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How to Apply for Nonpoint Source Grants

How to apply for grants to cleanup or prevent water pollution including eligibility, requirements, and guidelines

Request for Grant Applications

The TCEQ Nonpoint Source Program annually issues a Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) for  projects under the Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant Program. The RFGA for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 opened on June 1, 2018 and closed on July 31, 2018. The RFGA is now closed.

The sections below provide background on this grant program, applicants and activities eligible for funding, and other supporting information.

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Grant Administration and Sources of Funding

The TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board Exit the TCEQ administer federal grants for activities that prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollution (NPS). TCEQ annually solicits project proposals and awards grants for up to three years. These grants fund 60% of the cost of the selected projects; applicants provide the other 40% of the cost as match, which may include in-kind services. Opportunities to apply are published on this Web page and Texas Smart Buy Exit the TCEQ.

The grants are made available through a federal program authorized under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. See descriptions of current and recent projects funded through the TCEQ’s Nonpoint Source Program.

A separate application form must be submitted for each individual project proposed. Completed applications should be concise, but also provide a sufficient level of detail to facilitate the evaluation of the proposed project.

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Who Is Eligible?

All nonprofit organizations, and all state agencies or political subdivisions of the State of Texas—including cities, counties, school districts, state universities, and special districts—are eligible. Private organizations may participate in projects as partners or contractors but may not apply directly for funding.

Applicants are encouraged to partner with other local, state, and federal authorities to increase the impact of their activities. Participation offers the following benefits:

      • Provides new information for managing surface water resources.
      • Ensures consideration of local perspectives in decision making.
      • Informs stakeholders about the nature of water quality problems and solutions.
      • Encourages local stewardship of water resources through voluntary action.

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What Activities Are Eligible?

To be eligible for funding, a project must address the objectives, goals and/or priorities identified in the 2017 Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program or NPS elements in the 1998 Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program Exit the TCEQ. Priority is given to the development and implementation of watershed protection plans. Local stakeholder groups guide the development of these plans to restore and protect water quality in specific Texas waterways. This planning process commonly involves gathering and/or assessing water quality data and using models to determine the causes and sources of pollution, followed by strategic selection of management measures to assure the water bodies meet water quality standards. Half of this grant program’s funding must be spent to implement federally accepted watershed plans. See the Management Program for Nonpoint Source Water Pollution for more information and descriptions of current and recently funded NPS projects.

Other eligible activities include:

      • Education and outreach to address NPS pollution
      • implementation of both technology-based and water quality–based management measures to address NPS pollution - for example, low impact development installations, riparian or shoreline restoration, and repair or replacement of failing septic systems.

Requirements Related to Specific Locations

Applications for projects that address specific watersheds or other geographic areas need to identify the applicable 12-digit hydrologic unit code(s) (HUC).

  • Go to the USGS National Map ViewerExit the TCEQ
  • Click "Layer List" from the top buttons.
  • Select "Watershed Boundary Dataset."
  • Zoom in to your watershed until the 12-digit HUCs are displayed.

Projects that implement stormwater permit requirements are not eligible for funding. However, projects within areas covered by stormwater permits might be eligible for assistance if they are not required or used for permit compliance. For example, low impact development practices and retrofits of storm water control structures on developed properties are outside the scope of most municipal stormwater permits in Texas and thus are usually eligible for NPS funding. Additional information is provided in the following links:

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Watershed Planning Projects

Refer to the Watershed Protection Plan page.

Quality Assurance Requirements

All project-related water quality data must be acquired, collected, and analyzed in accordance with an approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). This includes all "environmental data operations" such as water quality sampling and analysis, flow measurement, acquisition or collection of rainfall data or geospatial data, and hydrologic or water quality modeling.

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Guidance for NPS Grants

The following Web pages provide guidance and information for Section 319 grant projects.

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Tools for Documenting Pollutant Reductions

The federal NPS program uses the term "best management practices," or BMPs, to refer to any activity that has proven effective in preventing or reducing NPS pollution. Every grant project that implements BMPs must include an estimate of the amount of pollution its activities will prevent or reduce, and an evaluation of the performance of the BMPS implemented.

Links to some of the BMPs that Texas has found effective are provided below. Information on those websites should prove useful for estimating pollutant reductions from the associated practices.

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Agricultural and Silvicultural Projects

The TSSWCB 319(h) Grant Program Exit the TCEQadministers the Section 319(h) grant program for agricultural and silvicultural projects in Texas.

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Funding for Stormwater and Wastewater

The Texas Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Exit the TCEQ and Texas Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Exit the TCEQ, administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), provide low-interest loans and limited grants for a wide range of NPS projects, as well as for stormwater and wastewater utility projects which are not eligible for Section 319(h) grant funds. Each of these funds includes a Green Project Reserve which provides a 15% loan forgiveness for qualifying activities (such as installing green stormwater infrastructure/low impact development).

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Funding for Septic Systems/On-Site Sewage Facilities

The TCEQ NPS grant program does not provide direct assistance to individual homeowners for septic systems. From time to time, this grant program does fund some local and regional projects that provide septic system assistance. Possible Funding Options for OSSFs in Texas identifies assistance with repair and/or replacement of malfunctioning septic systems available from certain projects funded under TCEQ’s Supplemental Environmental Projects program, from Texas USDA Rural Development offices, and other sources. TCEQ also offers helpful information about septic systems for homeowners.

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Other Nonpoint Source Funding

The following web pages catalogue additional resources for NPS funding.

For more information, contact the NPS Program by e-mail at nps@tceq.texas.gov, or call 512-239-6682.

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