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Water: Fish & Shellfish

Sport Fishing in America

EPA Makes a Difference in FY97

Introduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with our partners, accomplished a great deal to support aquatic habitat and the recreational fisheries that depend upon this habitat. Virtually all of EPA's activities that support aquatic habitat also support the recreational fisheries that depend upon this habitat. The vast majority of EPA's efforts to improve aquatic resources are done in cooperation with our state, tribal and local government; industry; and citizen partners. EPA thanks our partners for all their collaborative efforts to support aquatic habitat protection and restoration and aquatic resources education.

Unfortunately, many of EPA's accomplishments can not be reflected in the "Core Measurable Agency Outputs" included in this report because EPA does not require our state, tribal, and other partners that receive EPA funding, for the purpose of protecting and restoring aquatic resources, to report information in this manner (e.g., acres of habitat restored). Rather, EPA collects water quality information from the states to characterize general water quality conditions in the US and widespread water quality problems of national significance.

Goal 1: Accomplishments to conserve, enhance and restore recreational fisheries habitats and fish stocks, emphasizing self-sustaining populations where feasible.

A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs:
1. Acres of flat water and miles of streams restored or improved as fish habitat or restored to established water quality standards.7,761 acres

The most recent data available (1996) show that EPA's and other partners efforts have resulted in and increase in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in the Chesapeake Bay by 3,561 acres. In 1997 seven oyster reefs were constructed which allowed for an expansion of the oyster stock. Also as a result of EPA's and other partners efforts, a one acre reef built in Virginia in 1996 has positively affected 4500 acres within a mile of that reef.

EPA Region I is providing $50,000 to allow New Hampshire Fish and Game to add a more effective and permanent fish ladder on the dam on Exeter River that limits anadromous fish in Great Bay from reaching the upper portions of the Exeter River. This will open up 200 acres of nesting habitat on the most important coastal river for anadromous fish.

2. Acres of flat water and miles of streams restored or re-established for fish migration. 78 miles

As a result of EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office efforts, in conjunction with the efforts of EPA's partners, 78 miles of rivers were opened to both migratory and anadromous fish stock with the removal of dams and the installation of fish ladders/elevators. The stripped bass Spawning Stock Index (females ages 4-15 years) increased over 10 percent from 1996 to 1997 from 70 to 78.

3. Number of fishable populations established, conserved, or restored. Not applicable

EPA does not monitor whether fish popultions have been established, conserved, or restored. Rather, EPA's mission is to assist states in assessing the quality of their waters and aquatic habitat as a whole.

4. Acres of riparian habitat restored. 152 miles (EPA reported this in miles, not acres)

EPA Region I participated in a stakeholders group, which included the local councils of Trout Unlimited, that developed a Settlement Agreement for the Fifteen Mile Falls (FMF) Hydroelectric Project on the Upper Connecticut River. The FMF project is the largest hydroelectric operation in New England. The Settlement Agreement, formally signed by both Governors, calls for operational changes upon completion of licensing at three dams to provide increased flow releases to improve downstream cold water fishery habitats, control of impoundment levels; and passage facilities for anadromous fish. This Agreement significantly improves cold water fish habitats in 70 miles of the Connecticut River.

EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office efforts combined with other partners' efforts resulted in the restoration of 73 miles of forested riparian habitat in 1997.

EPA's Region III partnered with Lititz Run Watershed Alliance to site and design a six acre wetland/riparian system to improve water quality and retain sediment for the purpose of restoring the stream to a trout fishery.

EPA's Region III and Chesapeake Bay Program Office also provided funding for stream fencing and riparian plantings for approximately 9 stream miles to further support the fishery's restoration.

5. Acres of flat water, stream miles, and shoreline miles opened to public fishing. 571 acres

The Massachusetts Bay National Estuary Program, funded by EPA Region I, spearheaded an interagency effort to restore 12 recreational and commercial shellfish beds in communities along the shorelines of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Restoration projects are focused on identifying pollutant sources, such as storm water runoff, which is a major source of pathogens to Salem Sound. Restoration efforts are showing some successes, with approximately 300 acres of shellfish beds re-opened in the North River, and 200 acres re-opened in the Back River watershed.

In Nebraska a new 71 acre reservoir is scheduled to be opened for recreational and fishery use in the summer of 1999; a $180,000 319 grant, in EPA's Region VII, was made to encourage a local planning process which will result in development of performance standards to protect the new fishery resource. This pre-project planning not only raises awareness, but also allows concurrent structural measures to be built along with changes in cultural practices.

6. Acres of flat water and miles of streams made accessible to anadromous fish stocks during the report year. 1000 miles

EPA Region IV has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission to jointly fund the removal of the 260-foot long Quaker Neck Dam on the Neuse River near Goldsboro, North Carolina. Demolition of the dam will allow better passage for saltwater fish that spawn in rivers and will improve fish habitats along a 75-mile stretch of the Neuse and 925 miles of tributary spawning areas. The anadromous species that will benefit include striped bass, American shad, hickory shad and shortnose sturgeon. The dam is being voluntarily removed by Carolina Power & Light.

7. Amount of habitat for which conditions have been measured.

693,305 miles of rivers and steams surveyed in 1996
16,818,769 acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (excluding Great Lakes) surveyed in 1996
28,829 square miles of estuaries surveyed in 1996
36,651 miles of ocean shoreline (excluding Alaska) in 1996

EPA provides financial assistance and technical guidance to the states to undertake water quality monitoring of surface waters. The statistics provided above are from EPA's National Water Quality Inventory: 1994 Report to Congress. They indicate the amount of surface water whose conditions the states surveyed in 1994. EPA has assembled the 1996 statistics but cannot release these until the Office of Management and Budget approves the National Water Quality Inventory: 1996 Report to Congress. The anticipated date of release is April, 1998.

8. Amount of habitat for which recreational fisheries management plans have been completed. Not applicable

EPA's aquatic habitat protection efforts focus on employing a holistic, watershed approach that support a variety of living resources including recreational fisheries.

9. Quantity of water rights secured to protect or restore recreational fisheries values. 24,000 acre feet

For the first time ever, EPA's Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds, in the amount of $12 million, will be used in conjunction with $12 million from US Department of Interior to increase flows in the Truckee River, Nevada by purchasing water rights from willing sellers. This Region IX action is a landmark agreement and a first of its kind use of clean water loans to purchase water for instream flows to support aquatic life. The estimated amount of water to be purchased through this agreement is 24,000 Acre Feet. Expected benefits include improved fish spawning conditions, recruitment of riparian vegetation, reduction in water temperatures, increases in dissolved oxygen concentrations, and reductions in non-point source loadings. Improved habitat for Lahontan cutthroat trout, as well as other trout species, is expected to substantially enhance recreational fishing opportunities in the river.

B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:

1. Level of funding for aquatic habitat protection/restoration. $1.0267 billion

The $1.0267 billion invested only reflects a portion of EPA's level of funding for aquatic habitat protection and restoration. EPA also provides funding to protect public health. Unfortunately, it is not possible for EPA to account for the portion of publich health protection investment that also supports aquatic resources protection.

EPA funded more than $1 billion for aquatic habitat protection and restoration. For example, during FY97, EPA made available more than $625 million for states to administer as part of the Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund (SRF). The SRF provides funds for a range of high-priority water quality projects that will help prevent pollution from entering our nation's water bodies. These funds are important to recreational fisheries because they are used to pay for both structural controls to prevent point sources of pollution (e.g., wastewater treatment plants) and nonstructural controls to prevent nonpoint source pollution (best management practices).

