DEP Solicits New Requests for Water quality Restoration Grants

Feb.12.2015

TALLAHASSEE – Three times each year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection solicits grant applications from local governments to fund urban stormwater best management practices. The solicitation for these “TMDL Grant” applications is being released today, with requests due by March 31.

“DEP takes advantage of every opportunity to improve water quality protection,” said Tom Frick, director of DEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “The TMDL grant program encourages local governments to invest in water quality improvements by matching the state’s funding contributions resulting in healthier water resources for Florida.”

The department administers the grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. Awards are targeted at projects designed to restore “impaired” springs, rivers, lakes, and estuaries—those waterbodies that do not meet Florida’s stringent water quality standards.

To qualify for TMDL grant funding, the local government project must be at least 60 percent designed and fully permitted. Construction is to be completed within three years and must include storm event 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 spreading the word on keeping pollutants out of the stormwater system is a key to success.

The department ranks projects for funding based on the level of pollution in the associated waterbody, 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 in the future. Good urban stormwater practices keep oil, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, pet waste, and other contaminants washed by rain from yards, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, roads, and fields from contaminating surface and ground waters.

Florida has long been a national leader in tackling the challenge of stormwater management. As one of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide stormwater program starting in the 1970s, it is also one of the first to directly address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water quality restoration programs.

For more information on the TMDL grant program and the application process, clickhere. Information on the wide range of DEP’s restoration programs is available hereunder “Water Quality Assessment and Restoration.”

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