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RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Water Quality has awarded $1,360,436 in federal grants for implementation of projects to improve water quality statewide.
The awards are funded through the federal Clean Water Act, Section 319 Grant Program, which was established to provide support for efforts to reduce pollution. Funds may be used to implement best management practices, support education and outreach as part of watershed improvement plans, develop pollution reduction strategies for a watershed, or restore impaired waterways.
Those awarded the 319 Grants in 2012 are:
· Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, which received $145,000 for the Valley River Restoration (Phase IV). This phase of the Valley River restoration project will focus on stream restoration. The project will plant vegetation to improve stream bank stability and grade stream banks to improve stream hydrology.
· Southwestern Resource Conservation and Development Council, which received $214,195 for the Franklin to Fontana Restoration Project (Phase I). The grant will bring the project in line with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for watershed restoration plans and include implementation of agricultural BMPs.
· Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, which received $200,000 for the Mills River Partnership. Mills River is the primary drinking water resource for the Asheville and Hendersonville areas. This project will provide educational outreach to residents and assist planning efforts to protect the water supply watershed.
· N.C. Coastal Federation, which received $165,544 to implement low-impact development efforts to protect and restore water quality in North Carolina. The grant will fund the creation of a tool that can be used statewide to lessen stormwater pollution impacts through improved development planning. In addition, BMPs will be implemented in coastal areas to reduce stormwater pollution impacts.
· Carolina Land and Lakes Resource Conservation and Development Council, which received $64,750 for the Hunting Creek Watershed Plan Implementation. The Hunting Creek Watershed Management Plan was previously developed. This grant will help implement the plan in McDowell County.
· Town of Wake Forest, which received $100,000 for achieving new milestones for stormwater runoff reductions in the Black Creek Watershed. The town will implement watershed restoration plan BMPs, focusing on large developed areas.
· North Carolina State University, which received funding for two projects. The university received $267,172 for stormwater best management practices in the Robeson Creek Watershed near Pittsboro. This project will monitor the effectiveness of stormwater and sediment BMPs. N.C. State University also received $203,775 to implement Phase II of a project in Cary. Phase I created rain gardens and other rainwater harvesting systems at schools. This next phase of the project will focus on stormwater controls along greenways and in community parks.
The Clean Water Act Section 319 Grants are awarded each year through a competitive grant process. A request for proposals is issued each February with an open submittal period of three months. Federal guidelines require that applicants be government agencies or nonprofit organizations, including academic institutes. An interagency workgroup reviews the proposals and selects those of merit to be funded.
For more information about the North Carolina 319 Grant Program, please visit: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/ps/nps/319program