EPA provided needy communities an estimated total of $186 million to assist them in funding the construction of waste-water treatment control technologies. This funding is important to restoring aquatic habitat that has suffers from nutrient enrichment associated with domestic sewage impacts to surface waters.

EPA provided $100 million in grants to our state and tribal partners for nonpoint source pollution control under the Clean Water Act's Section 319 grants program. Nonpoint source pollution is the primary cause for impairment in surveyed waterbodies, and providing grants to control it is an important accomplishment for recreational fisheries health.

EPA provided an estimated $80.7 million (CWA Section 106 grants) to the states and tribes to help them implement their water pollution control programs. These grants are important for protecting our nation's aquatic resources, and the recreational fisheries that depend on these resources.

EPA provided the states an estimated $20 million for water quality cooperative agreements which fund state programs that employ permits to protect aquatic resources, especially storm water permits..

EPA also provided $15 million to support states, tribes and local government efforts to develop new or refine existing wetland protection programs, which ultimately benefits recreational fisheries which are often dependent upon wetlands during their juvenile stages.

Examples of Specific EPA Accomplishments to Protect and Restore Aquatic Habitat Through Investments
Specific examples abound of how EPA funds are utilized for aquatic habitat restoration.

EPA Region I invested $200,000 on monitoring of shellfish beds in New Hampshire which are closed to recreation harvesting because the State has not been able to monitor them. Several beds should open in the next year or two as a result.

Region I invested $75,000 to restore estuarine habitat and enhance public use of North Mill Pond in Portsmouth, NH. Rebuilding efforts included: repairing and planting salt marsh, planting eel grass, increasing tidal flushing, restoring shellfish, and removing debris. Recreation shell fishing and fishing should greatly increase. Region I also invested $80,000 to restore a degraded salt marsh in Rye, NH, and to restore an eel grass bed in Rye and Little Bay. These resources are the key habitats for juvenile stages of many recreational fish in New Hampshire.

In FY97 Region III provided funding for two grants whose purposes are to protect and restore aquatic habitat. Region III provided Earth Conservancy, Inc. an additional $300,000 for a total of $925,000 in funding since 1993 to construct a demonstration wetland treatment project to reduce impacts of acid mine drainage discharges in the Susquehanna Watershed. Region III provided the Canaan Valley Institute (CVI) an additional $500,000 for a total of $1,835,000 in funding since 1995. The CVI is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to foster natural resources protection in the Appalachian Highlands through partnerships with local governments and organizations. This grant will enable CVI to continue to empower stakeholders with the skills and information necessary to make decisions that will be locally supported and technically sound. These decisions will impact habitats in the Blackwater River Watershed. Both of these projects clearly benefit recreational fisheries by improving aquatic habitat.

EPA Region V invested $111,000 (Section 319 grant) and locals invested $74,000 into the Upper Sangamon River (Illinois) Water Quality Improvement Project's implementation of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) to reduce polluted runoff. The BMPs improve water quality and recreational fisheries habitat.

Region V invested $72,000 (Section 319 grant) and locals invested $48,000 into the Four Lakes Village Streambank Stabilization Project (Illinois) for the installation of BMPs along 1,700 feet of streambank bordering the East Branch of DuPage River to reduce soil erosion and improve fishery habitat.

EPA Region V invested $261,092 (Section 319 grant) and locals invested $174,061 towards the Lake Hillsboro/Glen Shoals Restoration Project in Illinois. The funding provided for construction of seven water and sediment control structures, two of which will be designed as wetlands, to reduce polluted runoff entering the lakes while enhancing fish habitat. The investment allowed for the stabilization of 12,500 feet of eroding streambank using bioengineering techniques (A-Jack structures, willow post plantings, vegetation) to improve fish habitats. Public outreach activities include a semi-annual newsletter, guided tours of practices, and a watershed education program for elementary school students.

EPA Region V invested $250,200 (Section 319 grant) and locals invested $166,799 towards a Washington County, Illinois Lake Protection Project. The investments provided for the installation of 16 sediment retention structures, two of which will be designed as wetlands or fish rearing ponds, and the stabilization of 300 feet of shoreline using rock rip rap, timber walls, bioengineering techniques (cattails, biologs, willow posts) to improve fish habitat.

EPA Region V invested $200,000 (Section 319 grant) and locals invested $83,398 towards the installation of BMPs along the Sauk/Coldwater Rivers, Michigan. The BMPs improve water quality and recreational uses by reducing sediment deposition, nutrient loadings, erosion, and septic system runoff. Public outreach activities include development of a newsletter, fact sheets, slide shows, and Sauk River Festival.

EPA Region V provided $300,000 (Section 319 grant) and locals provided $60,000 to improve water quality and fisheries in the Davis Creek, Michigan, Watershed. This improvement is achieved through the implementation of programs for remediation and control of nonpoint source pollution and through public outreach activities. Public outreach activities included a newsletter, development of a guide to streambank stabilization, watershed signage, and curricula for Davis Creek Watershed schools.

EPA Region V provided $133,800 (Section 319 grant) while locals provided $33,800 for Pickeral/Crooked Lakes, Michigan. These funds helped to achieve the implementation of programs for land use, shoreline, forest, storm water, and agricultural management, and road/stream crossing. In addition it funded public outreach activities to address nutrient and sediment problems affecting water quality and recreational uses including fishing.

EPA Region V provided $300,000 and locals provided $35,255 for Little Rabbit River/Red Run Drain, Michigan. The funding supported implementation of BMPs to address runoff from animal waste operations, fertilized cropland, and construction sites, and erosion from streambank, croplands, and road crossing, thereby improving water quality, and recreational uses including fishing. Public outreach activities include development and distribution of fliers and brochures, handbooks on BMPs, public meetings, and watershed tours.

EPA Region V awarded $99,940 (Section 319 grant) while locals provided $140,906 for improving aquatic resources of Stony Creek, Michigan through the implementation of BMPs to control sediment and nutrient inputs from croplands resulting in the improvement of water quality and fish habitats.

EPA Region V awarded $100,000 (Section 319 grant) and locals provided $30,000 for the North Branch of the Bad River, Michigan. The funding allowed for the implemention of BMPs to stabilize 2,000 feet of streambank, installation of 100 acres of filter strips, 10 erosion structures, repair of road crossings, control erosion from new construction sites, and remove 50 log jams for the purpose of improving water quality and protecting fisheries. Public outreach activities include workshops, watershed tours, demonstration projects (BMPs), development and distribution of brochures, and volunteer assessment programs.

EPA Region V provided $275,000 (Section 319 grant) to the Toussaint River Incentive Program for the installation of BMPs (filter strips, conservation tillage, floodplain land set aside) to reduce sediment and resulting nutrient loadings for the purpose of improving water quality and fish habitats. Public outreach activities include workshops, development and distribution of fact sheets, and public meetings.

In Iowa, EPA Region VII's Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds were used by the recipient, Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Environmental Quality Division, to award two low interest loans to their sister division, the State Parks Division, for upgrades to the wastewater treatment facilities at some of the busiest state parks. One loan was for $796,000 and the other was for $1,554,000, which covered upgrading wastewater treatment facilities at 10 state parks spread throughout the state. Almost all of the state parks are located on the shoreline of a recreational fishery and at least three are on a major recreational fishery resource for the state, such as Saylorville and Rathbun lakes and the Mississippi River. This construction not only means better water quality from improved sewage treatment for nearby fish, but it also means that more anglers can enjoy a quality experience with modern and efficient facilities. The success of this effort which improved the recreational fishery, was noticed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources who recently submitted their State Revolving Loan Fund Intended Use Plan which calls for a FY99 direct loan project to the State Division of Parks for $515,000. Similar multiple park wastewater treatment construction projects and benefits are expected to result when the loan is awarded.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and EPA Region VII agreed to fund and manage several additional projects with FY97 Clean Water Act Section 319 funds which have direct impact and emphasis on recreational fisheries. The Trout Stream Protection/Restoration Water Quality Project ($50,000 grant), a continuation grant to a project initiated in 1991, will include support for protection and restoration activities on cold water streams like trout hides, corridor habitat plantings and lake shore erosion control practices.

The Upper Big Mill Creek watershed project, received an additional $50,000 grant in 1997 in EPA's Region VII. It is located in eastern Iowa, and is similar to the above Spring Branch Creek project. The improvements in water quality and habitat resulting from structural and management BMP's is credited with an increase in natural brown trout recruitment from approximately 140 fish per mile to over 500 fish per mile. Efforts also include technical assistance in placing rip rap as lunker hides.

Missouri's Mark Twain Lake, known as the "reservoir of cooperation," has experienced improved fishing and recreational activities where Section 319 funded restoration activities are still underway. This project has received funding from a wide range of sources, including EPA's Region VII, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, University Extension, Farm Services Agency, agrichemical industries and landowners. A focus has emerged that looks at animal waste and the impact to fisheries and drinking water specifically as it relates to fecal content and nitrate concentrations.

EPA Region VII provided a Section 319 grant to Nebraska which supported the Kirkman's Cove Lake project to return the lake to full attainment of its warm water aquatic life use class via watershed management techniques. These efforts are critical to restoring the in-lake fishery habitat by promoting aquatic vegetation growth, in addition to other watershed improvements. Results to date have been encouraging. This is a 5 year effort ending in 1999 that is in its third year of operation

EPA Region VII provided Iowa with Section 319 funding to support the Lake Fisher Water Quality Project ($57,700 grant) that demonstrates structural practices like sediment control basins, and management via "whole farm plans" to slow the trend of erodible land impacting the Lake which is almost surrounded by the Bloomfield City Park. Lake Fisher is surveyed and stocked on a maintenance basis and in the past several years has hosted two catch and release fishing contests per year. The project has a high local funding level. EPA Region VII's Section 319 funds supported a similar project for Iowa's Otter Creek Lake Park ($80,850 grant) that focused on improving agricultural practices which are expected to result in improved fishery experience.

Cottonmill Lake, a 43 acre storage reservoir for the Kearney, Nebraska, Canal, in EPA's Region VII was used extensively for boating and fishing by 274,000 visitors in 1995. A $281,000 Section 319 grant was awarded to improve the water quality related activities (i.e., recreation, fishing, and aesthetics) of the lake by shoreline stabilization, lake deepening, removal of rough fish, and reducing sediment and nutrient inputs.

Under EPA Region VIII's Nonpoint Source program, federal funds (Section 319) were used in FY97 to implement Best Management Practices in over 75 watershed projects across the Region. These projects directly address water quality and stream restoration (bank stabilization and habitat). The Region's funding of Best Management Practices to address the impacts of conventional agriculture, upland and riparian grazing programs, silviculture, and abandoned mining reclamation all directly and indirectly support improved fisheries.

EPA's Region IX has established a team to work exclusively on a major collaborative effort known as the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, to conserve, enhance and restore the fisheries and habitats of the San Francisco Bay Estuary and Delta. FY97 the Region invested $1.2 million to improve watershed management activities in the Estuary which will ultimately benefit recreational fisheries habitat. Other partners invested funds for activities that complement EPA's financial commitment. Collectively, the other partners invested $7.4 million in fish screen improvements for water diversions, $12.7 million in habitat restoration in flood plains and marshes, $19.9 million in river channel changes, $6.4 million in water quality and temperature improvements, $0.5 million in improved fish management and hatchery operations, $0.2 million in introduced and undesirable species control. With few exceptions, these projects will benefit salmon and steelhead, and many are specifically designed to improve survival of egg, larval, juvenile, or outmigrant life stages with the goal of improving production. Other recreationally fished species such as striped bass, white catfish, largemouth bass and sturgeon should also benefit from habitat restoration and improved water quality conditions.

Another example of how EPA's funding of habitat restoration projects works on the ground is demonstrated by EPA's Region IX and the California Water Quality Control Board who have agreed to fund cooperative watershed projects throughout California with FY97 Section 319 funds. Many of these projects are beneficial to salmonids. A total of approximately $1 million is allocated to watersheds supporting salmon and steelhead populations. As an example, the Klamath River Fisheries Task Force, which includes local Resource Conservation Districts and Restoration Councils received a $187,000 FY97 Section 319 grant to restore riparian and instream habitat with riparian fencing and planting, as well as develop alternative sources of agricultural water from wells in the summer and fall to protect stream flows. This group has also worked to capture overland agricultural water to return to fields to protect cold stream temperatures, and developed a cooperative database with water quality, habitat, and fish count information.

C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:

AQUATIC HABITAT RESTORATION PROTECTION
The work of EPA's wetlands program is integrally linked to the protection of recreational fisheries resources. EPA's wetlands protection efforts are critical to sustaining the valuable functions wetlands provide like fish spawning and rearing habitat, water quality improvement for aquatic life, and safe fish passage. In FY97, EPA helped to minimize potential threats to fisheries and associated aquatic resources that could have resulted from the permitting of discharge of fill material into wetlands. The growth in the gaming industry along Mississippi's coast threatens aquatic habitat and the valuable fisheries that rely on this habitat. EPA's wetlands program worked closely with stakeholders on a number of proposed permits for new casinos to ensure that growth in the gaming industry proceeds in a way that minimizes potential adverse effects to fisheries and aquatic habitat. In addition, the EPA worked to reduce adverse impacts to fisheries associated with a proposal to dredge a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay and a proposed highway in Maryland. In FY97, EPA also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the modification of a number of permits to ensure effective protection of valuable aquatic habitat, including submerged aquatic vegetation. Specifically, those Nationwide Permits which authorize fish and wildlife harvesting activities and minor dredging were modified to increase protection of sites that support submerged aquatic vegetation, including areas where such vegetation may not be present in a given year.

In the summer of 1997, EPA's Region I, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and FERC worked closely with New Hampshire and Maine on the relicensing of the South Berwick Hydroelectric Project at the mouth of the Salmon Falls River. The relicensing agreement provides for "run-of-the-river" operation which will improve water quality in the summer months and enhance fishery habitat throughout the year. The dam operator must also provide fish passage to enable herring and shad to migrate up steam to spawn. This is a true success story: both the natural flow of the river and fish passage have been enhanced.

In 1997, EPA Region III in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency, as part of the Reef-Ex program for the establishment of artificial reefs along the Atlantic coast, placed approximately 250 pieces of ex-military hardware in the ocean for use as artificial reefs.

EPA Region III furthered the protection of fish habitat in the Anacostia River through the issuance of two storm water individual permits for the Washington Navy Yard and adjacent General Services Administration. These were written with permit conditions that required no discharge of PCBs since fish tissue data showed that the Anacostia River exceeded water quality standards for PCBs. The District has a fish consumption advisory based on fish tissue data for PCBs and chlordane.

EPA Region IX participated in development of a Comprehensive Water Quality Management Plan for San Diego Bay, which was finalized in 1997. One of the strategies in the Plan is to "enhance recreational fisheries in the Bay." The specific actions identified to meet this objective are: 1) to develop and implement comprehensive sport fish and invertebrate surveys, 2) translate fishing regulations into various languages, 3) promote a public school education program on fishery needs and sport fishing regulations, and 4) investigate and promote the creation of recreational fishery habitat, such as rocky intertidal or subtidal.

