The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded a grant to the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. The funding will support management programs for nonpoint-source water pollution, which is caused when rainfall or snowmelt carries pollutants into rivers, lakes, and other waterbodies.
“EPA is pleased to work with our Tribal partners to continue this important work,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “Protecting valuable watersheds from pollution is vital to healthy waterways and the communities that rely on them.”
The Pueblo of Laguna will use the funds to develop a Watershed-Based plan for the Pueblo’s waterbodies. In September 2019, the Pueblo received Treatment as a State for the Non-point Source program and this is the Pueblo’s first non-point source grant. The project will focus on non-point source concerns such as soil and streambank erosion, loss of riparian vegetation, the intrusion of non-native species, and high sediment loads.
Unlike pollution from industrial facilities and sewage treatment plants, nonpoint source pollution does not come from a specific place. As precipitation moves over or through the ground, it picks up debris and pollutants and deposits them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground water. Nonpoint source pollution can include excess fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides; oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff; sediment; drainage from abandoned mines; and bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet waste and faulty septic systems. States report that nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems.
More about EPA’s work in New Mexico: https://www.epa.gov/nm
More about nonpoint source pollution: https://www.epa.gov/nps
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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central