Which government restoration funds survive downtimes?

Session Date & Time: 
May 7, 2012 - 2:00pm
Session Length: 
90 minutes
Skill Level: 

Merrit Frey, River Network


Times are tough all over. With cuts at all levels of government, how are pots of funding for restoration faring? Do some types of funds weather hard times better than others? Learn which types of state and federal funding strategies might still have the ommphff to keep your restoration rolling.

In this overview session, we'll explore several different state government (and to a lesser extent federal) restoration funding program approaches and how those approaches are weathering the deep budget cuts we see nationwide. Several panelists will share their experience with mechanisms from legislative appropriations, to fee-based funds, to tax-based approaches, to Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) and beyond. We will also discuss the current status of federal funds most often used for restoration projects - such as 319 nonpoint source funding or State Revolving Fund dollars - and explore the likely future for those funds.

We will cover the nuts and bolts of the government funding approaches, describe real-world examples of the types of restoration funded by the approaches, explain how to research related programs in participants' home states or watersheds, and share ideas for advocating to create the funding approaches in states where they don't yet exist.

Participants will leave with an understanding of:

• Which types of state and federal government funding approaches or programs are most likely to weather budget cuts and hence have funding available.

• How to research these types of programs in their state when they get home.

• How to advocate to establish these types of funding programs if they don't exist in their states.

Presenter Bio(s): 

Merritt Frey is River Network's Habitat Program Director, and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Merritt brings fifteen years of Clean Water Act experience on the federal and state levels to her position, with a focus on water quality standards, 401 water quality certification, pollution control permits, habitat restoration, drinking source water protection, and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

Before joining River Network's staff in 2008, Merritt spent nearly 5 years as the Executive Director of the Utah Rivers Council, where in addition to serving as the lead fundraiser and manager, she led the organization's successful water quality project. Previously, Merritt worked on Clean Water Act policy for both the Clean Water Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington DC. She also spent time working for West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Union of Concerned Scientists, and National Tree Trust.

Merritt has authored publications such as The Ripple Effect: A Guide to Making Waves in the Turbulent World of TMDLs and Source Water Stewardship, and co-authored Permitting an End to Pollution.

In 2005, Merritt was one of ten western watershed leaders to receive a 3-year W.C. Kenney Foundation Leadership Grant to support outstanding work in the water community. In 2007, Merritt was appointed by Utah's Governor to the Utah Water Quality Board. In 2010, she was proud to join the board of Western Resource Advocates. Just this year, Merritt was appointed by the Governor to the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Council.

When Merritt is not working, she enjoys running, exploring Utah's mountains and deserts with her dog Zoe, fly-fishing as an excuse to stand in or near a river for hours, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on.