Tacoma applies for $55K EPA Urban Waters Program grant

The City of Tacoma has applied for a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would help address water quality issues related to urban runoff pollution.

The application was submitted to the EPA’s Urban Waters Program, which helps local residents and their organizations restore their urban waters in ways that also benefit community and economic revitalization. Since its inception in 2012, the program has awarded approximately $5.3 million in Urban Waters Small Grants to 92 organizations nationwide, according to information on the EPA’s Web site. Grants are awarded every two years, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000. In Washington State, two organizations have been awarded grants. The Port Townsend Marine Science Society was awarded a $56,848 grant in 2011/2012 to collect data related to toxic pollution in Puget Sound. The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group was awarded a $60,000 grant in 2013/2014 to implement the Healthy River/Healthy Communities project.

According to a City of Tacoma staff report, the EPA grant would help pay for programs that engage underserved communities, foster partnerships, provide additional community benefits, and strengthen outreach efforts by hiring consultants to create a community-based marketing plan for stormwater education, hosting additional community events like rain garden workshops and depaving (see “Volunteers needed for McKinley Avenue ‘de-paving’ project,” Tacoma Daily Index, May 29, 2015; “Volunteers needed for South Tacoma Way ‘de-paving’ project,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 27, 2015; and “Tacoma volunteers to transform parking lot into plant paradise,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 12, 2014), and hiring additional interns to coordinate these efforts.

The City has requested a $55,000 grant, and has earmarked $5,000 in the current biennial budget for matching funds. The EPA plans to award Urban Waters Program grants next summer.