Financial assistance for nonpoint source water pollution projects: Clean Water Partnership and Section 319 Programs

The MPCA provides financial and technical assistance to local government and other water resource managers to address nonpoint-source water pollution through the state Clean Water Partnership (CWP) and federal Clean Water Act Section 319 (Section 319) programs.

  • Section 319 funds are being used for total maximum daily load (TMDL) and implementation projects for watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS).
  • CWP funds will be used for development or implementation projects that protect water bodies currently meeting Minnesota's water quality standards.

Section 319 Small Watersheds Focus (open)

The new Section 319 Small Watersheds Focus program is looking for interested watersheds to partner with the MPCA in developing a long-term roadmap to support comprehensive implementation on a small-scale watershed.

Section 319: 2018 funding round (closed)

The application deadline for the traditional Section 319 funding round was March 2, 2018. The MPCA anticipates about $1.4 million will be available this round for projects that will reduce nonpoint source pollution in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Submitted projects are under review.

Clean Water Partnership loans

The Clean Water Partnership (CWP) program is now accepting loan applications from local governmental units interested in funding to lead a nonpoint source pollution control project for protection or restoration of Minnesota’s water bodies. Applications can be made at any time. Currently there is no end date for application. Over $15 million is available.

Clean Water Partnership grants

The 2015 Legislature did not fund additional Clean Water Partnership grants. Projects previously funded will continue through June 2018.

 


Targeting nonpoint sources. The CWP and Section 319 programs address nonpoint sources of pollution, which may come from agricultural fields, storm sewers, construction sites, animal feedlots, paved surfaces, failing septic systems and over-fertilized lawns. When taken together, these sources contribute huge quantities of phosphorus, bacteria, sediments, nitrates and other pollutants to the environment. They also represent the largest combined threat (an estimated 86%) of the state's water pollution.

The MPCA uses the CWP and Section 319 programs to support the leadership efforts of local units of government and citizens to address nonpoint sources of pollution. The programs provide financial and technical assistance to study water bodies with pollution problems, develop action plans to address the problems, and plan implementation to fix the problems.

CWP and Section 319 projects require a large commitment of time and effort on the part of local participants. Participants may include local units of government, tribes, nonprofit organizations, universities and colleges, as well as citizens concerned about local water quality. Both programs require applicants to match grant money with local cash or in-kind services.

Low-interest loans from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) allow successful CWP program grantees to conduct implementation projects. Loans can be used for implementation and can cover the entire cost of the implementation phase or supplement another grant, leveraging limited grant funds.

Applying for Section 319 and CWP funds

A local unit of government able to generate revenue and adopt and enforce official controls must sponsor a CWP project and act as its fiscal agent. These applicants may be a tribe, township, city, county, watershed district, watershed management organization or joint powers board whose members are townships, cities or counties.

While the CWP is limited to local units of government, Section 319 is open to all entities except federal agencies.

Applicants must submit an electronic proposal in a Microsoft Word format. An MPCA review team scores proposals for eligibility and completeness.

Eligibility

Projects eligible to compete for available funds are those that address a nonpoint-source pollution issue. Because Section 319 is federally funded and the CWP is state funded, there are differences in how grant money may be spent. For example, Section 319 funds cannot be spent on diagnostic work; CWP grant funds cannot be spent on in-lake treatment. Neither program may fund projects under enforcement action, permitted wastewater treatment plants, and projects addressing feedlot NPDES or stormwater permit requirements.

Funded projects

For additional information, please contact Cindy Penny: cynthia.penny@state.mn.us or 651-757-2099.

2015 Clean Water Partnership grant projects awarded

MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine approved 18 Clean Water Partnership grant proposals for award. These projects will continue through June 2018.

2017 federal Section 319 projects awarded

Following MPCA recommendation, the U.S. EPA funded ten projects with nearly $2.8 million in financial assistance.