Watershed News: July 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:
- Gulf of Mexico Restoration Projects - Request for Proposals
- U.S. Court of Appeals - D.C. Circuit Court Upholds EPA's Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act
- New Outreach Materials on Nutrient Pollution
- Watershed Academy Webcast
- Non Point Source News-Notes
- New Clean Water Act Section 319 Success Stories Posted
- July is Lakes Appreciation Month
- Meteorologist Brent Watts talks about the importance of clean water
This Request for Proposals (RFP) is being released through a partnership between the NOAA Restoration Center and Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant College Programs. Successful projects will be for on-the-ground hydrological restoration that fits this definition: “To remove or modify anthropogenic barriers to restore historic tidal estuarine and freshwater exchange to benefit coastal and marine fisheries habitat.” Principal Investigators are strongly encouraged to consult with a Sea Grant and/or NOAA Restoration Center staff member prior to submitting a proposal to be sure the project fits the tidal hydrology definition. A list of Sea Grant and NOAA Restoration Center staff contacts is provided on the last page of the RFP. Restoration sites must be located between Brownsville, Texas, and Key West, Florida. Projects will be viewed favorably if they have the following three elements:
- a strong benefit to marine and estuarine fisheries,
- demonstrated support by others via match and letters of support, and
- community-based participation and support.
Proposed budget cannot exceed a total request of $100,000, and match is required at the level of at least $1 of non-federal match per $1 requested. Full proposals must be received by 4 P.M. Central Time on Friday, August 17, 2012. No extensions. Eligibility: Local governments, county governments, state governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, communities, homeowner associations and universities.
U.S. Court of Appeals - D.C. Circuit Court Upholds EPA's Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act
The U.S. Court of Appeals- D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's Endangerment Finding and greenhouse gas regulations issued under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for passenger vehicles and CAA permitting for stationary sources. In 2007 the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that greenhouse gases are covered by the CAA's definition of air pollutant and that EPA must determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.
EPA was challenged through a group of lawsuits over its actions resulting from the Supreme Court decision to address greenhouse gases, including:
- The 2009 Endangerment Finding, in which EPA determined that greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of Americans
- The Light Duty Vehicle Rule, in which EPA coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop harmonized regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles.
- The Tailoring Rule, in which EPA set greenhouse gas emission thresholds to define when permits under the New Source Review Prevention Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V Operating Permit programs are required for new and existing industrial facilities.
All living organisms need nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to survive and grow. However, excess nutrients in the water can trigger large growths of algae (algal blooms) that severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water, sometimes leading to illness or death of fish and other aquatic life. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can sicken people who contact the polluted water or drink contaminated water. To help raise awareness about this serious environmental problem, EPA has developed new educational materials, including:
- Community Outreach Toolkit — designed to assist watershed groups, NGOs, states, and federal partners with messaging and outreach to the media about nutrient pollution.
- Nutrient Pollution (YouTube) Video — aims to raise awareness about nutrient problem, the first step in addressing and reducing the problem.
- Postcard/Poster — shows a before and after photo of Lake Erie to illustrate the impacts of nutrient pollution.
- Future Farmers of America Curriculum — EPA worked with several other federal agencies on lesson plans for young farmers about source water protection and management practices that can help control runoff to protect surface and groundwater.
You can access these and other materials on EPA’s Nutrient Pollution Microsite and Resource Directory. Click on the banner at the top of the page to access the video and the new education and outreach page. Hit the "share this" button under the postcard to share these resources with colleagues and other partners via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Check back for new materials in the coming months.
Nonpoint Source News-Notes returns after a nearly two year hiatus with the first of a two-part special focus on state approaches to controlling excess nutrients from nonpoint sources. This first special focus issue explores state regulatory approaches for controlling excess nutrients; the next issue will survey state non-regulatory programs and initiatives. Importantly, both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches were envisioned by Congress when it amended the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1987 to address nonpoint sources of pollution through the CWA section 319 program. Under section 319(b)(2), Congress expected states to establish their own nonpoint source management programs.
Join us for a Watershed Academy Webcast on July 10, 2012 from 1:00 -3:00 pm Eastern to learn more about USDA’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). USDA’s NWQI is focusing on 157 priority watersheds in the U.S. in 2012. These 157 watersheds were identified with assistance from state agencies, key partners, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Committees. NRCS will make available at least $33 million in financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners this year in these priority watersheds to implement conservation practices to improve water quality and aquatic habitats in impaired lakes and streams. Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, filter strips and terraces. This webcast will highlight how this Initiative is working and how USDA’s NRCS is working with state water quality agencies and others to implement this Initiative in priority watersheds.
Lowhead dam structures, failing home septic systems, and increased agricultural and urban stormwater runoff had degraded water quality in Ohio's Olentangy River. As a result, in 2002 the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) added a watershed-based unit of the river to the state's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters for failure to meet the water quality standards associated with the unit's designated warm-water habitat (WWH) aquatic life use. Thanks to work completed through the Olentangy River Restoration Project, approximately three miles of the Olentangy River now fully attains the designated WWH aquatic life use. While additional monitoring is required, Ohio EPA expects to remove flow alteration as a cause of impairment in the watershed-based unit of Olentangy River on the state's 2014 list of impaired waters.
Sediment in runoff from agricultural lands impaired Pennsylvania's Pierceville Run and its tributaries, prompting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to add 9.71 miles of watershed streams to the state's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters in 2002. In lower Pierceville Run, project partners stabilized a degraded portion of stream channel and restored riparian forest buffers while restricting livestock from the stream and riparian areas. Water quality improved in the restored section, allowing PADEP to remove a 1.65-mile-long segment of the Pierceville Run from the list of impaired waters in 2012.
Nutrients from agriculture and failing septic systems contributed to violations of the nitrate-nitrogen drinking water use water quality standard in Virginia's Muddy Creek. As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added a 2.17-mile segment of the creek to the state's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters in 1998. Project partners worked with landowners to implement numerous residential and agricultural best management practices (BMPs), which over time brought nitrogen levels in the creek into compliance with the water quality standards. As a result, VA DEQ removed this segment of Muddy Creek from the state's list of impaired waters for nitrate-nitrogen in 2010.
July is Lakes Appreciation Month
We encourage citizens to enjoy their lakes and reservoirs throughout the year but especially in July – as July is Lakes Appreciation Month. The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) sponsors Lakes Appreciation Month each July to draw attention to the value and importance of lakes and reservoirs. Lakes Appreciation Month also overlaps with The Secchi Dip-In . Americans love to spend July, especially the Fourth, on the water, at beaches, and on lakeshores. Boating, fishing, and swimming are favorite recreational uses of American lakes and reservoirs. Lakes and reservoirs also play other vital, and often hidden, roles. They provide drinking water and irrigation water for agricultural fields and are a source of electricity and power generation. They also serve the important function of absorbing rainfall and runoff from land, help to prevent floods, and provide homes for precious wildlife. Be sure to check out EPA's Clearinghouse for Information on Lakeshore Protection and Restoration for helpful information for water quality practitioners and concerned citizens. Also, watch a video, "Reston Lakes: Protecting America's Shorelines," about successful lakeshore protection efforts in Reston, VA .
Broadcast Meteorologist Brent Watts from Roanoke, VA recently shared tips and information about clean water with his television viewers to celebrate National Rivers Month. Brent is one of 180 meteorologists from around the country who receive weekly environmental tips and information from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) as part of their Earth Gauge program . NEEF partners with the American Meteorological Society, EPA and other partners on this exciting initiative to help raise the environmental IQ of the American public.
October 20-25, 2012
Tampa Convention Center-Tampa, Florida
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