EPA Region IX provided technical assistance addressing the implementation of management practices to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in the West Maui Watershed. Nutrient reduction was achieved through upgrading and improving operations at the wastewater reclamation facility and by initiating reclamation, in addition to reducing fertilizer use on agricultural lands and resorts. Installation of sediment retention basins in streams and erosion control practices on agricultural lands and at construction sites reduced sediment loading to the ocean. These management measures have resulted in reduced nutrient inputs to the ocean by over 50% and sediment accumulations by about 20,000 cubic yards annually.

EPA Region IX provided financial and technical assistance to numerous tribes for the purpose of protecting and restoring aquatic habitat which ultimately supports recreational fisheries. Region IX provided the State of Nevada a Section 319 grant to assist the Walker River Paiute Tribe in implementing a Riparian Management Plan to preserve and restore riparian areas along the Walker River. Region IX also awarded two Nonpoint Source Program grants of $70,000 each to the Hualapai Tribe and the Hoopa Valley Tribe. These grants are for the implementation of best management practices and the removal of contaminated soils to enhance the condition of aquatic resources. Region IX has also provided technical assistance to the White Mountain Apache Tribe for development of the Tribe's Wetlands Conservation Plan and a Nonpoint Source Management Plan.

EPA Region X funded six Oregon communities' salmon restoration projects ($253,000 in grant money ) including improving salmon passage on Simmons Creek, a tributary to the Tillamook River; modifying tidegates in Tillamook Bay; dam removal on the Illinois River (a tributary to the Rogue River), riparian fencing and planting along Floras Creek in Curry County, stream enhancement in Whittaker Creek (part of the Siuslaw River); and rehabilitating Cutthroat trout spawning beds along Clover and Butler Creeks, which are tributaries of the Umpqual River.

ASSESSMENTS, MONITORING, AND BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS
EPA, in collaboration with other federal agencies, states, tribes, and academicians, are developing wetland biological indicators, criteria and monitoring methods and protocols. EPA held a meeting in Boulder, Colorado, in September 1997 to explore issues and opportunities related to wetland biological monitoring and assessment. A working group has been formed to work through the many areas of development needed including, metric selection, reference wetlands, classification, and data management. The monitoring and data analysis performed to date has focused on depressional and riparian wetlands and to a lesser extent on coastal wetlands. While all the work focuses on healthy aquatic communities, the riparian and coastal work will have particular application to recreational fisheries.

EPA is committed to building biological assessment capabilities in State monitoring programs. Integrating biological monitoring techniques into state programs will complement ongoing chemical monitoring techniques that are currently used to assess whether waters are supporting aquatic life use. Biological assessments are direct measures of the aquatic life use. Supplementing monitoring programs with biological data is essential to understand the condition of the aquatic communities that reside in surface waters. The biota integrate a host of stressors from dissolved oxygen to habitat modification. As part EPA's efforts in building capacity of state monitoring programs, the Agency released two tools to identify areas that need additional support in order to integrate biological data into the water management decision process: Summary of State Biological Assessment Programs for Streams and Rivers (EPA 230-R-96-007) and Important Concepts and Elements of an Adequate State Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program.

EPA funded the states of California, Delaware, Virginia, and Texas during FY97 to assess waterbodies where chemical contamination of fish and shellfish is suspected to occur. The funding will assist the states in fish sampling and chemical analysis, risk analysis, and if necessary, the development of fish consumption advisories.

In response to a nationwide concern about mercury concentrating in fish tissue and posing a potential risk to anglers' health, in FY97, EPA completed a compilation of State-collected fish tissue data for mercury to determine the degree of mercury's pervasiveness in fish tissue. The data were given an extensive quality assurance review. During FY97, EPA developed and distributed the national guidance document titled Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data For Use in Fish Advisories. Risk Assessment and Fish Consumption Limits, Second Edition. The document provides updated information on methods recommended by EPA for developing risk assessments related to exposure to contaminants in recreational fish. These efforts are important accomplishments for assessing the health of recreational fisheries and for protecting anglers' health.

EPA Region I supported a comprehensive finfish and shellfish survey of Salem Sound, including five nearshore habitat sites and five deepwater habitat sites. In addition, the Region supported 50 trained divers who conducted at least monthly underwater assessments of critical aquatic resources components such as eel grass habitat, finfish stocks such as flounder and skate, sea scallop and sea urchin beds, and the presence of exotic species. As part of this effort staff conduced an intensive transect survey of approximately 200 acres of known shellfish beds to count and measure species.

EPA Region III conducted an extensive research effort on the potential effects of a proposed dredging project on sport and commercial fisheries in the Lynnhaven Estuary, Virginia. Several surveys were conducted covering this 30 square mile bay which determined that the dredging would have significant impacts to fisheries as the project was proposed. Region III worked with the Corps of Engineers to redefine and alter the project in such a way as to minimize the impact to fisheries based upon the results of EPA's research.

EPA Region III surveyed 25 square miles near an ocean dumping site for fisheries effects. Region III also evaluated the effect of three artificial reef placements on fisheries resources development. Region III's Aerial Surveillance Program surveyed 200 linear miles of coastal waters fifteen times in 1997 and documented recreational and commercial pressures. Region III also conducted several surveys of the impacts to fisheries at three coastal outfalls along the Maryland and Delaware coasts.

EPA Region III developed guidance for Delaware on biological and habitat monitoring. This guidance will not only be helpful in Delaware but also in other states in Region III in better assessing the fishery potential of a stream. Biological and habitat monitoring, compared to traditional chemical monitoring, better characterizes the needs and impairment of aquatic life.

EPA Region III awarded $37,000 to assess the Potomac River Basin aquatic living resources. Monitoring data will be collected and analyzed in non-tidal rivers and streams on the Potomac basin. Integrated analysis of water/habitat quality and biological data provide a comprehensive basin-wide characterization of Potomac non-tidal waters.

Through an EPA Region III grant, the State of Pennsylvania completed several reports that advance the knowledge base of contaminant concentrations in fish tissue. These reports include the Fish Environmental Indicator and Tainted Fish Tissue Projects and Susquehanna River Basin Surface Water Assessment Project and Fish Consumption Advisories.

EPA Region III has again awarded grants to several states to implement abandon mine land remediation projects, the results of which should allow the streams to once again sustain viable fish populations.

The Sny Magill watershed, in EPA's Region VII, is one of the top recreational trout streams in Iowa, but excess sediment deposition has impaired uses. The Section 319 Special Project improvements, primarily terraces, are complete, but some USDA BMPs continue to be implemented. Water quality monitoring, started in FY92, is being continued through a 319 grant continuation of $258,674 which will carry the activities through FY99. Annual fisheries data and an annual habitat assessment were conducted along with macro invertebrate collection every two months. Total suspended sediment loads are declining from 1993 levels. Fish species sampled were similar to previous years. A 1994 survey of several trout streams in northeast Iowa reported newly identified natural trout reproduction, including natural brook trout reproduction in North Cedar Creek, a tributary to Sny Magill Creek and site of one of the land treatment programs.

In EPA's Region VII, using 319 funds as seed money, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources established a Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program in 1993. This program has merged and joined with the coordinated efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Conservation Federation into what is now the nationally recognized Missouri Stream Team Program, a thriving statewide group of over 1,000 Stream Teams actively involved in a wide variety of stream activities throughout the year.

