Nonpoint Source Section 319 Grant Program

The DNREC Nonpoint Source Program administers a competitive grant program made possible through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The grant provides funding for projects designed to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution in Delaware.

Nonpoint source pollution is any pollution that originates from a diffuse source (such as an open field or a road) and is transported to surface or ground waters through leaching or runoff.

A good way to reduce nonpoint source pollution is to incorporate specific best management practices (BMPs) into project workplans. Projects may target any source of NPS pollution, but most frequently involve agriculture, silviculture, construction, marinas, septic systems, and hydromodification activities.

Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319 grants are awarded to the state based on the federal fiscal year (October through September). A request for proposals for each awarded fiscal year grant is posted, and advertised, in December of each calendar year and/or at the NPS Program’s discretion.


Projects can be sponsored by both public and private entities, including local governments (county, city, or town), conservation districts, tribal authorities, regional development centers, local school systems, colleges and universities, local nonprofit organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, watershed groups, for-profit groups, homeowner’s associations, and individuals. Project grants to individuals are limited to demonstration projects.

Priority will be given to those projects whose goal is to improve the water quality of water bodies identified as having nonpoint source pollution impairments and implemented in those watersheds that have approved watershed management plans.

Funding Process

Proposals are reviewed and evaluated, and those which are determined to meet specific requirements are eligible for funding.

Each Section 319 grant proposal must have a 67% non-federal match of the grant request. Match may be a combination of cash and in-kind services.

Preference will be given to applicants with cash match.

Tips for Writing an Effective Grant Proposal

Clearly identify the water quality problem that your project seeks to address. Connect this problem with an established TMDL, Tributary Strategy, or 303(d) listing. Include any studies, reports, or monitoring data that support your description of the specific water body and pollutant(s) that you plan to address with your project. Show how your project is a cost-effective and appropriate solution to the problem. Reference local studies and reports if possible.

Have a workable, thorough implementation plan:

  • Clearly identify the goal that will be accomplished through the implementation of your project.
    • Is the project focused on implementing tangible BMP(s) with load reductions to improve water quality?
    • Is the project focused on outreach and education efforts to address nonpoint source pollution?
  • Detail a list of all the tasks necessary to reach your goal.
  • Establish a realistic timetable for accomplishing project tasks.
  • Make sure your budget is reasonable for all the tasks identified in your proposal. Provide enough detail to clearly justify your expenses.

For BMP implementation projects, identify specific sites for the project. Describe the type and extent of controls that will be used to address the issue such as linear feet of stream restoration, acres of grass and/or riparian buffers, acres of wetlands created or restored, number of acres planted in cover crops, etc. Calculate the estimated load reductions achieved resulting from the implementation of these BMP(s).

For educational projects, describe the outputs of the project including the estimated number of people to be engaged, number of brochures to be developed and distributed, goal of survey responses to be distributed, description of guided education tours to be provided, etc.

Create a list of measurable environmental results appropriate to your project. Use the guidelines and tools described under the Measurable Environmental Results section (PDF) of the Request for Proposals guidelines document.