Jun 28, 2017

Wyoming Protects Watersheds, Streams, Groundwater

EPA awards $849,601 to Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

EPA grants Wyoming funding to control pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $849,601 to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) to help protect human health and the environment through a Nonpoint Source Program Clean Water Act Section 319 grant. This grant is given to states to implement environmental programs that address nonpoint source pollution in surface and groundwater in order to meet and maintain water quality standards. 

“Wyoming’s waters are a precious natural resource that have tremendous impact on our local economy and every facet of our way of life. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality deserves to be recognized for crafting effective, efficient and actionable watershed plans worthy of this funding that will help to improve the quality of our impaired waters today and for generations to come,” said U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (WY-AL).

“Providing funds directly to Wyoming is an excellent example of EPA partnering with states to help address their unique and critical environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA is making investments like this grant to help empower states who know best how to protect resources and grow their economy while solving real environmental problems in local communities.”

Under this program, a total of seven proposals were selected for funding that will include watershed planning and implementation projects, storm water sediment reduction, stream restoration, and information and education projects. The program works through a set of overarching principles that emphasize voluntary and incentive-based participation, locally led projects, partnerships, measurable water quality improvement, and effective and efficient program administration. 

Nonpoint sources of pollution continue to be recognized as the nation’s largest remaining cause of surface water quality impairments. The effects of nonpoint source pollution can be seen within the lakes, streams and rivers of Wyoming. The three nonpoint source pollutants causing the majority of Wyoming’s surface water quality impairments are pathogens, sediment and selenium.

Nonpoint source pollution encompasses a range of sources that are not subject to federal or often state regulation. These sources include agricultural runoff, unpermitted urban runoff, abandoned mine drainage, failing onsite disposal systems, and pollution caused by changes to natural stream channels. Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Through Section 319, EPA provides states, territories, and tribes with guidance and grant funding to implement their nonpoint source programs and to support local watershed projects to improve water quality. Collectively this work has restored more than 6,000 miles of stream and more than 164,000 acres of lakes since 2006. Hundreds of additional projects are underway across the country. 

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