Watershed News: February 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) Virginia Low Impact Design Competition Now Open
2) Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Pilot Program
3) 2010-2011 Climate Change and Water Progress Report Available Online
4) White House National Ocean Council Announces Draft Plan to Improve Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and Great Lakes
5) Office of Water Twitter Name Change
6) Water is Focus of Rachel Carson Intergenerational Contest
7) New Tool Provides Access to Water Pollution Data
8) Climate Ready Estuaries 2011 Progress Report Released
9) Photo Request: Images Depicting Nutrient Pollution
10) New Data Added to EPA's Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Data Access Tool
11) Carolina Clear reduces polluted runoff through mass media campaign and by working with homeowners
12) AWWA 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference & Exposition
13) National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) 8th National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
14) New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) 23rd Annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference
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.
In support of the U. S. Department of Education, EPA Region 3 would like to invite interested schools to apply for the Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Pilot Program. State education agencies are collaborating with health, natural resources, energy, and environment agencies, as well as with national and local non-governmental organizations to bring more resources to support schools in this effort. We are asking you to share this notice with your state and local contacts, your area schools, neighbors, family, and friends.
All schools are encouraged to participate in the Green Ribbon Schools application process. The application requires consolidating data around three pillars: 1) environmental impact and energy efficiency; 2) healthy environment; and 3) environmental literacy. The information will help applicants create a green baseline and set goals for future improvements. It will allow schools to develop a green story for students, teachers, and community. Applications are submitted through individual State Departments of Education and are due by February 23, 2012.
EPA has released the "U.S. EPA National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change 2010 - 2011 National and Regional Highlights of Progress." This is the third and final progress report covering the 2008 version of EPA's climate change strategy. Future annual progress reports will reflect activities related to the 2012 version that is under development. The progress report highlights the accomplishments of EPA's water programs during 2010 and 2011, and touches upon EPA activities and efforts undertaken across headquarters, regions, and the large aquatic ecosystem programs to address climate change impacts on our water programs.
White House National Ocean Council Announces Draft Plan to Improve Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and Great Lakes
On January 12, 2012, the White House's National Ocean Council released for public comment the draft "National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan," detailing more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. The draft plan focuses on promoting efficiency and collaboration across government, managing resources with an integrated approach, making available and using the best science and information, and supporting regional efforts and public-private partnerships. EPA is one of 27 Federal members of the National Ocean Council. The draft Plan will be available for public comment through February 27, 2012.
On January 25, 2012, the Office of Water changed its Twitter name to @EPAwater. Be sure to follow @EPAwater on Twitter for the latest water news, activities, opportunities and resources. Share your thoughts and experiences as we explore the many ways that water is worth it.
EPA invites the public to submit creative projects to the 6th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational "Sense of Wonder" contest. There are four categories: photography, essay, poetry and dance. This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the contest will focus on a "Sense of Water." Contest submissions are encouraged to focus on the various properties of water – how it sounds, feels, tastes and looks – and what water means to the entrants. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2012, and winners will be announced in September 2012. A panel of judges will select finalists in each category, and the winners will be determined by a public online vote that will begin in August 2012.
EPA announced the release of a new tool that provides the public with important information about pollutants that are released into local waterways. The discharge monitoring report pollutant loading tool brings together millions of records and allows for easy searching and mapping of water pollution by local area, watershed, company, industry sector and pollutant. The public can use this new tool to protect their health and the health of their communities.
Searches using the pollutant loading tool result in "top 10" lists to help users easily identify facilities and industries that are discharging the most pollution and impacted waterbodies. When discharges are above permitted levels, users can view the violations and link to details about enforcement actions that EPA and states have taken to address these violations.
EPA is announcing publication of the "Climate Ready Estuaries 2011 Progress Report." Climate Ready Estuaries is an EPA program intended to help the national estuary programs and coastal managers plan for climate change. Climate Ready Estuaries works with national estuary programs to: (1) assess climate change vulnerabilities, (2) develop and implement adaptation strategies, and (3) engage and educate stakeholders. Climate Ready Estuaries uses National Estuary Program examples to help other coastal managers, and provides technical guidance and assistance about climate change adaptation in support of Clean Water Act goals.
The "Climate Ready Estuaries 2011 Progress Report" describes program accomplishments and the new National Estuary Program projects that were launched during 2011. In addition, this progress report uses examples from Climate Ready Estuaries projects that started in 2008–2010 to show how the risk management paradigm can be used for climate change adaptation.
EPA's Office of Water is looking for photos showing of impacts of nutrient pollution. For example, we're interested in obtaining images showing algal blooms or fish kills that have impacted recreation, tourism and or public health. Ideally, the pictures should be medium to high quality (300 dpi or better). Please contact Patricia Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have images you're willing to share. We'd like to obtain permission to use the images for outreach and education efforts to raise public awareness about this important environmental issue. Please note that the Agency cannot accept pictures that have been digitally altered. In responding, please be sure to include a description of the photo(s), date taken, your full name, email, phone number, and your group name or affiliation. We will follow up with a release form for you to sign. By submitting photos, you give the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permission to use them for non-profit governmental purposes, including but not limited to environmental education and awareness.
Watershed Tool of the Month
EPA has added updated U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) data to the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution data access tool, a tool intended to help states develop effective nitrogen and phosphorus source reduction strategies. SPARROW is a GIS-based watershed model that integrates statistical and mechanistic modeling approaches to simulate long-term mean annual stream nutrient loads as a function of a wide range of known sources and factors affecting nutrient fate and transport.
USGS recently completed syntheses of the results from 12 independently-calibrated regional-scale SPARROW models that describe water quality conditions throughout major river basins of the conterminous U.S. based on nitrogen and phosphorus sources from 2002. Two data layers of EPA's data access tool – one for nitrogen and one for phosphorus – now provide an approximate yet regionally consistent synthesis of the locations of the largest contributing sources.
The SPARROW geospatial layers can be used to prioritize watersheds for targeting nutrient reduction activities (such as stream monitoring) to the areas that account for a substantial portion of nutrient loads, and to develop state nitrogen and phosphorus pollution reduction strategies. This information is relevant to the protection of downstream coastal waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico, and to local receiving streams and reservoirs.
Carolina Clear, a public service program of Clemson University, strives to meet the needs of South Carolinians through the development of comprehensive education programs that result in and improved awareness of stormwater-related issues and changes in daily behaviors that may impact water quality. Carolina Clear works hand-in-hand with environmental educators, higher education institutions, municipalities, counties, stormwater managers, and local non-profits as well as utilizing resources available through Clemson University and the Cooperative Extension Service. Through this partnership with MS4 communities, Carolina Clear seeks to fulfill our extension mission while providing outreach opportunities that would meet compliance standards of the NPDES General Stormwater Permit. Watershed education activities typically include the following: information distribution to homeowners on reducing runoff and pollution, technical training for erosion prevention and sediment control, youth-based environmental education (including 4-H2O), and stormwater awareness bulletins and mass media campaigns.
Major highlights of 2011 included the following:
- Production of Rainwater Harvesting for Homeowners manual, which introduces the reader to stormwater and the benefits and considerations of harvesting rainwater. Three designs are included in the 28-page manual, which lead the reader through step-by-step and photographed instructions to retrofit a 55-gallon barrel (or similar size) and ideas on how to utilize the collected runoff, as well as many other topics.
- Carolina Clear's second mass media campaign was released this past fall. The commercial, featuring SC faces and SC places, includes positive messages of actions people can take upstream to support the use of clean water by those recreating or making a living downstream. The commercial aired for four weeks on cable networks in target regions and is currently being played on public access channels. It has won two international and one national award. The "We all live downstream" spot is also paired with billboards, 15 of which have been placed in target regions across the state.
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
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
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