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State Water Boards: Nonpoint Source Program

Clean Water Act (CWA) §319(h) Non-Point Source (NPS) Grant Program

Program Background | Concept Proposal | Full Proposal | Eligible Projects | Ineligible Projects

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Annually, the California NPS Program allocates approximately $4.0 million of CWA Section 319(h) (CWA §319(h)) funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) to support implementation and planning projects that address water quality problems in surface and ground water resulting from NPS pollution. The goal of these projects is to ultimately lead to restoring the impacted beneficial uses in these water bodies. Projects are required to be located in a watershed that has an adopted/nearly adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the constituent of concern and has been identified in the NPS Program Preferences. Projects focused on working toward achieving the goals of the TMDL to restore beneficial uses will be the most competitive in the selection process.

Proposals are requested through a statewide solicitation process. The solicitation process is conducted in two phases - the Concept Proposal (CP) Phase and the Full Proposal (FP) Phase. The application process is facilitated through the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) operated by the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board’s) Division of Financial Assistance. The two phase process including development and approval of the final list of recommended funding projects by the State Water Board Executive Director takes approximately ten months. Typically, the solicitation process for a CWA §319(h) Grant runs from August (of the previous year) through May of the following year when the Grant funding is actually received from the U.S.EPA. For more information, see the current CWA §319(h) Grant Solicitation.

Concept Proposal Phase

In the CP Phase, the applicant is requested to address specific questions developed by the NPS Grant Program. This phase gives the reviewer a general overview of the project and how it: (1) conforms to U.S.EPA’s “Nine (9) Minimum Elements to be Included in a Watershed Plan for Impaired Waters Funded Using Incremental CWA Section 319 Funds” (Nine Key Elements); (2) coordinates with other related water quality improvement efforts in the watershed; and (3) implements actions that achieve the water quality goals of the TMDLs in the watershed. Instructions for submitting a CP are available in the CP Solicitation Notice. The applications are then reviewed by a panel consisting of representatives from the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, State Water Board, and U.S.EPA (Review Panel). The Review Panel selects the CP applicants that will be asked to submit an expanded proposal in the FP Phase. A list of CPs invited back to submit a FP will available on the current CWA §319(h) Grant Solicitation webpage after the proposals are selected.

Full Proposal Phase

The FP Phase consists of submitting additional and expanded CP information through a series of required narrative and table attachments outlined in the FP Solicitation Notice. The FP must provide the following project information: (1) a narrative describing the project and project area; (2) how the project addresses the requirements of the Nine Key Elements and the TMDL; (3) detailed task and line item budgets; and (4) commitment letters from the entities providing
the required 25 percent match for the project (except individual septic system upgrades which requires a minimum match of 75 percent) The FP submittal requirements can be found in the NPS Grant Requirements and current FP Solicitation Notice. The FPs are then reviewed and ranked by the Review Panel and a list of recommended projects sent to the State Water Board Executive Director (ED) for approval. The recommended list of funding projects will be available on the CWA §319(h) Grant Solicitation after the projects have been approved by the State Water Board ED.

Eligible Products

In general, to be eligible for CWA §319(h) funding, projects must meet the following requirements:

  • Address one or more of the NPS Program Preferences (Program Preferences) identified by the NPS Grant Program. Program Preferences are identified in the current CWA §319(h) Grant Guidelines. All Program Preferences are in watersheds with an adopted/nearly adopted TMDL addressing the constituent of concern.
  • Located in a watershed that has a plan or suite of plans that meet the Nine Key Elements.
  • Provide the minimum match funding of 25 percent of the total project cost (individual septic system upgrades requires a minimum match of 75 percent).
  • Located in an area not subject to a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. (Note: Projects are not subject to this requirement if the project activity is specifically excluded/exempted from the requirements of the NPDES permit.)

In addition to be eligible the applicants must work with the appropriate Regional Water Board Grant Contact when developing their proposals. Grant contacts are identified in the current CWA §319(h) Grant Program Guidelines.

Ineligible Projects

In general, ineligible projects for CWA §319(h) funding are those that:

  • Are in areas that are under or affiliated with a NPDES Permit.
  • Address an issue in a land use included in a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4s) Permit.

For more details on eligibility, see the current CWA §319(h) Guidelines webpage.

The 2014 CWA §319(h) Request for Proposal (RFP) Solicitation will be available in August.