Workshop on Application Process to be Held on Wednesday, August 6
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that up to $3.2 million in grants are available for local water quality protection and restoration projects that abate nonpoint sources of pollution and improve storm water management. Funding for the grants includes $2.8 million from the Narragansett Bay and Watershed Protection Bond Fund, along with $400,000 from the federal Clean Water Act Section 319 program. Local, state and regional governmental agencies, as well as public schools, universities, and non-profit watershed, environmental or conservation organizations, are eligible to apply for the grants.
Nonpoint source pollution arises from many diverse sources, such as uncontrolled storm water runoff, cesspools and failing septic systems, and erosion due to land disturbances. DEM has identified surface water bodies in the State that are impaired because they do not meet applicable water quality standards and criteria. Many of these impairments are due to nonpoint sources of pollution. Reducing or preventing nonpoint source pollution often requires local implementation of site-specific projects and activities in accordance with water quality restoration plans. The newly available grant funds are aimed at supporting these efforts.
Grant funding through the Narragansett Bay and Watershed Restoration Fund which was approved by Rhode Island voters in 2012 will be provided for projects that seek to control the effects of nonpoint source pollution and improve storm water management. Water quality restoration projects should be based on prior characterization of the pollution sources adversely affecting water quality. Highest priority will be given to projects that implement regional actions that result in watershed-based solutions to abate nonpoint source impairments that have been characterized by a water quality restoration plan, and those that result in the development of sustainable funding mechanisms for storm water management.
DEM encourages collaborative projects that address nonpoint source pollution abatement on a watershed or regional basis as appropriate. For example, municipalities and partners might work together to implement riparian buffer restoration actions such as pavement removal and planting projects or storm water retrofitting projects at several locations in a prioritized manner within a shared watershed. DEM is also seeking capital projects that strengthen local storm water management programs, including projects that enhance local capacity for storm water management through acquisition of vehicles and equipment; implement a best management practice identified through a DEM-approved storm water management plan; projects focusing on the mitigation, control or elimination of illicit connections to storm sewers.; and the evaluation and/or development of a sustainable funding mechanism for storm water management. Habitat restoration projects are not eligible for funding under this grant round.
In addition to the state grant funds, a limited amount of funding from federal Clean Water Act Implementation Grants is available for projects that implement eligible actions in three designated watersheds. They include the Bristol- Kickemuit River Watershed Plan, which covers most of Bristol and the eastern portion of Warren; the Barrington-Palmer-Warren Rivers Watershed Plan, which covers a small portion of Bristol, eastern Warren, eastern Barrington and southeast East Providence; and the Aquidneck Island Watersheds Plan, which covers Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth.
DEM's Office of Water Resources will hold a public workshop on Wednesday, August 6 to review the grant application process. All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend. The workshop will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence.
Proposals must be submitted to DEM no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, September 12.
Proposals for state Narragansett Bay and Watershed Restoration Fund grants must be submitted to Jay Manning, P.E., principal sanitary engineer in DEM's Office of Water Resources, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. He may be reached at 222-4700 ext. 7254 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . For further information contact Sue Kiernan at 222-4700 ext. 7600 or via email at email@example.com.
Proposals for federal Clean Water Act 319 Program grants must be submitted to Betsy Dake, senior environmental planner in DEM's Office of Water Resources, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. She may be reached at 222-4700 ext. 7230 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . For further information contact Ernie Panciera at 222-4700 ext. 7603 or via email at email@example.com.
The request for proposals is available on DEM's website at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/water/finance/index.htm. The request for proposals is also posted on the state Office of Purchases website at www.purchasing.ri.gov/RIVIP/GrantSearch.asp.