The Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation and funding of the Clean Water Partnership program (CWP) to focus on control of nonpoint sources of pollution through watershed management to protect and improve surface and ground water in Minnesota. The CWP program provides financial assistance through loans to local units of government to lead pollution control projects. The CWP Rules define the criteria and procedural conditions under which the MPCA may award grants and loans to local governments.
From 1987 to 2015 the Legislature has provided the CWP program with over $43 million for grants to local units of government. In addition, since 1995 the CWP program has awarded over $59 million in State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans.
CWP funding for local water quality projects is awarded to a local unit of government for many different types of projects through a three to four year grant. These types of projects can include a resource investigation project, where the watershed and water body of concern are studied, data is gathered, organized and analyzed, to develop a diagnostic study and implementation plan which identifies the combination of education, best management practices (BMPs) and other activities needed to protect or restore water quality.
Also funded may be a project implementation, which involves putting in place the BMPs and other activities identified in a diagnostic study and implementation plan. In addition, education, new land use ordinances, and a variety of other methods designed to reduce non-point pollution may be implemented.
CWP funding is flexible enough to fund many other kinds of nonpoint source projects which work to project, enhance or restore the waters of Minnesota.
Grants and loans
Grants. The state Legislature did not appropriate funding for the CWP grant program in the 2016-17 biennium. There are no plans to open a CWP grant funding round in the immediate future. During the 2015 application cycle, $1,663,529 in grant money was awarded along with $2,748,800 in SRF loan funds.
Loans. There is currently over $15 million in loan money available for which application can be made at any time.
Once plagued by algal blooms and murky water, Bald Eagle Lake in the northern Twin Cities near Hugo is now much healthier — meeting state water quality standards for the first time in 37 years.
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