In EPA Region III, 200 linear miles (approximately 3300 square miles) of coast were monitored three times in 1997 for the presence of dissolved inorganic nutrients, chlorophyll a, and Dissolved Oxygen. At an ocean disposal site 25 square miles were surveyed for fisheries effect. Region III also evaluated the effect of three artificial reef placements on fisheries resources development.

EPA Region III awarded $37,000 to assess the Potomac River Basin aquatic living resources. The funding will support the collection and analysis of monitoring data from non-tidal rivers and streams on the Potomac basin. The project will also provide an integrated analysis of water/habitat quality and biological data to provide a comprehensive basin-wide characterization of Potomac non-tidal waters.

EPA's Region VII has over the last several years supported monitoring and assessment along Elm Creek, Nebraska. The project area is the longest self sustaining trout stream in the state. It represents 54 percent of the total cold water stream miles in Nebraska classified as "statewide in importance." High summer water temperatures, sedimentation and scouring of vegetation during storm events impairs trout productivity. Monitoring which began in 1992 was scheduled to end in 1996 but additional funds were secured to continue post BMP-monitoring till 1999. Preliminary results infer that while the majority of non-structural BMPs are designed to control runoff from one-in-ten year storm events, even a slightly larger storm event contributes higher flows, which degrades water and habitat quality, making it difficult to detect improvements. The biological indices used to assess aquatic communities are being refined so more definitive conclusions can be drawn from the collected data.

In 1997, a final report for the Urban Resource Assessment and Management Project was issued as one result of the $220,000 State/Tribal Wetlands Protection and Development grant awarded to the Kansas Water Office by EPA Region VII. The report was developed to assist land use planners and decision makers in identifying a variety of methods, techniques and solutions to wetland and riparian management for the rapidly urbanizing portion of Johnson County, Kansas. This study not only conducted a baseline assessment of the fisheries in the Tomahawk and Wolf Creek watersheds but demonstrates an array of practices and principles that are available as management options that can be implemented to protect aquatic habitat and to preserve both the fishery resource and quality of life. EPA Region IX is investing $2.4 million in grants to the Sacramento River Toxic Pollutant Control Program (SRTPCP) and Sacramento River Watershed Program (SRWP). EPA's funding supports a monitoring program developed by a stakeholder group that included all major entities involved in monitoring the Sacramento River Watershed. Special features of the monitoring plan include extensive ambient toxicity monitoring and biological assessment, and intensive monitoring in four tributary watersheds, which is being done in cooperation with local watershed groups. Education workshops on ground water and drinking water were held along with two general stakeholder meetings that were used to promote information exchange between tributary watershed groups.

TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a national goal of "fishable, swimmable" waters. There are still waters in the nation that do not meet this goal, despite the fact that many pollution sources have implemented nationally required levels of pollution control technology. The CWA's Section 303(d) addresses these remaining waters by requiring states to identify these waters and develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for them, with oversight from EPA. A TMDL allocates pollution control responsibilities among pollution sources in a watershed and is the basis for taking the actions needed to restore a waterbody. EPA Region III established TMDL limits phosphorous and oxygen-consuming substances for the Appoqinimink River, Delaware to ensure the DO stays above the daily average 5.5 mg/L criteria. This will ensure the warm water fishery use is met. Region III also established a TMDL for the Blackwater River, WV which limits oxygen consuming substances to ensure the DO stays above the minimum 6.0 mg/L criteria. This will ensure that the trout water use is met. EPA Region IX is conducting TMDLs in 13 Arizona water quality limited segments in which there are fish consumption advisories resulting from mercury. Region IX negotiated TMDL requirements for Pacific Lumber in close coordination with the land deal for acquiring the Headwaters Forest. In addition, Region IX worked with two other large timber companies to encourage them to develop TMDLs while writing habitat conservation plans and/or sustained yield plans under State law. Region IX also developed the watershed plan/TMDL for the Garcia River and worked on the South Fork Trinity TMDL. EPA Region IX provided technical assistance to the State of Hawaii. One of the outcomes was the State completed a comprehensive reassessment of its list of water bodies that are not "fishable or swimmable." This assessment, for the first time, focuses on water quality issues in freshwater streams. The method used to revise the list is unusual and quite an accomplishment because nominations of impaired waters were solicited at the outset from local watershed stakeholders, followed by visits to the nominated watersheds with the people who submitted the nomination. This high level of stakeholder involvement created substantial public support for the process and helped heighten public awareness of water quality problem areas in Hawaii.

Strengthening the TMDL program is critical to the success of the nation's aquatic habitat protection efforts. As part of the Agency's efforts to improve the TMDL program, in EPA convened a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committee on TMDLs, comprised of individuals from a wide range of interests and locales. The committee, which operates under the auspices of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), is charged with providing recommendations to EPA on improving the TMDL program, including identifying water quality limited water bodies, establishing TMDLs for them, and developing appropriate watershed protection programs for these impaired waters. In addition, in August, 1997, EPA issued two new policies for the TMDL program. The first policy calls for States to develop 8-13 year schedules for developing TMDLs for all water quality limited water bodies; the second policy calls for States to implement TMDLs, particularly nonpoint source TMDLs, as revisions to State water quality management plans, coupled with a proposed TMDL, or as part of an equivalent watershed or geographic planning process.

WATER QUALITY STANDARDS
EPA Region I actively participated in a Vermont water quality standards Task Group comprised of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), Department of Agriculture, regional planning commissions, environmental groups, watershed associations and industrial and municipal organizations. EPA advised the Task Group on means for establishing water quality standards that provide for aquatic habitat and biota as a new beneficial use. While unable to regularly attend these meeting, two sport fisheries groups are receiving the minutes and information from this process.

EPA Region I and Headquarters staff continue to advise FERC on the licensing of the Lower Poultney River, Vermont, below the Carver Falls Hydroelectric Project to ensure the project complies with State Water Quality Standards. This is an important spawning area for walleye from Lake Champlain. Vermont designated this reach as a state Outstanding Resource Water below the Carver Falls project due in part to the rich fisheries and aquatic resources present.

EPA's Region IV assisted the efforts of the State of North Carolina in adopting a wetlands classification system and narrative water quality standards for wetlands. Both of these actions will provide additional protection for North Carolina's wetlands areas which are vital to juvenile fish development, and consequently will enhance recreational fisheries in the State.

EPA's Region VIII has identified a number of water quality improvement priorities for Region VIII States water quality standards. State implementation of EPA Region VIII's recommendations will contribute to conservation, enhancement, and restoration of fishery resources. These water quality standards improvement recommendations include: adoption of updated, scientifically defensible numeric criteria for toxic pollutants to be applied to waters with "fishable" uses (including criteria aimed at protecting the fish consuming public); development of antidegradation implementation procedures to maintain and protect high quality waters and ensure existing uses are not impaired; development of mixing zone and dilution policies to appropriately limit the size of mixing zones or limit authorization of such zones where important aquatic habitats (e.g. fish nursery areas) warrant prohibition; and upgrading of "fishery" uses where data indicate a more protective classification is warranted.

EPA Region IX is working with the state of Arizona to encourage the State to include fish consumption as a designated beneficial use of Arizona canals which currently are only designated for agricultural and livestock uses. Designated beneficial uses are the desirable uses that water quality should support. Each designated use has a unique set of water quality requirements or criteria that must be met for the use to be realized. The criteria for waters that are designated for fish consumption are more stringent than waters designated for agriculture.

EPA Region IX has worked with the California State Water Resources Control Board to develop a schedule for the State to adopt their own water quality standards during FY98. Region IX also continued technical assistance to California's permit writers to translate toxics standards into permits. Both of these actions are important for improving recreational fisheries habitat.

