U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Southeast New England Program

in partnership with

Restore America’s Estuaries

Program Overview

Clean water, healthy watersheds and vibrant coastal ecosystems are essential to the communities of Southeast New England – a foundation of our region’s prosperity and quality of life. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, clean water generates billions of dollars in economic value through beachgoing, fishing, coastal tourism, marine trades, drinking water supply, and other uses. Yet despite recent improvements, water pollution threatens our most important natural assets. To restore Southeast New England’s environment, maintain sustainable communities and grow our economy, action is needed to reduce pollution to coastal and inland waters.

To help restore clean water throughout Southeast New England, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are launching the 2018 Southeast New England Watershed Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to provide strategic investments in local and regional projects that reduce water pollution and support resilient coastal ecosystems.

The Southeast New England region extends from Westerly, R.I. to Pleasant Bay on Cape Cod, Mass., encompassing the major estuaries of Narragansett Bay andSNEP map Buzzards Bay, and their watershed lands as far north as Worcester, Mass. It includes the south shore of Cape Cod as well as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island and the Elizabeth Islands. The region is home to more than 2.5 million people within a remarkably diverse geography, shared by two states and hundreds of communities. It encompasses dense urban areas such as Providence, New Bedford, Worcester and Fall River; inland forests and wetlands; beaches, salt marshes, and rocky shores; and hundreds of small bays and salt ponds along a thousand miles of shoreline. Click here for an interactive map of the SNEP region.

One important focus of the RAE/EPA grant program is nutrient pollution, caused in part by the cumulative impact of many human activities and land uses. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus harm coastal ecosystems throughout Southeast New England by fertilizing excess growth of seaweeds, plankton and other algae. This reduces the oxygen in the water that fish and shellfish need to survive; degrades coastal habitats such as salt marshes and marine bottoms; and can catalyze outbreaks of toxic algae that pose acute health risks to humans and wildlife.

The Southeast New England Grant Program is funding projects that provide local benefits while fostering regional action to restore clean water. Eligible applicants include municipalities, state agencies, tribes, regional planning organizations and non-profit organizations; projects must be implemented within the defined Southeast New England Program boundaries. Funds may be used to develop and demonstrate innovative partnerships, technologies and practices to reduce water pollution. Our goal is to foster transformative solutions that can be applied throughout Southeast New England, to preserve and restore our shared regional environment.

The watershed grant program is funded through EPA Region 1 and managed by Restore America's Estuaries. Projects throughout the region will be selected for funding through a competitive process. The request for proposals will be released in early 2018 and the first round of grants will be awarded in summer, 2018. Awards will fund projects up to two years in duration.

RAE is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization leading an alliance of ten coastal conservation organizations across the country. RAE and its member organizations are dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation.
To receive program updates and notices of funding availability, subscribe to our newsletter and visit this website regularly. 

For more about the Southeast New England Watershed Grant Program, contact Thomas Ardito, program director, at (401) 575-6109 or tardito@estuaries.org


SNEP Watershed Grants Directory

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