Oregon is one of our nation’s leaders in clean air and water initiatives, although many residents are unaware of all the programs and financial support our state provides. One such example is the Nonpoint Source Grant Program made possible by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. Referred to as Section 319 funds, these grants support the implementation of watershed-based plans to protect water quality throughout the state and also support watershed plans aligned with wildfire remediation strategies. Based on the 2021 budget results, the DEQ estimates that $270,000 will be available for 2022 projects.
The Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant Program produces a strategic plan for Oregon every five years. The plan is one of the requirements of the Clean Water Act to address ways to reduce pollution into our waterways. Each year, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) submits a report documenting initiatives and progress towards meeting goals.
What are watershed-based plans?
Watershed-based plans assist the state and tribes in addressing nonpoint source pollution with a comprehensive assessment followed by management measures. Nonpoint source pollution includes agricultural chemicals, animal waste, and urban runoff that are not traceable to a single source, such as a factory or mining operation.
A complete watershed-based plan includes:
- Identification of the cause or source of pollution.
- Estimate of how management strategies will reduce the pollutant load
- Descriptions of strategies with costs and financial assistance requirements
- An information and education component
- Schedules, milestones, monitoring systems, and success criteria.
Are there targeted locations for Section 319 funds?
Yes, based on prior environmental assessments, the DEQ has identified several areas throughout Oregon for priority assistance. Some of those regions in Southern Oregon include Upper Klamath Lake Subbasin and the Upper Klamath River.
Are you interested in learning more about sustainability initiatives in Southern Oregon?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is to enhance the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!