Goal 2: Promote Facilities and Access    Not applicable
EPA's mission does not allow it to promote the construction of facilities or access points for recreational fisheries.

Goal 3: Promote public education and support for aquatic resource conservation

A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs:

1. Number of individuals trained in aquatic resource conservation. 10,725 individuals

The EPA Office of Water initiated its Watershed Academy to provide training for watershed managers. Training is based on the experiences of local, state, tribal, and federal entities that have implemented the watershed approach during the past decade. Through EPA's Watershed Academy, EPA trained 800 people in 1997.

EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office trained approximately 200 people during riparian restoration and conservation sessions conducted in FY97.

EPA's Region IV trained approximately 165 people in 2 public workshops in Alabama. The first workshop trained citizens on local wetland resources and threats to them. The workshop also introduced plans for conducting an advance identification (ADID) project in Baldwin County, Alabama and identified public concerns that neeed to be addressed through the ADID process. The second public workshop trained citizens on wetland regulations. The workshop included a field session where participants learned how wetlands are identified and offered credits for real estate professionals.

EPA Region VII's FY97 funding to University of Missouri at Columbia, MO for the Streets to Streams - Water Quality Education for Youth Project will train 40 professionals to be water quality trainers. These professionals will train 400 educators who will reach 8,000 youth. The target audience for Streets to Streams curriculum is students ages 9 - 13. The Streets to Streams project responds to the high priority of protecting surface and ground water, which includes the fishing component of surface water activities.

EPA Region VII's funding of Summer Orientation About Rivers (S.O.A.R.) taught by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute in Aurora, Nebraska provided for a two week day camp for 120 students from grades three through six. The camp trained elementary students in watershed concepts, biodiversity and ecological relationships, with a focus on aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the Platte River ecosystem.

EPA Region VII's was one of the partners funding the University of Iowa's Wild 2000, A Wildcare Project. This provides each child in the Iowa City Community School District with an extended week-long outdoor environmental educational experience sometime during their elementary school years. The pilot program will start with 5 elementary schools, over 250 students with 15 teachers participating. Participants will be 4th, 5th and 6th grade students from a multi cultural background. The week-long program will be formatted after a Wildlife Camp program focusing on various ecosystems.

EPA Region VII funded the Nebraska State 4-H Camp for a Nature Link Family Outdoor Education Weekend. This program is a family-oriented outdoor environmental education program which is designed to link people to nature and the environment and in doing so, helps educate the public to appreciate and conserve natural resources, including aquatic resources. It targeted urban/suburban families (100 persons) to spend a weekend to incorporate hands-on experiential environmental education activities.

EPA trained approximately 400 people on the basic regulatory framework and technical considerations that support the development of wastewater discharge permits required under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Significant attention is focused on the role of NPDES permitting within a watershed management approach, water quality considerations, and implementation of water quality standards to protect aquatic resources. Participants are trained on the tools available to assist them in evaluating discharges and developing water discharge permits.

EPA trained approximately 250 people on methods for assessing whole effluent toxicity (WET), a direct measurement of the effect of effluent discharges on aquatic organisms, and on implementing WET requirements in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. WET is an important tool used to protect the biological integrity of water bodies and ensure that they attain the "fishable and swimmable" goals of the Clean Water Act.

2. Number of events sponsored in aquatic resource conservation. 48 events

In addition to these events are described in number 1, above, and number 3 below, EPA sponsored 10 American Heritage Rivers public meetings in which citizens were provided an educational forum to learn about river revitalization as well as to provide their input and ideas for how a this river revitalization program should be shaped to best meet the public's needs.

EPA's Watershed Academy, which educates individuals about watershed management concepts and techniques held 14 training events.

EPA Region III conducted 12 events at local schools to educate children on the effects of marine pollution and what the schools can do to protect fisheries resources.

3. Funding invested in aquatic environmental education activities. $762,000

EPA invested $650,000 into aquatic habitat educational web sites in FY97. These web sites are one of the premier tools EPA has for educating citizens about condition, trends, and threats to aquatic habitat. The web sites also include a important component to educate citizens about actions they can take to make a difference and improve their local aquatic resources.

EPA's Region VII invested $35,000 in grant monies to support our partners' aquatic resources education activities for both youth, families, and adults. Aquatic education activities funded included Streets to Streams, Summer Orientation about Rivers, Wild 2000, and NatureLink Family Outdoor Education.

EPA invested $5000 in a grant to National Fishing Week Steering Committee for the purpose of developing aquatic resources education material to educate National Fishing Week Coordinators on opportunities to incorporate aquatic resources education events into their planned activities.

EPA invested $5000 into American Fisheries Society's annual conference to educate fisheries scientists on aquatic resources conservation techniques.

EPA invested $7000 into an Urban Rivers Restoration conference, an aquatic resources educational event coordinated by American Rivers.

During FY97, EPA invested $60,000 to release The 1996 Listing of Fish and Wildlife Consumption Advisories data base which provides critical information to anglers, citizens, the states, tribal bodies, and local governments about public health advisories issued to reduce health risks associated with the consumption of chemically contaminated fish and shellfish. The database includes information about all fish and wildlife consumption advisories in the country reported to EPA by the States during 1996. The 1996 database has been expanded to include advisories issued by the 12 Canadian provinces and territories as well as information regarding monitored waters for advisories.

B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:

1. Number of individuals educated on aquatic resources protection through distribution of publications. 380,000 individuals

EPA educated more than 380,000 individuals on aquatic resources protection through the distribution of bulletins, journals, and other mailings. Examples are highlighted below.

EPA in partnership with the National Marine Manufacturers Association educated salt water fishermen on aquatic resources protection by having two public service announcements (PSA) in Salt Water Sportsman, which has 150,000 readers. The first PSA stated: "WaterWatch: Its Your Responsibility: Practice Catch and Release." The second one stated "WaterWatch: Its Your Responsibility Pump Out On Shore."

EPA and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, in partnership, distributed to 150,000 anglers Protecting Fish Habitat: A Guide for Fishermen and Boaters (available with Fishing Licenses).

EPA distributed to 60,000 citizens educational material on river conservation through the American Heritage Rivers initiative.

EPA educated 14,000 individuals on nonpoint source pollution in each of its three issues of Nonpoint Source News-Notes which is an occasional bulletin dealing with the condition of the water-related environment, the control of nonpoint sources of water pollution, and the ecosystem-driven management and restoration of watersheds.

EPA educated 5000 individuals on watershed management through two issues of Watershed Events which updates interested parties on the development and use of watershed protection approaches for protecting and restoring aquatic resources, including recreational fisheries. These approaches consider the primary threats to ecosystem health within the watershed, involve those people most concerned or able to take actions to solve those problems, and then take corrective actions in an integrated and holistic manner.

2. Number of aquatic resources education hotline inquiries answered. 7,000 inquiries answered

EPA's Wetlands Division administers a Wetlands Hotline (800-832-7828) which responds to public inquiries about wetland resources functions and values and about programs for the protection, management, and restoration of wetland resources. In FY97, the Hotline responded to more than 7,000 inquiries.

3. Number of individuals visiting EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds aquatic resources education web sites. 1.1 million visitors

EPA provides aquatic resources training and education to citizens across the nation through the EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds world wide web home page, to which EPA is continually adding more educational materials for adults and children.

