Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards
Water Quality Restoration Grants for Nonpoint Source Pollution
Water quality restoration grants are awarded by the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) to fund watershed restoration activities and initiatives around New Jersey that address nonpoint source pollution (NPS). Funding sources include USEPA pass-through grants issued under Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and other federal and State funds that may be available for NPS-related water quality restoration activities. Information about current and previous funding priorities, grant awards, and successful grant projects is provided under the headings below. Generally, grants are focused on restoration of water quality impaired predominantly by NPS pollution for waters located in a priority waterbody or region where the grant will help implement an approved TMDL or Watershed Based Plan (WBP). Approved WBPs contain nine minimum elements required by USEPA under the 319(h) grant program and may serve as an appropriate alternative to TMDL development for NPS-related impairment. Additional information regarding developing a watershed based plan is available from USEPA’s Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters.
Elements of a Watershed Based Plan
List and Map of Approved Watershed Based Plans
- Identify causes and sources of pollution
- Estimate pollutant loading into the watershed and the expected load reductions
- Describe management measures that will achieve load reductions and targeted critical areas
- Estimate amounts of technical and financial assistance and the relevant authorities needed to implement the plan
- Develop an information/education component
- Develop a project schedule
- Describe the interim, measurable milestones
- Identify indicators to measure progress
- Develop a monitoring component
The map below is color-coded to identify all currently approved, nine-element Watershed Based Plans. Select either the highlighted area on the map or the WBP name in the map key to view the approved WBP.
The Water Quality Restoration Grant Program is part of the Statewide NPS Management Program, which highlights key actions that the Department and its partners use to to control NPS pollution and restore water quality throughout New Jersey. The Department, in partnership with local and regional stakeholders, has invested significant resources in characterizing the causes and sources of water quality impairment in several priority watersheds and has found that reducing NPS pollution is key to meeting water quality objectives in those watersheds. The Department has also focused grant funds on addressing broader NPS-related issues, such as reducing or eliminating combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improving resiliency to storm events like Superstorm Sandy, which will be advanced by implementing NPS pollution reduction strategies, including green infrastructure, living shorelines and environmental education. More recently, the Department has focused the grant program on NPS pollution control projects that can address water quality impairment in priority regions of the State through a rotating basin approach to comprehensive regional assessment of water quality. Under this approach, one of New Jersey's five water regions is the selected priority for each assessment cycle, as shown below. Priority for grant funding will be aligned with the NPS pollution-related water quality impairments identified in the priority region for the corresponding assessment cycle.
The SFY17 Request for Proposals (RFP) solicits applications for eligible NPS pollution control projects to be considered for funding under the expanded Water Quality Restoration Grant Program. The RFP establishes the criteria for project eligibility based on federal requirements and State priorities; identifies specific administrative, procedural, and programmatic requirements for applicants; and provides timetables and deadlines for the grant application and related decision-making processes. Funding priorities include implementation of approved WBPs and TMDLs within the Raritan and Lower Delaware Water Regions. Additional priority watersheds and projects types are identified in the RFP. A copy of a standard federal funded agreement provisions is provided on the Technical Support Documents web page under Water Quality Restoration/319(h) Grants for NPS Pollution.
SFY 2017 RFP
Priority Watersheds in the Raritan and Lower Delaware Water Regions
For State Fiscal Year 2016 (SFY16), the Department received federal funds under Section 319(h) of the CWA for pass-through grants for projects that reduce water quality impairment through implementation of NPS pollution control. The Department evaluated the water resources management issues of each region to ensure that identified problems are addressed comprehensively and holistically, with the most efficient and effective use of both regulatory and non-regulatory tools and partnerships, to achieve measurable environmental outcomes. Under the SFY16 RFP, the Department requested proposals from organizations and governmental entities for the purpose of implementing:
- Approved WBPs or TMDLs in the Barnegat Bay and the non-tidal Raritan River Watersheds;
- Green infrastructure projects within drainage areas that are hydraulically connected to areas with documented CSOs and environmental education initiatives that advance these goals;
- Natural solutions, such as the creation of living shorelines, to address erosion and water quality issues as an alternative that adds diversity to other shore protection measures in tidally influenced areas; or
- Natural solutions, such as the creation of living shorelines, at a coastal lake that discharges directly into the Atlantic Ocean or estuarine waterbody in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth or Ocean Counties.
