This week, the U. S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will send almost $175,000 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to protect Florida’s wetlands and to help Florida’s Natural Area Inventory (FNAI).
Florida State University’s FNAI is working to “establish and assess wetland reference sites for priority Florida wetland community types” and the funds–which total $174,079–will add to these efforts.
“The primary focus of this grant is to develop and improve state and tribal wetland programs,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker on Thursday. “Today’s award is another great example of the effective partnership between federal and state agencies to protect and restore Florida’s wetlands.”
“I’m grateful to work with EPA and Florida DEP to continue to support Florida’s Natural Area Inventory,” said Dunn. “The grant will assist us in preserving Florida’s wetlands and building on the progress made at Florida State University’s FNAI.”
“Wetlands are a primary component of Florida’s environment, which contribute greatly to our ability to protect water quality and our natural resources” said Florida DEP Sec. Noah Valenstein. “Funding, such as the Regional Wetlands Program Development Grants, play an essential role in Florida’s ability to preserve and support our wetland environments.”
“Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) assist state, tribal, and local government agencies and interstate/intertribal entities in developing or refining state/tribal/local programs which protect, manage, and restore wetlands. The grants provide eligible applicants with funding for projects that build or refine state, tribal, and/or local government wetland programs,” Dunn’s office noted.”Eligible entities include states, tribes, local governments, public universities, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia. Funded projects must have relevance to one or more of the four core program elements that EPA has deemed critical for establishing comprehensive state and tribal wetland programs including: monitoring and assessment, voluntary restoration and protection, regulatory approaches including Clean Water Act 401 certification and wetland-specific water quality standards.”
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