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Water Quality Funding

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Water Project Funding Sources

Funding may be available for your project. Many local, state, and federal agencies offer funding to community organizations, neighborhood groups, homeowners, and others. Navigating the funding process is not easy. Here are some resources to get you started. When speaking with representatives from one funding source or non-profit organization, make sure to ask for other recommendations and potential funding sources. Network!

Federal Government Grants

National Parks Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Programa assists community-led initiatives to conserve waterways, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offers the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to conserve and improve soil, protect water quality, and provide wildlife habitat by establishing long-term cover on highly erodible land or land in need of conservation buffers that has previously been in row crop production.

NOAA’s  Community-Based Restoration Program supports restoration projects that use a habitat-based approach to rebuild productive and sustainable fisheries, contribute to the recovery and conservation of protected resources, promote healthy ecosystems, and yield community and economic benefits. Since 1996 the program has funded more than 1,500 projects to restore coastal habitat.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management has multiple funding opportunities for coastal restoration and resilience.

US EPA’s Environmental Education Grants Program provides funding to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment.

USDA’s Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs are exclusively focused on water and wastewater infrastructure needs of rural communities.

US Fish and Wildlife Service offers many grants for coastal restoration projects.

Green Infrastructure, water quality, stormwater, and flooding funding opportunities.  There are a number of resources available to help communities explore the available funding options for projects. These resources include assistance programs, publications, and financing tools.

Grants.gov is a searchable database of federal grant opportunities. It also provides information on how to apply for grants and the grant-making process.

Call your Congressional representatives and senators to ask about federal funding.

State Government Grants & Funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a list of health and environmental agencies in every state. You may find grant opportunities by searching the websites of your state agencies.

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Water Quality Restoration Grants  to reduce water quality impairment through implementation of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects.

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Water Quality Restoration Grants  to reduce water quality impairment through implementation of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects.

In your search engine of choice, type in your state and “water quality grants” to find opportunities in your state for water quality improvement project funding sources.

Many state and local governments offer financial incentives for permeable pavement to reduce stormwater fees. Ask your local drainage or stormwater utility what incentives are available in your community.

How to find your local government

Some local governments have funding programs for community-based environmental projects. They may also have funds for rain gardens, tree planting, community gardens, living shorelines, and other projects to make your property or neighborhood greener.

How to find your local government:

To find your local, state, or tribal governments, type the following into a search engine: your state/county and then the type of agency you are wanting to connect with (e.g. local government, tribal representative, state government). For example, search for “Alabama beach restoration permitting” or “New Jersey environmental protection.” Also, try using terms that relate to your concern or solution. For example, “Florida coastal flooding help.”  Try different terms, or combinations of, terms, such as “grants, restoration, invasive species, marsh, natural resources, volunteers, funding, etc.” It may take a few tries to find the site and information you are looking for.

To find a specific local county office, type the following into a search engine: your local county or city and then the department you are wanting to connect with (e.g., environmental, planning, natural resources). For example, search for  “Escambia County coastal management” or “Destin FL natural resources.”

Conservation Districts  work directly with landowners to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forests and wildlife.

Foundations and Other Private Sources

Urban Water Management, Sustainable Urban Environments Program, Surdna Foundation. Grants for projects that support innovative stormwater runoff practices.

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Provides funding for projects including protection and restoration of riparian areas and beaches, watershed clean-up, education programs, and research of watershed viability.

Foundation Directory Online, from the Foundation Center, lists 140,000 foundations and other donors worldwide. Some basic information is free; more requires a subscription. Get access at your local library.

NOZAsearch has a large searchable database of charitable donations. Searches for foundation are free. Individual and corporate philanthropy searches require a subscription. Get access at your local library.

Contact local banks, businesses, and community foundations. Many have money budgeted for community service.

Consider crowdfunding through social media, individual donations from members of your organization, or a special event.

Funding Proposal Resources

Grantspace, a service of Foundation Center, offers in-person and online classes on finding and writing grants, a knowledge base, examples of winning proposals and other documents, and more.

The Grantsmanship Center offers training and resources to help find grants and write effective grant proposals.

Classes. Many community colleges and universities offer classes on grant writing. Check the catalogs and academic schedules for your local schools.

Books. There are many books on grant writing. Check out your local library to see what might be available.

Water Quality Project Resources: