Watershed News: January 2012
Watershed News is a publication of EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. It is designed to provide timely information to groups working at the watershed level.
In this month's newsletter
1) EPA Requests Proposals for Urban Waters Small Grants
2) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Seeks Proposals for Phase I Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Small Business Innovation Research Program
3) Virginia Low Impact Design Competition Now Open
4) EPA Extends Comment Period for the Proposed CAFO Rule
5) EPA and Partners Release Climate Change Handbook for Regional Watershed Planning to Assist Water Managers Plan for Climate Change
6) U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Water Program Posts New Web Pages
7) New EPA PCB TMDL Handbook Released
8) EPA Releases Recovery Potential Screening Website to Assist Restoration Planners
9) Federal Geographic Data Committee Launches Geospatial Platform Website
10) Indiana: Bull Run/West Creek Watershed
11) Rural Landscapes, and the Farm Bill
12) International Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling
13) Wisconsin Wetlands Association 17th Annual Conference, Urban Wetlands
14) 2012 Watershed Congress along the Schuylkill River
15) AWWA 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference & Exposition
16) National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) 8th National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
17) New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) 23rd Annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference
18) 30th Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference
19) 2012 Montana Storm Water Conference
20) 8th National Monitoring Conference
21) River Rally 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to award between $1.8 to $3.8 million in funding for projects across the country to help restore urban waters by improving water quality and supporting community revitalization. The funding is part of EPA's Urban Waters program, which supports communities in their efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational and employment opportunities in nearby communities. The goal of the Urban Waters Small Grants program is to fund research, studies, training, and demonstration projects that will advance the restoration of urban waters by improving water quality through activities that also support community revitalization and other local priorities such as public health, social and economic opportunities, general livability and environmental justice for residents. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 23, 2012.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Seeks Proposals for Phase I Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Small Business Innovation Research Program
NOAA seeks proposals from small business firms for participation in Phase I of the Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Phase I is for firms to conduct research and development which will allow the federal government to determine the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of concepts, ideas and quality of performance as a prerequisite for further government support which may follow in Phase II of the program. Any organization or individuals receiving awards under Phase I may be eligible to compete for a Phase II award. The topics available for Phase I include: climate adaption and mitigation, weather-ready nation, healthy oceans, resilient coastal communities and economies. NOAA anticipates making multiple Phase I awards, each with a period of performance of six months not to exceed $95,000. Applications are due February 1, 2012.
Potomac Conservancy, the Friends of the Rappahannock, and The James River Association announced a competition to challenge teams of development professionals to demonstrate cost-effective approaches to replicating pre-development hydrology on several development sites across the state. First-place awards of $15,000 will be given for each of three design areas are open for competition: suburban, mixed-use development; urban redevelopment; and green roadways. Design submission period closes on February 17, 2012.
On October 21, 2011, EPA published a proposed rule that would require concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to submit basic operational information to the Agency. EPA received requests from the public for additional time to submit comments, and is extending the public comment period to January 19, 2012. EPA proposed the rule in order to more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.
EPA and Partners Release Climate Change Handbook for Regional Watershed Planning to Assist Water Managers Plan for Climate Change
Developed cooperatively by the U.S.EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Department of Water Resources, and the Resources Legacy Fund, the "Climate Change Handbook for Regional Watershed Planning" provides a framework for considering climate change in water management planning. Key decision considerations, resources, tools, and decision options are presented that will guide resource managers and planners as they develop means of adapting their programs to a changing climate. The handbook uses the California Department of Water Resources' Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning framework as a model into which analysis of climate change impacts and planning for adaptation and mitigation can be integrated. In addition, the handbook provides a checklist for identifying and prioritizing the vulnerability of local watersheds. The checklist includes questions about water demand and supply, wildlife and habitat, sea level rise, critical infrastructure, and hydropower.
The U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Water Program has posted online revised web pages for the Cooperative Water Program. Learn about and directly access water data on streams, groundwater and water quality, as well as selected products released in 2011 on water availability, ecosystem health, water quality and drinking water, water hazards, energy, and climate.
New EPA PCB TMDL Handbook Released (PDF) (33 pp, 262K, About PDF)
EPA has issued a technical document titled Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Handbook, which provides EPA regions, states, and other stakeholders with updated information for addressing Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) waters impaired by PCBs. PCBs rank sixth among the national causes of water quality impairment in the country, and of the 71,000 waterbody-pollutant combinations listed nationally, over 5,000 (eight percent) are PCB-related. This handbook identifies various approaches to developing PCB TMDLs and provides examples of TMDLs from around the country, complete with online references. It aims to help states complete more PCB TMDLs and ultimately restore those waters impaired by PCBs.
EPA announced the release of a new technical assistance tool for surface water quality protection and restoration programs: the Recovery Potential Screening website. Recovery Potential Screening is a user-driven, flexible approach for comparing relative differences in restorability among impaired waters. The website provides step-by-step screening directions, time-saving tools for calculating indices and displaying results, summaries of over 120 ecological, stressor and social indicators, a recovery literature database, and several case studies.
Practical applications include: assisting watershed-level programs that need to focus on priority places due to limited resources; developing a 303(d) impaired waters list prioritized schedule; prioritizing implementation among many TMDLs; planning statewide nonpoint source control projects and restoration initiatives; helping develop strategies to meet performance tracking measures; identifying opportunities for synergy between healthy watersheds protection and impaired watersheds restoration; and revealing underlying factors that influence restoration success to improve programs. EPA developed this technical method and website to assist states and others in complex planning and prioritizing activities, provide a systematic and transparent comparison approach, and help improve program results. For additional information, please contact Doug Norton .
Watershed Tool of the Month
Federal agencies and their partners collect and manage large amounts of geospatial data - but this data is often not easily found when needed or accessible in useful forms. The Geospatial Platform provides ready access to federally maintained geospatial data, services and applications, as well as access to data from our partners across state, tribal, regional and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations. The website makes it possible for users to create customized maps, or to integrate their own data into the maps, and share the maps through web browsers and mobile applications. The Geospatial Platform was developed by an interagency committee composed of representatives from the Executive Office of the President, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Planning, Educating Landowners & Installing Management Practices Restore Watershed
Nonpoint source pollution from agricultural and urban areas caused waters in the Bull Run/West Creek watershed to fail to support a healthy biotic community. As a result of this impairment, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) added Bull Run (in 2002) and West Creek (in 2008) to Indiana's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Using CWA section 319 funds, project partners educated stakeholders about sound agricultural management and implemented best management practices (BMPs) throughout the watershed to control erosion and address urban and agricultural runoff. Recent monitoring data show that the Bull Run segment meets water quality criteria for healthy biotic communities. Therefore, IDEM will propose to remove both segments from the state's 2012 CWA section 303(d) list of impaired waters.
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
Webinar Jan 18, 2012
Feb 22-23, 2012. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Feb 22-23, 2012. Lake Geneva, WI
March 3, 2012
March 18-21, 2012 in Portland, OR
April 30 to May 4, 2012 in Portland, OR
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) 23rd Annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference
May 15 & 16, 2012. Portsmouth, NH
April 4-7, 2012. Davis, CA
April 10-12, 2012. Kalispell, MT
April 30-May 4, 2012. Portland, OR
A joint event of River Network & Waterkeeper Alliance
May 4-7, 2012. Portland, OR
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