EPA Releases Final Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories

Denise Keehner, Director of EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds released a memo today that was sent to state and territorial Water Division Directors and § 319 Program Directors announcing the final guidelines for the Clean Water Act § 319 grant program.  This new document replaces the Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories that have been in effect since the federal fiscal year (FY) 2004 grant cycle and are applicable for FY 2014 grant awards and subsequent § 319 grant awards.

The final guidelines provide updated program direction, an increased emphasis on watershed project implementation to restore impaired waters, increased accountability measures and appropriate flexibility for state programs. The guidelines also emphasize the importance of states updating their Nonpoint Source management programs to ensure that § 319 funds are targeted to the highest priority activities.

The guidelines were developed with input from state and EPA workgroups (including ASDWA input), national meetings, stakeholder outreach, and a 5-week public comment period.  Changes to the guidelines in response to public comments include a more refined approach to monitoring associated with implementation of the USDA National Water Quality Initiative, reducing specificity of information required for § 319-funded TMDLs, and providing additional flexibility for alternatives to nine-element watershed-based plans.

To view the guidelines, visit EPA’s web site HERE.  For questions or comments, please contact Lynda Hall, Chief of EPA’s Nonpoint Source Control Branch, at 202-566-1210 or hall.lynda@epa.gov.