar 31, 2019 (Letter of inquiry)

Later anticipated deadlines: May 1, 2019 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: West Virginia

Location of residency: West Virginia

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Overview:

Note: The NPS Program will accept early project proposals ideas (LOIS or full proposals) between October and March. Submission of an LOI is strongly encouraged.

We recommend that organizations work with the regional Basin Coordinator to develop technically and financially sound projects and workplans.    

Introduction

Watershed project funds provide money for projects based on watershed based plans that attempt to address waters impaired by nonpoint pollution. Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is defined as man induced pollution carried into streams by rain or snowmelt runoff from land surfaces. The pollution can impact surface waters as well as groundwater and comes from diffuse sources, in contrast to "point" source pollution, which is discharged through a pipe. 

The NPS Program (part of WVDEP’s new section the Watershed Improvement Branch) emphasizes management strategies and programs to address nonpoint source problems and threats. 

A priority involves targeting specific watersheds to improve degraded water quality or protect high quality areas that may be threatened. Grants dedicated to specific watersheds are called Watershed Project Grants. Watershed grants fund specific projects intended to restore impaired watersheds or protect high quality watersheds. The ultimate goals of these projects are to insure the short and long term health of the watersheds

What is a watershed project grant? 

The NPS Program is charged with the mission of implementing nonpoint source Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The ultimate goal is the full restoration of the targeted stream with its removal from the State’s 303(d) list. The 303(d) list is the list produced by WVDEP every two years that identifies streams that are not meeting water quality standards. Watershed project proposals are grants that fund projects to reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution in these targeted watersheds.

Before any watershed project grants can be approved, watershed plans are developed through local stakeholder involvement. Projects that are developed within a watershed must be designed to implement the plan. The plan will identify all the partnerships, projects, funding sources, monitoring, and timelines. A watershed plan can be based on a watershed strategy or a TMDL (or both) and more clearly defines the specific responsibilities of each stakeholder group in implementing efforts to restore a watershed to compliance with water quality standards.

The § 319 grants are a major source of funding for projects involving nonpoint sources statewide. Once the project proposals are approved by EPA and the funding is acquired, project implementation can begin. Incremental grants are set in the federal fiscal year in which they were applied for and are active for four years. New projects to implement the WBPs can be applied for even while older projects are being implemented.

Watersheds are selected for TMDLs based on the groupings and schedule based on the Watershed Management Framework. A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant that can be assimilated by the receiving water while still achieving water quality standards. TMDLs can be expressed in terms of mass per time such as tons/year or by other appropriate measures. TMDLs can be considered to be like a water quality budget for a specific water body. The expenses of the budget are comprised of the sum of individual wasteload allocations for point sources, load allocations for nonpoint sources, and natural background levels. In addition, the TMDL must include a margin of safety. The assets of the budget would be all those factors that allow the water body to dilute or absorb pollutants. As with any budget when expenses are greater than assets then problems occur.

A TMDL sets load reductions from the various sources to bring the budget back into balance. It allows for various management options that will achieve the desired source load reductions. A load reduction is the amount of pollutant that is prevented from entering a stream. Achieving load reductions is the goal of most NPS projects. 

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

Eligibility:

  • The NPS Program normally works through a government agency or non-profit organizations.
    • For non-profits it may help to facilitate the process if they coordinate through a Conservation District or government agency.
  • Eligible projects
    • The project contributes to the implementation of the NSP Management Plan.
    • The project is located in a watershed with a TMDL or in a watershed listed on the 303(d) list with a TMDL scheduled.
    • The project addresses nonpoint source water quality impairment. The goal of the project must be to reduce the loading of one or more nonpoint source pollutants.
    • A demonstration project can install best management practices (BMPs) that are innovative, holistic or hard to sell. Education, load reduction and technology transfer are the purposes of the project so defined efforts to publicize the project are required.
    • All watershed project proposals must be a part of a comprehensive watershed plan.
      • We recommend that a plan be developed before watershed project proposals are submitted; however in some cases projects may be considered if the plan is currently being developed.
      • Requests for proposals will be targeted towards watersheds where a plan has been or is being developed. 
  • The maximum §319 reimbursement for a project is 60% of the total project cost.
    • There must be at least 40% non-federal matching funds for each project.
    • The match is calculated from the total project costs not from just the amount requested. Refer to example of calculations here.

Ineligibility:

  • Private businesses are not eligible for applying for §319 funds. 
  • Administrative costs such as salaries, operating or other indirect costs for services shall not exceed 10% of the 319 funding request.
    • Click here for more details on administrative cost.
  • Any activities that controls pollution from point source discharges, and are regulated by National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, are ineligible for § 319 funding.
    • Examples include:
      • sewage treatment plants,
      • industrial facilities,
      • concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs),
      • active mines or mines abandoned after 1977,
      • urban stormwater activities that require a Municipal Separate Stormwater (MS4) Phase I or II permit, and
      • construction activities greater than one acre.
    • The exceptions, in some cases, are certain activities in MS4 designated areas.