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EPA awards South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources over $2.5 million to improve water quality and watershed health throughout the state

Contact Information: 
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool (

PIERRE (July 17, 2019) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2,574,000 to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR) to improve water quality in streams, rivers and lakes through a Nonpoint Source Program Clean Water Act (Section 319) grant.  This grant is given to states to implement environmental programs that address various sources of pollution in surface and groundwater in order to meet and maintain water quality standards.

“EPA is partnering with SD DENR to restore water quality throughout five watersheds in the state,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “Water quality across the west is a high priority and by working together on these projects, our impact is that much greater.”

“SD DENR is pleased to continue the Section 319 partnership with EPA,” said SD DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. “The additional grant funds allow for continued development of locally-led projects designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution and improve water quality.”

This grant continues extensive work in all watersheds throughout the state including the Big Sioux, James, Belle Fourche, Missouri, Minnesota, and Vermillion to reduce nonpoint source pollution and improve water quality.  Agriculture is the predominant land use in all these watersheds and is the leading source of nonpoint source pollution, also known as runoff.  The nonpoint source grant provides seed money that is matched by state and local funding, as well as other federal monies, bringing together local landowners and a variety of government agencies, all working towards a common goal of improved water quality.

Nonpoint sources of pollution continue to be recognized as the nation’s largest remaining cause of surface water quality impairments. The effects of nonpoint source pollution can be seen within the lakes, streams, and rivers of South Dakota. In general, the nonpoint source pollutants causing the majority of South Dakota’s surface water quality impairments are pathogens and sediment.

Projects funded include an information and education component, water quality monitoring, and installation of best management practices (BMPs) designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution. BMPs may include activities such as installing riparian buffer strips to filter water before it reaches the lake or stream, installing fencing and providing alternative sources of water to keep livestock out of waterbodies, replacement of flood irrigation systems with high-efficiency sprinkler irrigation systems, and bank stability activities that reduce erosion, as well as other activities designed to directly reduce nonpoint source pollution. Each project has a local coordinator who works with various partner agencies to achieve project goals and develop local support and funds to bolster the project.

For more information regarding EPA’s Nonpoint Source grant program visit: