The 319 Program refers to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water Act Section 319 grant program that funds work to reduce watershed erosion to improve water quality. Administered in Maine by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the program funds projects in watersheds that have EPA-approved management or protection plans. In the Belgrade Lakes watershed, East Pond, Long Pond, McGrath Pond-Salmon Lake, and North Pond have EPA-approved plans.
319 Program funding is available to homeowners, road associations, businesses, and towns for erosion control projects that improve water quality. Since 1999, 7 Lakes Alliance/BRCA has received 319 grant funding of $960,000 resulting in over $2.6 million in erosion control and water quality improvement projects throughout the Belgrade Lakes watershed.
Road Improvement Projects
In 2018, 7 Lakes Alliance has 319 funding for East Pond and North Pond. The East Pond grant is for the alum project on East Pond. Most of the North Pond funding is for road improvement projects that reduce erosion to the lakes. Funding cannot be used for routine road maintenance. Typical projects involve ditching, culverts, and other major road improvements that add drainage capacity and that stabilize roads.
Road Management Plans
Grant funds can be used for Road Management Plans to assess road problems and provide technical advice. The plans are an important tool in capital budgeting and in contracting, and are used to plan many road improvement projects. Plans are provided by Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District.
Road workshops are provided to road associations, homeowners, towns and contractors. At the July 2016 and 2017 workshops, there were 80 attendees from throughout central Maine. Workshop partners include Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine DEP, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Association for Road Associations, Friends of Cobbossee, and 30 Mile River Watershed Association.
Technical assistance for erosion problems is available to homeowners, road associations, businesses and towns, and is provided by 7 Lakes Alliance, Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Maine DEP.
Funding is available through 7 Lakes Alliance and is provided through a Cost-Share Agreement. Depending on the size of the project, up to 50% of project costs can be covered in the agreement. Interested parties should contact 7 Lakes Alliance for more information.