C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:

In FY97 EPA made significant improvements to one of the premier aquatic resources education Internet tools, Surf Your Watershed (Surf) (http://www.epa.gov/surf/). EPA's Surf allows users to "click" on a state map to zoom into the watershed where they live or fish and obtain information on environmental quality indicators, environmental protection efforts, and environmental uses and impacts. It also encourages the growth of watershed protection partnerships because users can learn about local groups and organizations actively working to protect their watershed. They can also find out about ongoing efforts both upstream and downstream of their watershed. Additionally, users can also access water quality data for the watershed. In FY97, EPA added over 6000 records of educational information which represent web sites, documents, maps, and services. The importance of Surf as an educational tool is demonstrated by the fact that it has been highlighted on CSPAN, National Public Radio, and as a component of National Performance Review's Reinventing Government web site.

In FY97, EPA released a first of its kind aquatic resources educational tool known as the Index of Watershed Indicators (IWI) (formerly known as National Watershed Assessment Project). This is the first comprehensive assessment of watersheds in the continental U.S. The data, now available to all citizens on the Internet, highlight which watersheds have good water quality, moderate water quality, more serious problems, and insufficient data to fully characterize watershed health. The IWI is one of the most effective ways to solve environmental problems by putting information about pollution into the hands of citizens. Providing the public with information on pollution in their local watersheds is an extremely important step in improving our nation's aquatic resources. By accessing the IWI, the public can retrieve an overall score reflecting the condition and vulnerability of the watershed in which they live as well as more detailed environmental information on individual "indicators" used to assess and score the watersheds, for both condition (quality) and vulnerability to degradation from pollution.

EPA launched another important public education campaign, Adopt Your Watershed, to educate citizens and encourage their stewardship of the nation's aquatic resources. Through this effort, EPA challenges citizens and organizations to join us and others who are working to protect and restore our valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, ground water, and estuaries. In making this challenge, EPA also educates interested citizens on how to start watershed protection efforts. As part of EPA's Adopt campaign , EPA released an Internet database (http://www.epa.gov/adopt/) of 4000 active citizen groups working to protect and restore their watersheds in order to help individuals contact and participate in the efforts of existing watershed groups.

EPA is committed to educating the public on federal resources available to assist citizens in protecting aquatic resources. All too often tracking down information and expertise can be complicated and time consuming. To remediate this situation, EPA, in FY97, launched an Internet Services catalogue (with over 400 records) which coordinates and streamlines information on products and tools available to help citizens protect their local fishing holes and other aquatic resources. Each entry describes the service and provides contacts for further information. Included in this one-stop-shopping catalogue is funding information, outreach tools, planning and management tools, information centers and sources of data and maps.

EPA published in December, 1996, an educational guide to protect natural wetlands from the devastating effects of uncontrolled runoff, Protecting Natural Wetlands, A Guide to Stormwater Best Management Practices. This guidebook provides useful applications of best management practices to specifically target sensitive wetland habitats. The purpose of the document is to describe potential benefits, limitations, and appropriate applications of best management practices that can be implemented to protect the myriad functions of natural wetlands from the impacts of urban Stormwater discharges and other diffuse sources of runoff which ultimately effect the quality of fishery habitats in streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

EPA Region III worked with numerous fisheries clubs and participated in boat shows to educate anglers on the impacts from marine pollution on fisheries populations.

EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office established a very large world wide web site at the end of FY97. This site educates citizens on aquatic resources protection and conservation in the Chesapeake Bay, including information on all of the measurable indicators on progress towards meeting the goal of the program, educational material for children, and information that encourages the public to become involved in aquatic resources protection.

Goal 4: Work collaboratively with State and willing Tribal management partners, industry, anglers, and conservation groups to advance aquatic resource conservation, enhance recreational fishing opportunities, utilize cost- share programs, and assist private landowners with aquatic resource conservation.

A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs:
1. Number of partnership agreements executed to increase recreational fishing opportunities. Not Applicable

EPA's aquatic habitat protection efforts focus on employing a holistic, watershed approach that support a variety of living resources including recreational fisheries.

2. Number of partnership projects completed that support recreational fisheries. Not feasible to measure

3. Funding invested in partnership contributions that support recreational fisheries $1.0267 billion

EPA invested more than $1 billion in grant and loan monies to fund the aquatic resources protection efforts of our in state, local, and tribal government partners who in turn fund citizen efforts to protect and restore aquatic resources which support recreational fisheries populations.

4. Number of conservation easements/agreements with private landowners. Not Applicable

B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs: Not Applicable

C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:

In FY97 EPA demonstrated its commitment to riparian habitat preservation and conservation helping to shape a new federal interagency partnership known as the American Heritage Rivers initiative. EPA and its partners are working to focus the delivery of resources to support community-led efforts to protect natural resources and in particular aquatic habitat while spurring economic revitalization and preserving our historic and cultural heritage. This initiative is important for protecting and restoring recreational fisheries because many of the projects that will arise out of this initiative will be focused on improving aquatic habitat to better support sports fisheries.

As part of EPA's commitment to empowering citizens to improve local aquatic habitat, in FY97 EPA initiated a very successful new partnership known as the River Corridors and Wetlands Restoration Partners comprised of federal agencies, conservation organizations like Trout Unlimited, and local government organizations. The purpose of this partnership is to provide to community based aquatic ecosystem restoration practitioners information on river and wetland restoration projects, proposals, ideas, and contacts, and to help develop a more complete picture of restoration activities nationwide. In addition to launching this partnership effort, EPA established a web site to provide restoration information and contacts to local practitioners; developed a Partner Handbook, and conducted a National River Corridors and Wetlands Restoration Partners' Forum.

EPA actively participated in a very successful new interagency partnership that began in FY97 to prepare for 1998's International Year of the Ocean (YOTO) celebration. The importance of healthy and sustainable fisheries is prominently recognized in these planning efforts, as evidenced by several of the background papers that will be used to inform the discussions of ocean health and sustainability during YOTO and that are targeted to, or include, fisheries-related issues. These issues include recreation and tourism, living ocean resources, and marine environmental quality. In addition, EPA served on the steering committee involved in developing workshops to gain stakeholder input on important ocean-related issues. One of the workshops will be devoted to discussing the importance of protecting and restoring marine fisheries.

EPA, in partnership with the 1996 Federal-State Forum laid the basis for the second Federal-State Action Plan For Fish Consumption Advisories. Partners in the Federal-State Forum include, in addition to EPA, representatives from 45 States, the District of Columbia, four tribal organizations, 10 Federal agencies, and five conservation advisory groups,. The action plan identifies areas where EPA can provide technical assistance to States and Tribes over the next 5 years in three general areas: training and guidance, information management and interagency liaison.

In partnership with the American Fisheries Society and a State/Tribal/Federal steering committee, EPA participated in the planning for the 1997 Federal-State-Tribal Forum on Contaminants in Fish. The 1997 Forum included several special plenary sessions and workshops addressing issues of importance related to contaminants in fish. These included a presentation of the new 1997 Federal Action Plan for Fish Consumption Advisories; a Great Lakes States workshop on advisory protocols; a tribal training workshop on the development of advisories; and plenary sessions on mercury, the effectiveness and awareness of advisories, and comparative dietary risk. The forum, which was held December 8-10, 1997 in Alexandria, Virginia, was attended by representatives from all 50 states, 40 tribes, various federal agencies, and several environmental and industry organizations.

EPA's National Estuary Program (NEP) is one of our premier partnerships with local communities. There are currently 28 estuaries in the program. EPA administers the NEP, but program decisions and activities are carried out by a team or teams of local government officials, private citizens, and representatives from other federal agencies, academic institutions, industry, and estuary user-groups. The program focuses not just on improving water quality in an estuary, but on maintaining the integrity of the whole system -- its chemical, physical, and biological properties, as well as its economic, recreational, and aesthetic values. These estuaries' stakeholders work together to identify problems in, develop specific actions to address those problems, and create a formal management plan to restore and protect the estuary. The following bullets highlight some of the accomplishments EPA and our National Estuary partners have achieved.

