The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s second-year of awards expands the pace of proactive watershed protection in the U.S. through conservation and improved stewardship of hundreds of thousands of acres of lands that provide drinking water, flood risk reduction, and an array of economic and environmental benefits. The sixteen awards total $2.75 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in 18 states. The Heathy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by Source Water Collaborative member the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015. EPA co-funds the program along with another SWC member organization the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
“This group of grant recipients reflects the remarkable creativity that local organizations show for protecting their drinking water sources and watersheds,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “Their efforts are voluntary, rooted in partnerships, and will benefit the economy, culture, and environment of their communities.” 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 provide $625,000 annually for grants in a program that is planned to run for at least six years. NRCS has provided an additional $1.5 million over two years. In this second year, the program received 74 applications requesting more than $17 million. Grants focused 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. For more information and to read about the funded projects, visit: http://usendowment.org/healthywatersheds.html