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Water: Watersheds

Watershed News: January 2011

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) USDA Seeks New Project Proposals to Improve Water Quality in Mississippi River Basin USDA Expands Initiative to Include South Dakota; Proposals due January 28, 2011
2) U.S. EPA Sustainable Chesapeake: A Collaborative Approach to Urban Stormwater Management
3) The Green Prize in Public Education
4) 2011 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowships in Marine Resource Economics
5) Residential Homebuilder Settles Clean Water Act Violations in 21 States
6) EPA Completes Research to Inform Development of New Recreational Water Quality Criteria
7) Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information as a Watershed Restoration Resource
8) Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox
9) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lakes
10) The Appalachian Coal Country Team and Western Hardrock Watershed Team
11) Using WinSLAMM to Meet TMDL, LID, and MS4 Stormwater Requirements
12) 2011 Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference
13) National Green Infrastructure Conference 2011
14) International Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling

Funding/Technical Assistance

USDA Seeks New Project Proposals to Improve Water Quality in Mississippi River Basin USDA Expands Initiative to Include South Dakota; Proposals due January 28, 2011

As part of its Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing up to $40 million in financial assistance for new partnership projects in 43 priority watersheds in 13 states. USDA will use a competitive process to distribute the available funding through existing conservation programs such as the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers this initiative, first announced in 2009. At that time the following 12 states participated—Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. This fiscal year USDA is adding South Dakota to the list of participating states in response to a recent comprehensive cropland study assessing conservation effects in the Upper Mississippi Basin, which includes South Dakota and several states listed above. The USDA study showed that much progress has been made in reducing excessive sediment losses on cropland acres in eight states; however additional treatment is needed on cropland acres in all the states.

Through approved projects, eligible farmers and landowners will voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; restore wetlands; and maintain agricultural productivity. Key conservation practices include nutrient management, conservation crop rotations and residue and tillage management. Farmers and landowners can also restore wetlands and plant trees along streams to filter nutrients out of water draining off the farm. On a voluntary basis, participants can use financial assistance to install edge-of-field monitoring systems in specific locations within the selected watersheds. This monitoring will allow NRCS to assess environmental outcomes of the project.  USDA published its Request for Proposals (RFP) in the Federal Register recently, and project proposals are due on or before Jan. 28, 2011. The RFP explains the procedures for potential partners to sign agreements with USDA for projects that support the initiative's objectives. Federally recognized Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, farmer cooperatives, producer associations, institutions of higher education and other nongovernmental organizations can download the RFP. The RFP contains a list of the eligible watersheds as well as information about where project proposals should be submitted.

USDA also is seeking applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG), with priority given to new projects in the Mississippi River Basin. Pre-proposal applications must be submitted by close of business Dec. 28, 2010. The CIG program funds the best new ideas for achieving environmental goals on agricultural lands.

In addition to the new projects, USDA also announced funding for existing projects in this initiative on Nov. 29, 2010. Forty-three million in financial assistance from conservation programs will be used to support more than 70 existing projects in the 12 states.
  For more information about the Initiative, including the RFP and the eligible watersheds, as well as the CIG requirements, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi/mrbi_overview.html.

U.S. EPA Sustainable Chesapeake: A Collaborative Approach to Urban Stormwater Management

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking proposals for integrated, transdisciplinary research centers that will advance scientific understanding of how to influence human and institutional behavior to prevent pollution from entering Chesapeake Bay.  Presidential Executive Order 13508 (Executive Order, 2010) directs the Federal government to lead efforts to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.  To that end, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for "Sustainable Chesapeake" Research Centers to explore sustainable urban stormwater management.  EPA is specifically interested in supporting research to identify new, collaborative approaches to reduce urban stormwater inputs into Chesapeake Bay.  Each Center research project should include three components: physical/biological science, social science, and measures of success or progress.  Research areas of interest include: applying existing stormwater-reduction techniques in new ways; developing new techniques and technologies; identifying the reasons existing strategies to restore or protect the Chesapeake Bay have succeeded or failed; developing methods and metrics to document water-quality improvements in Chesapeake Bay tributaries; and developing sector-specific strategies such as for residential areas, industrial settings, commercial developments, or transportation infrastructure. The closing date for applications is January 31, 2011.

The Green Prize in Public Education Exit EPA Disclaimer

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), with major support from the NEA Foundation and in partnership with EarthEcho International, will recognize and celebrate an outstanding K-12 public school that has successfully taken on the challenge of becoming a green school through the Green Prize in Public Education Exit EPA Disclaimer. NEEF will award $10,000 to a K-12 public school that has most successfully implemented an innovative, sustainable and replicable school-wide greening effort that has involved and benefitted its students. Two merit awards of $5,000 each will also be given to schools that demonstrate this kind of success. Applications are being accepted through February 15, 2011.

2011 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowships in Marine Resource Economics

The Graduate Fellowship Program generally awards two new PhD fellowships each year to students who are interested in careers related to the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources. Fellows will work on thesis problems of public interest and relevance to NMFS under the guidance of NMFS mentors at participating NMFS Science Centers or Laboratories. The NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowships in Marine Resource Economics meets NOAA's Mission goal of Protect, Restore and Manage the Use of Coastal and Ocean Resources Through Ecosystem-Based Management. The closing date for applications is February 18, 2011.


