FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2014
DEP SOLICITS PROJECT SUBMISSIONS FOR WATER QUALITY RESTORATION GRANTS
~Water restoration grants encourage municipalities to improve urban stormwater systems and reduce polluted runoff~
TALLAHASSEE – Three times a year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection awards funding for projects designed to improve urban stormwater systems and reduce polluted runoff to impaired waters. The department is now accepting applications for the next cycle. The deadline for applications is close of business (5:00 p.m. EST) July 1, 2014.
The department also recently announced the grant recipients from the March 2014 grant review. In this cycle, more than $1.5 million was allocated to Brevard County, the City of Cocoa Beach and the City of Ft. Myers to reduce the pollutant loads reaching the Indian River Lagoon, Banana River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River respectively. The projects funded are expected to reduce the total nitrogen pollutant load by 10 percent in the Indian River Lagoon, 74 percent in the Banana River Lagoon and nine percent for the Caloosahatchee River. The municipalities matched the grant funding with more than $2 million collectively.
“DEP wants to reward municipalities that are proactive about restoring their local water bodies,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “This grant program is meant to encourage local governments to take responsibility for their impact on the environment and assist them in making substantial contributions to water restoration.”
The department administers the grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. To qualify for grant funding, the local government project must be at least 60 percent designed and fully permitted with construction to be completed within three years. The project must also include monitoring to determine the actual pollutant load reductions the project will accomplish. Applicants are also encouraged to include public education elements in their requests, because informing the public on best management practices to keep pollutants out of the stormwater system is critical to success. Applications are accepted at any time and applicants may submit multiple projects.
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 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.
One of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide stormwater program, Florida has long been a national leader in tackling the challenge of stormwater management. Florida is also one of the first states in the nation to directly address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water quality restoration program.
For more information on the grant program and the application process, click here. Information on the wide range of DEP’s restoration programs is available here under “Water Quality Assessment and Restoration.”