PUBLISHED: 4:00 PM on Wednesday, January 16, 2008
$700,000 in Alaska Clean Water Actions Grants available
DEC seeks local organizations to help restore Alaska's high priority waters
More than $700,000 in grants is available for clean water projects through the Alaska Clean Water Actions, the Department of Environmental Conservation has announced. Each year, DEC along with its ACWA partners, the Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Game, solicits proposals for clean water projects to be funded through ACWA grants. The funds are granted to local communities and citizens groups for projects that monitor and restore Alaska's targeted high priority water bodies.

"ACWA grants have very positive impacts on Alaska's water quality, quantity and habitat," said Lynn Kent, DEC's director of water. "We highly encourage local governments, Native groups, watershed councils, and any organization with a project that targets one of our priority water bodies to apply."

Projects receiving grants last year were diverse and from all around the state. For example, the Granite Creek project in Sitka focused its efforts on pollution controls to prevent sediment laden runoff from entering the creek, polluting the water, and impacting the fisheries.

A project in the Glennallen area targeted the Gulkana River, documenting boat traffic, making detailed habitat observations and taking water quality samples to measure petroleum hydrocarbons during low, normal, and high use periods.

In Southeast Alaska, the Haines Borough received a BEACH Grant to monitor pathogen indicators at Portage Cove Beach, where a nearby wastewater treatment plant outfall and cruise ship dock activities present potential risks to water quality at the popular Haines bathing beach.

"What we want to achieve from all these projects is healthier water for Alaskans," said Kent.