$1.75 Million in Funding Available to Restore Clean Water and Resilient Coasts in SE New England
For as long as people have lived in Southeast New England, we’ve depended on the coastal environment – for food, recreation, transportation, energy and, today, for the solace that communion with nature can bring in difficult times. That history of intense human use has left a legacy of impacts – water pollution from cities and roads, rivers dammed for mill power, wetlands altered for agriculture, and shorelines lost to climate change. Yet today, throughout our region, people are coming together to solve these problems – applying innovative technologies and the power of good old-fashioned partnerships to ensure clean water, healthy coastal ecosystems, and sustainable communities.
To support and strengthen these partnerships, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the availability of approximately $1.75 million in federal funds through the 2021 Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grants.
“I established this competitive federal funding program in 2015 to help protect and restore water quality in Southern New England. Since that time, it has helped direct almost $40 million to help local partners clean up coastal watersheds from Westerly, Rhode Island to Chatham, Massachusetts including Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, and southern Cape Cod. These federal funds present a great opportunity for another round of innovation and collaboration to find and develop effective solutions and strategies for cleaning up our coastal waters and making the Bay and the communities that depend on it healthier and more sustainable,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who led efforts to establish and fund SNEP for coastal watershed restoration, and who has helped make over $15 million available for the program over the last three years.
“EPA is proud to provide more funding for our Southeast New England Program. Our partnership with Restore America’s Estuaries provides much-needed funding to support many local projects that help protect and sustain the natural lands and waters of the southeastern New England region and the water-based economy that communities rely upon,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro.
2021 SNEP Watershed Grants are competitive grants to municipalities, state agencies, tribes, public commissions, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. Most awards will be in the $150,000 – $350,000 range, with up to $500,000 available for projects of exceptional impact, and smaller grants available for specific purposes.
RAE will begin accepting Letters of Intent on March 15; the deadline to submit a LOI is April 16, 2021 at 4 p.m. Organizations interested in applying should download the Request for Proposals (RFP). RAE will host online workshops for potential applicants on March 16, 18, and 24.
2021 SNEP Watershed Grants will fund projects that support the vision, goals and priority actions outlined in the SNEP Strategic Plan. Examples of the kinds of projects expected to be funded include those which:
- Establish or support sustainable partnerships
- Provide multiple benefits for communities and the environment
- Foster environmental equity
- Restore coastal and watershed habitats such as rivers, salt marshes, seagrass, and wetlands
- Foster coastal resilience and adaptation to changing climate and environmental conditions
- Reduce nutrients and nutrient impacts on coastal ecosystems
- Restore or improve urban landscapes with nature-based solutions
- Develop, implement or communicate innovative approaches
- Develop sources or methods of sustainable financing for clean water and other environmental improvements
- Develop or implement holistic environmental plans, including watershed-based planning and action
All grants will be awarded within the geographic region of Southeast New England, which includes all of Rhode Island and most of Southeastern Massachusetts, including the Narragansett Bay watershed, Buzzards Bay watershed, much of Cape Cod and the region’s offshore and inshore islands. An interactive map of the SNEP Region can be accessed on the EPA SNEP web page.
Over the past three years, SNEP Watershed Grants have awarded $8.5 million to fund high-impact environmental projects by organizations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Supported projects include urban revitalization along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence; cranberry bog restoration on Cape Cod; installation of a “green and complete street” in Pawtucket, R.I.; and partnerships to restore water quality throughout Southeast New England. The federal funds awarded by SNEP Watershed Grants have generated at least $4 million in additional non-federal funding for high-priority work in the region.
Working with EPA and an independent, interdisciplinary advisory committee, RAE will review the LOIs submitted. For those selected for further consideration, RAE will request a Full Proposal, with award decisions expected in August, 2021. The awards will be announced at a public event in September.
By funding locally based partnerships that are working to reduce pollution and restore coastal habitats, 2021 SNEP Watershed Grants will help ensure clean water, sustainable ecosystems, resilient coasts, and vibrant communities throughout Southeast New England. For more information and to apply, see www.snepgrants.org.
For media inquiries or more information on the 2021 SNEP Watershed Grants,
please contact Tom Ardito, Director, SNEP Watershed Grants.