DNR announces report on runoff management grants

    water faucet
    (photo from Creative Commons)

    An annual report on runoff management grants has been announced by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The grants have been particularly valuable in the state’s responses to polluted runoff, which affects Wisconsin’s water systems.

    Runoff management grants helped local governments employ over 20 distinct pollution control practices and storm water planning activities during 2020. The DNR highlights successful practices “including barnyard runoff control systems, cropping practices, stream bank stabilization, storm water erosion plans and urban detention systems. Grants provided over $1.9 million in reimbursements payments to local governments throughout the state.”

    The Targeted Runoff Management (TRM) Grant Program offered local municipalities competitive grants to help control nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. This is pollution which comes from diffuse sources. With the TRM grant program, costs for agricultural or urban runoff management practices in targeted areas of concern were reimbursed. Additional grant programs also offered grants to help local governments control pollution from diffuse urban sources, carried by storm water runoff.

    In 2020, some 68 runoff management grant applications were received by the DNR. Ultimately 45 were awarded, which totaled over $7 million for projects starting in January. If there are funds remaining after those projects are completed additional grants may be awarded. On April 15, grant applications for the 2022 grant award cycle are due. Local governments from villages to cities, counties to tribal governments, even sewage and sanitary districts may apply.

    “Addressing pollution in the environment is part of Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide initiative to ensure Wisconsinites have access to clean, safe, drinking water,” the DNR states. Evers declared 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water, and his 2019-21 budget made good on that declaration by prioritizing programs that protect ground, surface, and drinking water. Some $10 million over the next two years are allocated in Evers’ 2021-23 biennial budget to agricultural structural practices, storm water planning activities, and cropping practices to help improve water quality.

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    Isiah Holmes
    Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, and other outlets.