The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s fourth year of awards further accelerates the pace of proactive watershed protection in the U.S., benefiting drinking water supplies, freshwater systems, and floodplains. The program supports working forest and ranchland protection, innovative finance in collaboration with water utilities, and capacity for local and regional watershed groups. New themes this year include collaborations with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, support for community forests, and Sentinel Landscape Partnerships.
The nine awards total $1.52 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in eight states. The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015. EPA co-funds the program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
“In partnership with EPA and NRCS, the Endowment is helping local communities protect and better manage the working forests and ranchlands that provide drinking water, rural economic opportunities, and wildlife habitat. One project even helps sustain military readiness by accelerating protection of working lands near Camp Ripley in Minnesota. We are grateful to EPA, NRCS, and our local partners for their vision and collaboration,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO.
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s goal is to “accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.” EPA and the Endowment each committed $3.75 million and NRCS $3.5 million, to the six-year partnership. In this fourth year of the program, 48 applications requesting $9 million were received.
Grants focus on three categories: 1) short-term funding to leverage larger financing for targeted watershed protection; 2) funds to help build the capacity of local organizations for sustainable, long-term watershed protection; and 3) new techniques or approaches that advance the state of practice for watershed protection and that can be replicated across the country. The awards listed below benefit natural lands as well as working forests, farms, and ranches.
To read about the funded proposals visit the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ website.