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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 (08)

Fact Sheet; EPA-823-F-07-004; January 2008

EPA is making $9.75 million in grants available in 2008 to eligible states to protect public health at the Nation's beaches. These grants are available to coastal and Great Lakes states to help them implement programs to monitor water quality at the beach and to notify the public when water quality problems exist.


Each swimming season, 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, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach.

To improve water quality testing at the beach and to help beach managers better inform the public when there are water quality problems, Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) in October 2000. This Act authorizes EPA to award grants to eligible states, tribes, and territories to develop and implement beach water quality monitoring and notification programs at coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters at beaches. These grants also help states develop and implement programs to inform the public about the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in the waters at the Nation's beaches.

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In 2008, EPA expects to award $9.75 million in grants to eligible states, tribes, and territories for the beach program. For this eighth year of the BEACH Grants, EPA expects to award grants based on an allocation formula to all eligible States and Territories who apply. EPA consulted with states and the Coastal States Organization in 2002 to develop this formula, which considers three factors:

  1. beach season length,
  2. beach miles, and
  3. beach use.

EPA used the same formula as was used in 2007, which includes using shoreline miles as a surrogate for beach miles, while EPA evaluates beach length data.

Based on this allocation formula and assuming all 35 eligible states and territories apply, the size of the implementation grant award varies from $147,600 to $526,300. If fewer than 35 States and Territories apply for the allocated amount, or if any applicant fails to meet the statutory eligibility requirements for the grants, then EPA will distribute available grant funds to eligible States and Territories in the following order:

  1. States that meet the eligibility requirements for implementation grants and that have met the statutory conditions applicable to previously awarded section 406 grants will be awarded the full amount of funds allocated under the formula described above.
  2. EPA may award program implementation grants to local governments in states where the Agency determines the state has not met the requirements for implementation grants.
  3. EPA will conduct a monitoring and notification program for beaches in those states that does not have a program for monitoring and notification that is consistent with EPA's grant performance criteria. EPA will consider a state's or territory's grant application and most recent grant annual report in deciding whether the program is consistent with EPA requirements.

If all 35 eligible states and territories apply and meet the performance criteria, the distribution of funds for year 2008 is expected to be:

State Distribution of Funds
For the state
or territory of:
The year 2008 allocation
is expected to be:
Alabama $258,390
Alaska $147,650
American Samoa $297,460
California $514,720
Connecticut $220,500
Delaware $207,730
Florida $526,320
Georgia $282,700
Guam $297,930
Hawaii $318,590
Illinois $240,290
Indiana $202,730
Louisiana $320,270
Maine $252,220
Maryland $266,900
Massachusetts $251,930
Michigan $276,210
Minnesota $201,190
Mississippi $253,680
New Hampshire $201,450
New Jersey $275,480
New York $347,300
North Carolina $299,150
Northern Marianas $298,670
Ohio $220,780
Oregon $225,970
Pennsylvania $219,650
Puerto Rico $324,080
Rhode Island $209,650
South Carolina $293,270
Texas $379,140
U.S. Virgin Islands $298,510
Virginia $274,650
Washington $267,980
Wisconsin $222,420

EPA has set aside $50,000 for eligible tribes who may apply to develop a beach program. EPA expects to apportion these funds evenly among all eligible tribes that apply.

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How long will the funding and project period last?

The expected funding and project period for Implementation Grants awarded in fiscal year 2008 is one year.

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Who is eligible to apply?

In order to be eligible for BEACH Act grants, states and territories must have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters next to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. Under the BEACH Act, EPA can also award grants to eligible tribes. To receive BEACH Act grants, tribes must also have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters next to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. In addition, a tribe must demonstrate that it meets the "treatment in the same manner as a state" criteria contained in section 518(e) of the Clean Water Act. EPA encourages those Tribes with coastal recreation waters to contact their regional Beach Act grant coordinator for further information regarding the application process as soon as possible.

In July 2002, EPA published the National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants (EPA-823-B-02-004) which explains the requirements for states, tribes, and local governments to qualify for implementation grants. (You can also get the guidance on NSCEP's web site.)

The BEACH Act authorizes EPA to give a grant to a local government to implement a monitoring and notification program. We may do so only if the Agency finds that the state is not implementing a program that meets the requirements of the Act. Local governments may contact their EPA Regional office for further information about BEACH Act grants.

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How does a state or territory apply?

Eligible states and territories may get an application from their EPA Regional beach contact.

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For more information

For more information on the BEACH grants, please contact your EPA Regional beach program representative or the Office of Water's Standards and Health Protection Division at (202) 566-0400.

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