Columbia River Basin pollution reduction projects receive $2 million EPA grant

By prioritizing river health, clean water and equitable and inclusive community involvement, a river can be one of a community’s greatest assets.

A total of 14 projects to reduce pollution in the Columbia River Basin watersheds will get $2 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which includes $800,000 for six Oregon-based restoration projects, EPA announced in September.

Watersheds, also known as a catchment or river basins, are the entire upstream land area that drains to a certain point on a river. A healthier basin benefits humans as well as struggling salmon populations. 

The Columbia River Basin Restoration Funding Assistanc… is the grant source. The program was established in 2016 through an amendment to the Clean Water Act, sponsored by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

“Our rivers and waterways are at the heart of our communities, and if they are dirty and polluted, our homes and schools and businesses are dirty and polluted,” said Merkley. “A clean and healthy Columbia River Basin is good for our health, our environment, and our economy.”

Even at a time of economic downturn, a pandemic and more devastation from wildfires, prioritizing river health, clean water and equitable and inclusive community involvement is still critically important.

The Oregon-based grant recipients and projects are:

• PNW Pollution Prevention Resource Center, is receiving $88,304 to reduce pollutants from automotive and landscaping industries in the Portland metro area.

• Salmon Safe in Oregon is receiving $200,000 to address pesticide and erosion reduction, habitat protection and enhancement, and facilitate farmer certification.

• Multnomah County is receiving $174,045 to support pesticide reduction outreach efforts in the lower and middle Columbia River, Deschutes, Willamette, Hood watersheds, and southwest Washington, including development of bi-lingual outreach materials.

• Lower Columbia River Estuary Program is receiving $67,597 to fund the deployment of Grattix boxes that will reduce zinc and copper run-off to the lower Columbia River in St. Helens and Rainier, Oregon and Longview, Washington.

• Cascade Pacific Resource, Conservation & Development is receiving $199,999 to build green stormwater infrastructure to reduce metals, PAHs, and pesticides in run-off in Lane County.

• Columbia Riverkeeper is receiving $91,991 to fund pollution prevention education with a focus on youth outreach in Hood River and Wasco Counties and Klickitat County, Washington.

In addition to these six projects, two Washington-based recipients have projects that will also benefit Oregon’s waters.

For more about the Columbia River Basin Restoration Program and grantees, please visit: EPA’s website.

–Jennifer K. Flynt, public affairs specialist

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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