By: Matt Woodard, Chairman of the East Side Soil and Water Conservation District
Section 319 of the Clean Water Act established a grant program under which states, territories, and tribes may receive funds to support a wide variety of non-point source pollution management activities, including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific non-point source implementation projects. Source
A good 319 project is regionally significant, important to many agencies, addresses multiple concerns, has multiple benefits beyond water quality, watershed based, on the 303(d) list, and has public outreach such as statewide/local press.
Letters of recommendation about your project are a critical part of your 319 application. Letters from your local WAG, soil conservation district chairman, DEQ water quality administrator, supporting agencies (like USFC, IDFG, NRCS) county commissioners, city officials, other state/fed reps), environmental organizations, trade associations (like IASCD), industry associations are all examples of acceptable support letters. Be sure each letter is signed, dated, and provided to DEQ with the completed application. A large, diverse support base often receives a greater consideration during the competitive funding process.
The maximum amount of funding you can receive from a 319 grant is $250,000. 319 grants will fund up to 60% of the total project. The remaining 40% needs to be non-federal funding in the form of match funds (hard or soft, or in kind). You should know that only 10% of the grant can go to administrative costs; administrators like to see the maximum amount of funding go to an on-the-ground project.
Timeline For FY 2014 319 Grant Funding
April 8, 2013: Pre-Application Process Opens
May 6, 2013: Pre-Application Process Closes
May 31, 2013: All pre-application reviews to be completed; DEQ will communicate with applications on any questions they have on your project.
August 1, 2013: A completed online application is due to be received by DEQ; prior to that, the project should have been reviewed by the local WAG. Their approval of the project is necessary for it to go forward.
September 13, 2013: All qualifying project applications are to be sent to the respective BAG chairman for review.
October 1-31, 2013: Each applicant is required to present their project to the respective BAG. The BAG will rank projects based on regional importance, the amount of funding requested, and other factors.
November 6, 2013: Results of each regional project ranking are summarized and forwarded to each regional BAG chair.
December 2, 2013: DEQ Water Quality staff and the chair from each BAG meet in Boise to discuss the projects. From this group of projects comes the final rank in order of priority.
Approximately $1.2 million is awarded state wide each year, and has grown very competitive. Your project should be thought out and address those multiple concerns. A good Power Point with lots of photos of the project area and a budget breakdown is a great idea for your presentation. Also, get to know your local DEQ water quality manager. You should ask them lots questions. They are there to help you!
Finally, mark your calendar for April 30th. The Balanced Rock and Twin Falls SWCDs are holding a training day for 319 grants. The hours are from 9am to 3pm, at the Jerome Fish and Game Office.