WASHINGTON — As part of its developing Urban Waters Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available up to $600,000 in grants for an eligible entity to establish and manage a national competitive urban watershed small grants program, and to provide urban watershed technical services. The successful applicant would support capacity building projects in urban communities that will lead to environmental, public health, and related economic benefits.

As part of Administrator Jackson’s priorities, EPA is developing an urban waters initiative to help communities — especially disadvantaged communities — access, restore and benefit from their waters and the surrounding land. Many urban waters have a wide range of environmental challenges including polluted runoff, sewer overflows, and other contamination.

The goal is to help urban communities reconnect with and revitalize the waters that are an important part of their health and prosperity. The agency has requested $5.5 million in grant funds in the FY 2011 budget request under the Community Water Priorities program to focus resources on water quality protection efforts in urban waters.

EPA said the goal of the urban watershed grant is to promote community stewardship by increasing the capacity of local watershed and community groups, adding that better understanding of their urban watersheds will lead to better decision-making, improved restoration and protection efforts.

Proposals must be received by EPA by May 19. The selection of the successful applicant will be announced this summer. Eligible applicants are states, local governments, public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, U.S. territories or possessions, and interstate agencies.

For more information about the Targeted Watershed Grants Program, please visit www.epa.gov/twg.