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Nonpoint Source Grant Program

How to apply for grants to reduce or prevent water pollution from nonpoint sources including eligibility, requirements, and guidelines.

Request for Grant Applications

The Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) for the Federal FY24 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319(h) Grant submittal period is closed.

Our next RFGA will open in the summer of 2024.

A separate application form must be submitted for each individual project proposed. These multi-year awards fund 60% of the cost of selected projects; applicants provide the other 40% of the cost as match, which may include in-kind services by volunteers or partner organizations. 

All applicants that meet submission requirements will receive notification of proposal outcome, and selected applicants will be asked (usually in the Fall) to submit a revised project proposal addressing any comments. TCEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will review proposals and may approve, reject, or negotiate revisions of the projects. TCEQ will then develop a contract with each applicant, which will be anticipated to start on September 1 of the following year (about 15 months after the RFGA opened).

The sections below provide background on the 319(h) grant program, eligibility, types of projects typically funded, and other supporting information.

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319(h) Grant Guidelines, Funding Priorities, and Eligibility

TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) administer federal grants for activities that prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollution.

The grants are made available through a federal program authorized under Section 319(h) of the CWA. Descriptions of projects funded through the TCEQ’s Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program can be found on our Projects Web page. Agricultural and silvicultural projects addressing nonpoint source pollution are funded through the TSSWCB 319(h) Grant Program . Priorities for the 319(h) Grant Program are (1) projects that lead to water quality improvements and (2) development and implementation of watershed protection plans (WPPs). Targeted priority areas may be selected by each agency.

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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. Individuals and for-profit business organizations may participate in projects as partners or contractors but may not apply for direct funding.

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

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What Activities and Costs Are Eligible?

To be eligible for funding, a project must address the objectives, goals and/or priorities identified in the most recent Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program.

Priority is given to the development and implementation of WPPs. 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, determining the probable causes and sources of pollution, and selection of management measures designed to reduce pollution through voluntary efforts. Half of this grant program’s funding must be spent to implement federally accepted WPPs. For more information about WPPs please refer to our Watershed Protection Plan Web page, and the NPS Web viewer , an interactive mapping application for Texas WPPs and projects that are protecting and restoring specific rivers, lakes, and bays.

Water bodies in the most recent Priority Watersheds Report are given priority for restoration and/or protection activities. In addition to our Projects Web page, information about projects funded by TCEQ’s NPS Program can be found on the NPS Web viewer .

Other eligible activities include:

  • Education and outreach designed to motivate changes in behavior that reduce 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.
  • Project designed to protect unimpaired waters.

Eligible costs include the grantee's indirect costs attributable to the project. They also include in-kind third-party contributions and the value of volunteer services, although such costs can only be used toward meeting the matching funds requirement. More information about costs eligible for reimbursement or as matching costs is available in resources listed under Guidance for NPS Grants below.

TCEQ does not fund the following costs:

  • The cost of activities required by or demonstrating compliance with federal CWA requirements, such as wastewater or stormwater permits. See the next section for eligible stormwater activities.
  • Costs incurred in the preparation, submission, or revision of the grant application and work plan prior to entering into a contract with TCEQ.
  • Costs incurred outside the TCEQ contract period (before final signature or after the contract closes).

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Requirements Related to Stormwater Activities

Projects that implement Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements are not eligible for funding. However, projects within areas covered by MS4 permits might be eligible for assistance if the proposed management measures 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 MS4 permits in Texas and thus are usually eligible for 319(h) funding. Additional information can be obtained from the NPS Program and is provided in the following links:

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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. QAPPs may take 3-6 months for final approval which must be obtained before any work specified in the QAPP can begin.

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Guidance for NPS Grants

The following Web pages provide guidance and information for Section 319(h) 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. Many projects funded by TCEQ have used the Spreadsheet Tool for Estimating Pollutant Load (STEPL) to estimate pollutant reductions. The Pollutant Load Estimation Tool (PLET; see below) has replaced STEPL. PLET uses the same underlying formulas as STEPL, but in a more user-friendly web interface.

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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Funding for Septic Systems/On-Site Sewage Facilities

The TCEQ NPS grant program does not provide direct assistance to individual homeowners for septic systems. However, this grant program does fund projects that provide septic system assistance to homeowners. The Texas U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development offices , certain projects funded under TCEQ’s Supplemental Environmental Projects program, and other state and federal sources may offer technical and financial assistance with septic system repair and/or replacement in Texas. 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

For more information, contact the NPS Program by e-mail at, or call 512-239-6682.

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