Written by: Shannon Pepper, Program Coordinator, Southwest Environmental Finance Center

Nonpoint source pollution can be a complex and daunting problem. Unlike industrial and sewage plant pollution, Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) comes from many diffuse sources, making this issue difficult for many systems to address. As part of our Smart Management for Small Systems Project, the Southwest EFC is working to share resources with small water and wastewater systems, and a big part of that effort is about sharing funding opportunities relevant to our network.

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering their yearly Tribal Section 319 grants of up to $100,000 to address NPS pollution on tribal land. These funds are intended for implementation of practices to protect or restore water quality and/or provide training for tribal staff and support watershed-scale planning efforts. The 100k grant is competitive, so note these important dates:

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 3-4pm Eastern Time: The EPA will host an information session/Q&A webinar (1 of 2) about the Request for Applications. Click here to register
  • Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 1-2pm Eastern Time: The EPA will host an information session/Q&A webinar (2 of 2) about the Request for Applications. Click here to register.
  • Thursday, January 13, 2022: Deadline for questions from prospective tribal applicants about the FY (fiscal year) 2022 Request for Application.
  • Thursday, January 27, 2022Application Deadline. Applications must be submitted electronically to the EPA through Grants.gov by 11:59pm Eastern in order to be considered for funding. Click here for the direct link to the Grants.gov announcement page.
  • April 2022: The EPA anticipates announcing final selections under this competition in April 2022.

Under the Section 319 grants, tribal nations can also apply for noncompetitive Base Grant funding. Section 319 base funds may be used for a range of activities that implement the tribe’s approved NPS management program, including hiring a program coordinator; conducting NPS education programs; providing training and authorized travel to attend training; updating the NPS management program; and developing and implementing watershed-based plans. Proposed 319 Base Grant deadlines vary by EPA Region. Contact your EPA region for more details.

Think your community could put these funds to use? Click here to visit the EPA’s description of these grants.


Photo courtesy of Lynn Bett, USDA NRCS