In December 2015, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc (“the Endowment”) published a Request for Proposals for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program, which aims to accelerate the strategic protection of healthy freshwater* across the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided $3.75 million over six years to support the grant program, and the Endowment is matching EPA’s award dollar-for-dollar to fund projects that:
- Support existing watershed protection or conservation plans, including source water protection plans.
- Build the sustainable organizational infrastructure, social support, and long-term funding commitments necessary to implement large-scale protection of healthy watersheds; and
- Implement innovative or catalytic ideas to advance the field of practice for watershed protection efforts, including source water protection.
View the Request for Proposals including eligibility criteria and other information on the Endowment’s Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant program website. Source water protection is a priority area for the Initiative, which offers funding to safeguard healthy sources of drinking water.
“Protecting healthy watersheds should be a top priority for everyone,” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President. “Healthy watersheds provide clean water for drinking, habitat for fish and wildlife, recreational opportunities for people, and are the basis for many rural economies. This program will provide funding to protect and sustain these resources…[and] to enhance collaboration among the many groups that will benefit from protected watersheds, such as drinking water and storm water, wildlife and fisheries, land conservation, and forestry and working lands.”
* Healthy watersheds are those in which the hydrological, biological, and land-based functions of the ecosystem are largely intact. Protection refers to actions that conserve healthy aquatic ecosystems and the supporting natural and managed landscape and watershed processes, such as hydrology, that support them. Rather than waiting until a watershed is negatively impacted and attempting to restore it to health, the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program seeks to protect and sustain healthy watersheds so that they will continue to provide ecological services such as clean water, habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation, and protection from natural hazards.