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Water: Water Headlines

Week of June 27, 2011

1) Federal Agencies Partner to Revitalize Urban Waterways In Communities Across The U.S.
2) Update on Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance
3) EPA Seeks Public Comment on the Draft Reasonable and Prudent Alternative in NMFS' Draft Biological Opinion on the Proposed Pesticides General Permit
4) New Tool to Support Community-Based Water Resiliency Initiative
5) "Sustainable Communities, Healthy Watersheds" 2010 Annual Report Available Online


1) Federal Agencies Partner to Revitalize Urban Waterways In Communities Across The U.S.
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Council for Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new federal partnership along the Patapsco River in Baltimore on Friday where they participated in environmental education activities with Baltimore students. The partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans' health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), an innovative federal union comprised of 11 agencies, will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations: the Patapsco Watershed (Maryland), the Anacostia Watershed (Washington DC/Maryland), the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York), the South Platte River in Denver (Colorado), the Los Angeles River Watershed (California), the Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans, LA), and the Northwest Indiana Area. Each of the pilot locations already has a strong restoration effort underway, spearheaded by local governments and community organizations. Lessons learned from these pilot locations will be transferred to other cities in the country.

Americans use urban waterways like the Patapsco River as sources of drinking water and for a variety of activities including boating, fishing and swimming. Cleaning up and restoring these water resources is essential to protecting Americans' health and improving their overall quality of life. Revitalizing these urban waterways will also reconnect citizens to open spaces, and will have a positive economic impact on local businesses, tourism and property values, as well as spur private investment and job creation in these communities.

For more information, visit www.urbanwaters.gov

2) Update on Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act. In response to requests from state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, EPA and the Corps will take additional comment until July 31, 2011 on this important draft guidance that aims to protect U.S. waters. These waters are critical for the health of the American people, the economy and ecosystems in communities across the country.

This change in the public comment period will not impact the schedule for finalizing the guidance or alter the intent to proceed with a rulemaking.

Public input received will be carefully considered as the agencies make final decisions regarding the guidance. These comments will also be very helpful as the agencies prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The original 60-day public comment period was originally set to expire on July 1, 2011. The agencies will be publishing a notice of this 30-day extension in the Federal Register.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm

3) EPA Seeks Public Comment on the Draft Reasonable and Prudent Alternative in NMFS' Draft Biological Opinion on the Proposed Pesticides General Permit
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to examine the potential impact of EPA's pending Pesticide General Permit (PGP) on the nation's threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat. As part of this consultation, on June 17, 2011, NMFS submitted to EPA a draft Biological Opinion containing a suggested "Reasonable and Prudent Alternative" (RPA) that NMFS believes would avoid the likelihood that endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat would be jeopardized by the permit. EPA is taking public comment for 30 days on the draft RPA proposed by NMFS and will provide the public comment to NMFS for review. EPA is not making any final decision on the terms of the PGP at this time. Comments are due no later than July 25, 2011.

For additional information, visit: www.epa.gov/npdes/pesticides or contact Jack Faulk, EPA Office of Wastewater Management via e-mail at faulk.jack@epa.gov.

4) New Tool to Support Community-Based Water Resiliency Initiative
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a new tool to support the Agency's Community-Based Water Resiliency initiative. The tool will raise awareness of drinking water and wastewater (water sector) interdependencies with other community services to support emergency preparedness and response efforts. Critical infrastructure sectors have interdependencies with drinking water and/or wastewater services. Many community services fall under these sectors (such as hospitals and power plants), and their operations could be severely affected by a water service disruption.

The tool will assist water utilities and all community stakeholders in increasing their preparedness for all-hazards impacting the water sector and their ability to respond to and recover from water service interruptions. The electronic tool has a self-assessment feature which enables stakeholders to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current resiliency efforts, and provides a summary report with tailored recommendations for using resources within the tool that would aid in enhancing resiliency. Individual modules have been developed for water utility owners and operators; the healthcare and public health sector; the emergency services sector; state or tribal drinking water primacy agencies; elected officials; community members, and other non-water sector entities.

To access more information about the initiative and to download the new tool, go to: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/communities/index.cfm 

5) "Sustainable Communities, Healthy Watersheds" 2010 Annual Report Available Online
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW) has released its 2010 Annual Report titled "Sustainable Communities, Healthy Watersheds." Sustainable Communities and Healthy Watersheds are two major themes for EPA's national water program.

The report contains information about EPA's work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the development of new draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act (also known as Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance), progress in better protection of water quality in Appalachia from the harmful effects of surface coal mining operations, and advancement in the work of the National Ocean Council. The report also includes information about OWOW's response to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill through data monitoring evaluation, design monitoring plans and other efforts. Information about efforts to address nitrogen and phosphorus pollution through the development of a recommended Framework for states as well as a new guidance that addresses polluted runoff from federal land management activity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are also included in this publication.

The report can be viewed at: http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/owow/upload/owowannualreport2010.pdf

For information about the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds: http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/owow/

 


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