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Water: Beach Grants

EPA Makes Grants Available to States to Implement Water Quality Monitoring and Public Notification Programs at the Nation’s Beaches

Fact Sheet; March 2005

We are making $9.92 million in grants available to eligible states to protect public health at the Nation's beaches. These grants help coastal and Great Lakes states implement programs to monitor water quality at the beach and to notify the public when water quality problems exist.

What will these grants do?

State and local health and environmental protection agencies monitor the quality of water at the Nation's beaches. When bacteria levels in the water are too high, there is greater risk of people becoming sick. So when monitoring indicates bacteria levels are too high, these agencies post beach warnings or close the beach. State and local monitoring and notification programs differ across the country and provide different levels of protection for swimmers.

To make monitoring programs more consistent nationwide, improve water quality testing at the beach, and help beach managers better inform the public about water quality problems, Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) in October 2000. The Act authorizes us to award grants to help eligible states, tribes, and territories develop and implement beach water quality monitoring and notification programs. These grants also help them develop and implement programs to inform the public about the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in coastal waters (including the Great Lakes).

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How much money is available?

In 2005, we expect to award about $9.92 million in grants that we will distribute funds to states and territories who apply based on the allocation formula we used in 2004. We consulted with various states and the Coastal States Organization in 2002 to develop this formula, which considers three factors:

  • beach season length,
  • beach miles (formula uses shoreline miles as a surrogate for beach miles), and
  • beach use.

Based on this allocation formula, implementation grant awards range from $150,000 to $537,390, assuming that all 35 eligible states and territories apply. If fewer apply or qualify for the grants, then we will redistribute available funds to states according to the following principles:

  • States that meet the program performance criteria will receive the full amount of funds for which they qualify under the allocation formula.
  • States do not meet the requirements for implementation grants may receive grants for continued program development. However, program development grants will be awarded only to complete the work needed to qualify for implementation grants.
  • We may award program implementation grants to local governments in states that have not met the requirements for program implementation.
  • We may use the grant allocation formula to make additional funds available for implementation grants to states that have met the performance criteria.

If all 35 eligible states and territories apply and meet the performance criteria, the distribution of funds for year 2005 will be:

Distribution of funds for year 2005
For the state or territory of: The year 2005 allocation is: For the state or territory of: The year 2005 allocation is:
Alabama $262,650 Mississippi $257,810
Alaska $150,000 New Hampshire $204,710
American Samoa $302,230 New Jersey $280,780
California $525,460 New York $354,580
Connecticut $224,290 North Carolina $304,540
Delaware $211,170 Northern Mariana $303,470
Florida $537,390 Ohio $224,580
Georgia $287,620 Oregon $229,910
Guam $302,710 Pennsylvania $223,410
Hawaii $323,930 Puerto Rico $329,570
Illinois $244,630 Rhode Island $213,140
Indiana $206,030 South Carolina $298,490
Louisiana $326,780 Texas $386,150
Maine $256,880 U.S. Virgin Islands $303,310
Maryland $271,970 Virginia $279,920
Massachusetts $256,580 Washington $273,080
Michigan $281,530 Wisconsin $226,260
Minnesota $204,440    

We have set aside $50,000 for eligible tribes who may apply to develop a beach program. We expect to distribute these funds evenly among all eligible tribes that apply.

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How long will the funding & project periods last?

One year.

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Who can apply?

Eligible states, territories, and tribes have:
- coasts on the ocean or the Great Lakes and
- recreational waters next to beaches or similar points of access used by the public.

Tribes must also meet also meet the ""treatment in the same manner as a state"" criteria under CWA section 518(e).

"Coastal recreational waters" means areas where people swim, bathe, surf, or otherwise get in the water. See Clean Water Act Section 303(c) for details.

The July 2002 National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants explains the requirements for states, tribes, and local governments to qualify for implementation grants.

The BEACH Act authorizes us to give a grant to a local government to implement a monitoring and notification program only when the state is not implementing a program that meets requirements within a year after we published performance criteria for beach programs. We published the criteria on July 19, 2002, so July 19, 2003, was the earliest a local government would have been eligible. To date, we believe that all states are implementing the program consistent with the requirements. Local governments should contact their EPA Regional Office for further information about BEACH Act grants.

How does a state or territory apply?

Eligible states and territories may get an application from their regional grant coordinator.

For more information

For more information on the BEACH grants, please contact your EPA Regional beach program representative or Rich Healy at 202-566-0405 (healy.richard@epa.gov). Also check the main beach grant page for data requirements, the official federal register notice, and application forms.

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