  • The Buzzards Bay NEP, supported by EPA Region I, worked with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to determine ways to improve anadromous fish passageways in two priority drainage areas in the Bay watershed. Two species of particular concern, alewives and blueback herring, are important food sources for recreationally-important fish species. Activities conducted in support of the anadromous fisheries included installation of culverts that were re-designed to ease fish passage, and construction and installation of fish ladders at dams.
  • EPA Region I funds the Massachusetts Bay Estuary Program. The efforts of Region I, which is a member of the Interagency Shellfish Bed Restoration Program, helped to achieve the reopening of 200 acres of beds in the Back River. In addition, staff efforts contributed to pollution source identification and shoreline survey efforts to support future bed reopenings within Plymouth and Kingston Bays. A major achievement of the staff was the identification and elimination of a major source of pollution to Salem Sound originating from a sewer/storm water cross- connection that was discharging approximately 100,000 gallons of raw sewage every day.
  • The Delaware NEP, supported by EPA Region II, identified PCBs as one of the contaminants of concern in the estuary due to fish advisories. EPA Regions II and III funded a field and laboratory analysis of potential low level, high volume sources of PCB loadings to the estuary. The first phase of this project was completed in the first quarter of FY97. The results of this study will be used to initiate a clean up effort aimed at further reducing PCB loadings to the estuary.
  • In April, 1997, the Tampa Bay NEP, supported by EPA Region IV, secured approval of their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), which launched the implementation phase of the program. One of the five main goals of the CCMP is to increase and preserve the number and diversity of healthy bay habitats, in part to support healthy, diverse and sustainable fish populations. Specific attention is being given to low-salinity tidal marshes, which are critical to the life cycle of a number of recreationally-important species of fish. A second major goal of the CCMP is to enhance and protect Bay fisheries and wildlife. Activities in support of this goal include determining the need for a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of power plant entrainment on fisheries, and expansion of the Critical Fisheries Monitoring Program, which assesses the abundance and distribution of important fish species in Tampa Bay.
  • The San Francisco Estuary Project (SFEP) , supported by EPA Region IX, continued its efforts to educate the public on aquatic resources protection. The SFEP staff prepared an updated State of the Estuary report for public distribution, continued to produce the quarterly newsletter Estuary, and updated the SFEP home page. Outreach related to other Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) objectives, such as wetlands protection and implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality, was continued through the organization of public workshops related to the Wetlands Ecosystem Goals Project and workshops aimed at the building industry for better erosion control on construction sites. The SFEP CCMP goals and objectives are being integrated with the CALFED Bay/Delta Program.
  • A key focus for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project in EPA Region IX during FY97 was seeking financing for CCMP implementation Comprehensive monitoring (including bacteriology, seafood consumption and wetlands) was completed to provide decision-makers and regulatory agencies with information necessary to update and revise fish consumption advisories, track trends in the condition of natural resources, and assess regional impacts of contaminants on the Bay's beneficial uses.

EPA Region I, in partnership with a variety of stakeholders, drafted a proposal to regulate dioxin discharged from bleach kraft pulp mills in Maine. In spring 1997, Maine passed legislation based on this proposal. After December 21, 2002, the discharge of dioxin to Maine's waters is prohibited. The law requires long-term monitoring of fish. The law also requires that water pollution controls must achieve dioxins and furans concentrations in resident fish that are downstream of effluent dischargers be the same as concentrations in upstream fish. These water pollution controls should have a widespread and profound impact on the quality of recreational fisheries in Maine.

In FY97 EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office, as a partner in the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council, participated in, by signing, five partnership agreements for improving the overall quality of the Bay, including its recreational fisheries. These agreements covered 1) Riparian Forest Buffers, 2) Strategy for Increasing Basin-Wide Public Access to Chesapeake Bay Information, 3) Adoption Statement on Land, Growth, and Stewardship, 4) Adoption Statement on Local Government Participation Action Plan, 5) Adoption Statement on Black Sea Bass Management Plan.

Several Region V biologists are participating in a partnership known as the Chicago Waterways Goby Dispersal Barrier Task Force. The task force is exploring and developing options for blocking the spread of the exotic round goby into the Illinois River, and thus the Mississippi River Basin. The round goby threatens native fish species, thus controlling it is important for the health of sport fisheries. The round goby has moved into the upper portion of the Chicago Waterway, which is in the Illinois River drainage, but has not been found downstream of Chicago. Staff from the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USEPA, several State of Illinois agencies, the Chicago Water Reclamation District, and environmental groups have conducted two sampling studies to determine the abundance and distribution of the gobies. These same personnel and others have met with outside experts on the goby, and purveyers of various potential barrier technologies to determine the appropriate response to this serious threat to native fish species.

EPA Region VII is completing a collaborative Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (R- EMAP) partnership project which measures the statewide health of fisheries in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.. Approximately 300 stream sites were statistically sampled to identify the current fish community structure (biological integrity), and to judge the health of the fisheries with several indicators. The project will produce a final report (in Summer of 1998) on the health of fisheries found in the various ecoregions of Region VII.

EPA's Region VIII has very successfully participated in a partnership with the Colorado Interagency Fishery Managers Forum. Ongoing efforts are resulting in finalizing the Colorado Statewide Fishery Management Policy, increasing communication and cooperation among the range of State and Federal land management agencies influencing fishery resources, and discussing of concerns and provisions for dealing with whirling disease in Colorado hatcheries and waters.

EPA Region VIII worked in partnership with the States of Colorado, Utah and South Dakota and the result was that each State upgraded the designation (classification) of a number of waters to meet the more stringent aquatic life ("fishery") uses. Also as a result of this partnership between EPA Region VIII and the states, Utah and South Dakota are writing antidegradation and mixing zone implementation procedures that will provide an increased level of protection to fishery uses. In addition, Utah and South Dakota have adopted updated numeric criteria for toxics. Montana has adopted, by rule, antidegradation and mixing zone implementation procedures that apply a heightened level of protection to State fisheries.

Following the 1996 issuance of the Corps of Engineers General Permit, in the State of Missouri, for discharges from Gravel Dredging operations into waters of the US, including wetlands, EPA Region VII and Region VIII actively participated in FY97 in an interagency partnership of five State and federal agencies whose mission is to determine actions and studies needed to assess the impact on the fisheries and other aquatic resources due to the gravel dredgers performance with the general permit limitations. While the group is still in the planning phases of discussion, they intend to evaluate the specific conditions of the general permit and perform baseline data collection to make recommendations regarding reissuance of the general permit based on the protection provided to aquatic species, including recreational fisheries and sensitive species, including the Niangua darter.

EPA Region IX continued to lead the interagency North Bay Initiative to restore wetlands and watersheds in North San Francisco Bay. The Region provided funding for the Tolay Creek Project, which will result in restoration of 400 acres of salt marsh and endangered species habitat, and helped obtain the permits for the work begun earlier this year. The Region successfully held North Bay Forum meetings and acted as a clearinghouse for exchange of information, participated on the board of the San Francisco Joint Venture, continued their involvement in the Napa River flood control project, and assisted in the technical development of a workplan to restore 700 acres of Hamilton Army Air Field to wetlands. The Region was successful in establishing a broad-based coalition of interagency, nonprofit, and university representatives to begin addressing the issue of controlling the invasive plant giant reed. Finally, the Region was instrumental in working to integrate North Bay aquatic resource needs with the CalFed Bay- Delta restoration program, by organizing geographically focused technical teams and review panels for CalFed.


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