Water-quality restoration grant recipitants selected
The Department of Environmental Protection has selected 10 projects to receive $3 million in water-quality restoration state grant funding. This funding will support projects that improve urban stormwater systems and reduce polluted runoff to impaired waters.
In addition to the state funding, these 10 selected projects will receive an anticipated match of approximately $5.7 million, for a total $8.7 million investment. On average, these projects will reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus going into state water bodies by 34 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Eight of the 10 projects selected directly benefit Indian River Lagoon and the other two benefit Boca Ciega Bay in Pinellas County and Taylor Creek in Okeechobee County.
“Supporting projects that directly benefit our environment by improving water quality is a priority for DEP, and we are proud to support municipalities that are proactive about restoring their local water bodies,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “This grant program assists these local governments in making substantial contributions to water restoration.”
Stormwater runoff is water that flows into creeks, streams or rivers after rain; it usually contains a number of pollutants, including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a body of water, the pollutants can cause rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other water-quality complications. The proper management of stormwater runoff is key to improving the water quality of receiving water bodies and achieving restoration.
This program's success is driven by partnerships that will actively engage local communities in the restoration and protection of waters impacted by nonpoint source pollution. One of the primary ways the department promotes partnerships is to offer funding opportunities to address nonpoint source pollution. The department administers the water-quality restoration grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. For FY 2015-16, $5 million was appropriated specifically for this grant program.
Applications for funding are accepted year-round, but funding is awarded three times annually. The department ranks projects for funding based on the impaired status of the associated water body, the estimated pollutant load reductions the project is designed to achieve, the cost-effectiveness of the project, readiness to proceed and the percentage of local matching funds. Another important consideration is whether the applicant has a stormwater utility fee or other dedicated revenue source to continue effective stormwater management once the proposed project is complete. Applicants are also encouraged to include public education elements in their requests, which help inform the public on best management practices to keep pollutants out of the stormwater system, which is critical to success. Projects are selected for grant funding based on these rankings and the availability of funding.
For more information on the grant program and the application process, click here.