SFY 2016 RFP for the 319(h) grant program
SFY 2016 Funded Projects
319(h) Funded Projects
1. Expansion of Bio-Based Living Shorelines for Water Quality Enhancement along the Maurice River, New Jersey
Grantee: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
Corporate Business Tax (CBT) Funded Project
Funding Amount: $340,000
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) proposes to strengthen and expand installation of bio-based living shorelines along salt marshes in the tidal Maurice River, New Jersey. The primary goal will be to enhance water quality in this impaired watershed. Working with a partner organization, the Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL), PDE has installed more than a dozen living shoreline (LS) cells along eroding salt marshes of the lower Maurice River between 2008 and 2012. The primary objective was to study living shoreline tactic stability, ecological uplift potential, and erosion control capabilities. Water quality improvement, mediated by filter-feeding mussel beds, were documented but was not integral to earlier designs. In this proposed project, as many as 10 new living shoreline cells will be installed in proximity to earlier installations; however, these designs will seek to maximize shellfish- and vegetation-mediated water quality enhancement through total suspended solids (TSS) and particulate nutrients (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous) filtration. Outcomes from this project will include the treatment of up to 1,200 linear feet of eroding marsh shoreline enhancing local water quality as well as increasing coastal resilience, salt marsh stability, fish and wildlife habitat support, and increased carbon storage capacity.
2. Sylvan Lake Living Shoreline Project
Grantee: Borough of Avon-by-the-Sea
Funding Amount: $472,750
Sylvan Lake is one of nine coastal lakes found in Monmouth County. The approximately seventeen (17) acre waterbody has shoreline primarily stabilized by bulkheads and rock revetments. A small island is located at the central portion of the Lake. The Lake is located on the border of Avon and Bradley Beach, has approximately 6,600 feet of shoreline, of which approximately 3,371 feet falls within the municipal boundary of Avon-by-the-Sea. Under this 319(h) grant the Borough of Avon-By-The-Sea is proposing to implement the Sylvan Lake Living Shoreline Project, a natural solutions based project that also incorporates the creation of bioswales and constructed wetlands, designed to mitigate the nonpoint source (NPS) pollution impacting Sylvan Lake. In addition, the Project will also create habitat, improve biodiversity, stabilize an eroding shoreline, discourage resident goose populations, improve the water quality of water discharged to the recreational beaches, provide public access points for recreational activities, and foster community volunteerism and engagement.
3. Neshanic River Watershed- Agricultural and Stormwater Alternatives
Grantee: North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council
Funding Amount: $1,252,750
This project will build upon an existing grant with North Jersey RC&D, the Neshanic River Watershed Restoration Plan Project (RP12-028), whereby project implementation is occurring at such a high rate that funding will soon be exhausted well before the original grant deadline. This project will contain three main goals: (1) Increase the quantity of agricultural BMPs implemented, to reduce water quality impairments in the entire Neshanic River Watershed and headwaters, coupling practices with USDA- Farm Bill funding support; (2) Increase implementation of small-scale bio-retention BMPs to reduce storm water contribution; and, (3) Incorporate sustainable stormwater and landscape design on the Hunterdon Land Trust- Dvoor Farm property to address flooding and to incorporate erosion and sediment control measures in the area adjacent to the Mine Street crossing of Walnut Brook.
The first goal will continue to focus intense efforts to keep agricultural soil in place and reduce erosion thru the application of cover crops and the Soil Health Initiative in the combined Neshanic and Sourland watershed area. As part of this objective there will be continued education and promotion of farmers to practice the River Friendly-Farm Certification standards whereby these farmers will be encouraged to take advantage of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding that can be used to remediate potential environmental impacts on their farms. The second goal will be to continue efforts currently underway to disconnect impervious surfaces associated with the residential and commercial development in the Neshanic watershed to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutant loading to the waterway. The third goal will be to address the stormwater runoff that contributes to the erosion of the Walnut Brook on the Hunterdon Land Trust-Dvoor Farm property. This is important to address as it will further protect the property as well increase water quality of the Walnut Brook building on the wetland creation and streambank stabilization practices implemented in 2009 towards reducing sediment impairments. This project would also include support of South Jersey RC&D in developing an agricultural cost share program in South Jersey including assisting Rutgers in the implementation of the existing Assiscunk Watershed implementation grant (RP13-003).
