NOAA 2002-R406
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Balian
3/28/02
NOAA News Releases 2002
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NOAA AND EPA APPROVE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN
Delaware Receives an Additional $150,000 for Finalizing Coastal Polluted Runoff Program

Delaware received the final federal seal of approval on a state coastal pollution program aimed at combating land-based sources of runoff from agriculture, forestry, marinas, and urban sources, earning an additional $150,000 in federal funding. The program was formally approved at a signing ceremony today in Dover, Del., by the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the two federal agencies responsible for reviewing the plan.

Polluted runoff, also known as nonpoint source pollution, is a significant problem throughout the nation, especially in coastal areas and watersheds that feed into sensitive estuaries and coastal environments. It is caused when rain picks up pollutants on land and deposits them into coastal waters, lakes, rivers, and even underground drinking water aquifers.

"The strength of the Coastal Zone Management program and the non-point plan is that they are state focused and grass-roots based, but still part of a larger, national effort," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., NOAA's Administrator. "Approval and implementation of these plans shows how effectively the federal, state, and local governments can work together to really make a difference and give us a cleaner, healthier environment."

The coastal nonpoint pollution program was authorized by Congress in fiscal year 1990 as part of the national Coastal Zone Management Program, a unique voluntary partnership of federal and state governments that gives guidance for solving coastal runoff pollution problems. Thirty-three coastal states are participating in the program and have received conditional approval of their plans. Each state receives funding based on a formula that factors in length of shoreline and coastal population.

While at the signing ceremony Jamie Hawkins, deputy administrator of NOAA's National Ocean Service, called Delaware's coastal nonpoint program "comprehensive and a roadmap for others to follow." He congratulated Governor Ruth Ann Minner and the state's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for starting a new coastal management program to keep marinas clean and for adopting a nutrient management act to help farmers more effectively apply nutrients to crops. Hawkins said NOAA would work closely with the state to ensure its programs were successful.

Last year Delaware received base funding of $126,000. Each state receives a bonus for producing a fully approved plan. Today, Delaware joins seven states – Maryland, Rhode Island, California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and Puerto Rico, receiving a $150,000 bonus.

"Delaware has shown strong leadership in developing its coastal polluted runoff program, including a serious commitment on the part of the many state agencies and local partners," Lautenbacher said. "We understand the tough challenges of protecting America's coastal waters from nonpoint source pollution and will continue to work with the states and Congress to ensure on-going support for this important program."

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit http://www.noaa.gov.