The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide $30 million to support a healthy and resilient watershed for disadvantaged communities along the Gulf Coast. Only projects in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida can receive a share of the grant funding.
The Healthy and Resilient Gulf of Mexico 2023 program is expected to award five grants of up to $6 million each for priority area projects in underserved communities.
These projects must improve water quality; protect, enhance or restore habitats; provide environmental education; and/or strengthen community resilience. Applications are due by April 4, 2024. The EPA will announce awards in November 2024.
Partnerships of five or more eligible entities – which include the applicant alongside four or more other organizations – may submit a single application together. Small community-based organizations, defined as having 10 or fewer full-time employees, must account for two of the partners.
Eligible applicants include state and local governments, state- and federally recognized Indian tribal governments, interstate agencies, public and private universities and colleges, public and private nonprofit organizations and partnerships between two or more Indian tribal governments.
Funded projects should be community-driven, connect with disadvantaged communities and meaningfully involve local residents in the project.
The projects should also promote learning and understanding and create self-sustaining partnerships to continually improve the community.
Finally, they should establish collaborative and coordinated environmental efforts, processes or procedures between communities and local governments while documenting the project’s beneficial impact on the community.
In 2022, the EPA awarded more than $11 million in Healthy and Resilient Gulf of Mexico grants. Mississippi State University received a grant to reduce litter by incentivizing and empowering communities. The University of Alabama used its share of the funds to investigate sources of fecal pollution in the Mobile River Basin.
Photo by Altairisfar