4. Green Infrastructure in Gloucester City and Camden City
Grantees: Camden County Soil Conservation District and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
Funding Amount: $430,000
Gloucester City will utilize most of this funding to build upon the techniques and lessons learned in (2) similar projects implemented by the Water Resources Program (WRP) of Rutgers University in the cities of Newark and Camden, supported by 319 grant funds from SFY2009 and 2011, respectively. This project proposes to reduce runoff volumes that contribute flows to drainage systems associated with CSO discharges, through the implementation of green infrastructure techniques such as rain gardens, rain water reuse, community gardens and infiltration structures. This grant will mirror the youth and adult hands on education programs, focusing on the design and construction of these types of projects piloted in the cities of Newark and Camden. The WRP at Rutgers University has been a valuable watershed partner and is responsible for, or has contributed to, the development and successful implementation of many watershed plans.
Neighboring Camden City will utilize the remaining funds for its existing Camden SMART partnership, which has constructed over 40 green infrastructure projects throughout Camden. The goal is to focus efforts in the North Camden neighborhood with a comprehensive green infrastructure implementation plan for disconnection of 15-50 percent of existing impervious areas in the North Camden neighborhood.
Green Infrastructure in City of Trenton
Grantees: Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
Funding Amount: $370,000
Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Funded Projects
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program, in partnership with Isles, Inc. and New Jersey Future, proposes to pilot a community-based initiative addressing environmental health issues through job-skill training and the implementation of green infrastructure demonstration projects throughout the City of Trenton. This project will focus on priority environmental issues identified by the community including efforts to better manage vacant properties, reducing nonpoint source water pollution, reducing nuisance flooding, addressing the impact of brownfields on community health, and upgrading aging infrastructure. The project will focus on the capture, treatment, and reuse of stormwater runoff, reducing pressures on existing infrastructure in Trenton and protecting water quality in the Delaware River.
Environmental Justice Project for the Lower Assunpink Creek, Broad Street Culvert
Grantee: City of Trenton
Funding Amount: $3,200,000
The City of Trenton has been working diligently with the Army Corps of Engineers for many years to daylight a portion of the Assunpink Creek between Broad Street and Warren Street. The Department previously awarded $1,000,000 in 319(h) grant funds to the City of Trenton under grant RP10-082 to facilitate the completion of this project. The Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $10 million to this project. The project has cleared many hurdles and is shovel ready with the Army Corps releasing the bid documents last year. While the bid documents were being advertised, the Army Corps updated their cost estimate, and the estimated project costs came in significantly higher than initially projected. As a result, the bid documents were pulled, pending the City’s ability to identify funds sufficient to close the funding gap. These funds will fill the funding gap identified by the Army Corps for a total increase of $3.2 million. This will result in a revised total grant amount of $4,200,000 ($1M 319(h); $3.2M NRD), which will leverage the $10 million in Army Corps funding to complete the project.
Many NPS pollution control projects have been successfully completed as the result of 319(h) funding. Project types include basin enhancements and retrofits, capital improvements, ecosystem restorations, education, green infrastructure, Manufactured Treatment Devices, and nutrient management. The map below depicts the locations and types of projects that have been completed throughout the State between 1999 and 2014. Click anywhere on the map to download a spreadsheet with additional information about these projects.
States are required to submit NPS "Success Stories" for USEPA approval as part of the 319(h) Grant Program. Success stories are defined by USEPA as waterbodies that were impaired primarily by nonpoint sources of pollution, received 319(h) grants or other funding sources dedicated to solving NPS impairments, and achieved documented water quality improvements.
The map below is color-coded to identify New Jersey 319(h) NPS Program Success Stories approved by USEPA. Select either the highlighted area on the map or the WBP name in the map key to view the corresponding success story in PDF form.