$1 Million in Grants Available for Water Quality Projects

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking applications for approximately $1 million in funding for nonpoint source pollution reduction projects available under the Federal Clean Water Act. The DEQ says nonpoint source pollution is the single largest cause of water quality impairment in Montana’s lakes and streams, and typically comes from various sources that are not regulated under a discharge permit.

Nonpoint source water pollution is often associated with land uses such as agriculture, forestry, urban and suburban development, and runoff from abandoned mine sites. Common pollutants include sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and toxic metals. In lakes, streams, and wetlands, these pollutants can cause serious harm to aquatic life and can make the water unsafe for human recreation and consumption. DEQ monitors water quality in Montana’s lakes and streams and identifies water bodies that are impaired. These grants are one way that DEQ works to improve impaired waters across Montana. The projects funded under these grants must address water quality impairments identified on Montana’s current List of Impaired Waters, also known as the Water Quality Integrated Report.

The recommended range for applications is $10,000 to $250,000 per project, and at least 40% of the total project cost must be matched with non-Federal funds. Approximately $500,000 of the available funding will be focused on projects in the Bitterroot watershed. DEQ focuses funding on a specific watershed and rotates to a different watershed every two or three years. This targeted approach maximizes the cumulative impacts of water quality restoration projects within a watershed. The remaining $500,000 is open to projects across Montana. DEQ also prioritizes some of the funding to administer mini-grant programs for low-cost nonpoint source pollution prevention activities and local capacity building.

Here are links to relevant nonpoint source pollution reduction grant information and applications:

All projects must address nonpoint source pollution and implement a DEQ-accepted Watershed Restoration Plan. DEQ staff will be available, upon request, to provide feedback on project applications. The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021.