Residential Homebuilder Settles Clean Water Act Violations in 21 States

Beazer Homes USA, Inc., a national residential homebuilder, has agreed to pay a $925,000 civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at its construction sites in 21 states, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced. As part of the settlement, Beazer will also implement a company-wide stormwater program to improve compliance with stormwater runoff requirements at current and future construction sites around the country.

"Contaminated stormwater puts children and families at risk as it may carry pollutants, including sediment, debris, and pesticides that contribute to water quality problems. These pollutants affect our nation's rivers, lakes and sources of drinking water," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance and Assurance. "Today's settlement will help protect public health and the environment by requiring Beazer to meet the requirements of our nation's environmental laws and improve its oversight of its construction facilities."

EPA Completes Research to Inform Development of New Recreational Water Quality Criteria

EPA has completed studies that serve as a scientific foundation for developing new or revised water quality criteria for recreational waters, such as lakes, rivers and oceans, by October 2012. EPA's research studies were focused on predictive modeling, method development and validation, and epidemiological studies. The new or revised criteria will replace the current criteria recommendations EPA issued in 1986 and are to be used by states, tribes and territories in their adoption of new water quality standards. These standards are to protect people who engage in recreational water activities from potential illness associated with fecal contamination in the water. Some of the studies have also been published in professional journals and others are in the process of being submitted for publication. For more information contact Lisa Christ at christ.lisa@epa.gov.

Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information as a Watershed Restoration Resource Exit EPA Disclaimer

The Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information (CDRI) is an online repository for documents about proposed and completed dam removal projects across the country. Dam removal is an increasingly common tool to restore rivers and eliminate safety concerns. However, dam removal information is hard to find. The goal of CDRI is to collect documents from government agencies, consulting firms, universities, and non-profit organizations so that those making decisions about dam removal can access all the information in one place. CDRI is an efficient way to find out about lessons learned from previous dam removal projects, such as the Marmot Dam on the Sandy River, as well as dam removals in progress, such as the Glines Canyon and Elwha Dams on the Elwha River. CDRI also provides news and information about upcoming conferences and workshops related to dam removal. CDRI strives to become the most comprehensive source of dam removal information, and encourages watershed groups, government agencies, academics and consultants to submit any documentation they have related to dam removal. For more information, visit CDRI online or email cdri@library.berkeley.edu.

Watershed Tool of the Month

Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox

NPS Outreach ToolboxThe Nonpoint Source (NPS) Outreach Toolbox is intended for use by state and local agencies and other organizations interested in educating the public on nonpoint source pollution or stormwater runoff. The Toolbox contains a variety of resources to help develop an effective and targeted outreach campaign. Features of the NPS Outreach Toolbox include EPA's Getting in Step Outreach Series, a searchable catalog of outreach materials on the state and local level, and surveys and evaluations of effective outreach campaigns.


Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lakes  

Photo of an algal bloom on water.Join us for a webcast titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lakes."  This webcast will highlight an emerging issue of nutrient enrichment leading to harmful algal blooms lakes.  The webcast will explain the connection between nutrients and harmful algal blooms such as blue green algal blooms.  These algal blooms are causing loss of recreational uses including fishing, swimming and in some cases are resulting in increasing costs for drinking water treatment.  The webcast will provide an overview of the issue and will present case studies on Grand Lake St. Mary's in Ohio and Lake Waco in Texas.  This Webcast is a first in a series of Watershed Academy Webcasts on the important issue of nutrients and their impact on water resources.

Webcast presentations are posted in advance at www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts and participants are encouraged to download them prior to the webcast.

Watershed Spotlight: Local Leaders

The Appalachian Coal Country Team and Western Hardrock Watershed Team Exit EPA Disclaimer

The Appalachian Coal Country Team and Western Hardrock Watershed Team, or the OSM/VISTA Teams, assist rural communities impoverished by environmental degradation and its consequences to make their home-place watersheds healthier places to live and work. The Teams are an innovative partnership among the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), AmeriCorps VISTA, and community-led nonprofit groups.

Photo of student volunteers inventorying macroinvertebrates.

OSM/VISTA Barry Gibbs helps the Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association in Mullens, WV train student volunteers to monitor water quality by inventorying macroinvertebrates.

The EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds awarded funding to the OSM/VISTA Teams to support the Volunteers for Rural Watersheds Research Project. Through this project the OSM/VISTA Teams are conducting research on volunteerism methods to look at motivations, concerns, demographics and behaviors of rural watershed volunteers while simultaneously evaluating 25 volunteer management approaches. The OSM/VISTA Teams seek to develop tools and resources to make volunteerism work better for rural watershed/community groups. The Teams train and coordinate OSM/VISTA Volunteers, summer Interns, and their supervisors to promote economic development and environmental change at the watershed level in Appalachia and the West. OSM/VISTAs are college-educated volunteers who serve full-time as “capacity builders,” combining the science needed to clean up local environments with the community revitalization needed to leverage sustainable environmental and economic progress in the future. Funding for some of these positions comes from EPA 319 grants and other sources.  For more information see www.accwt.org and www.hardrockteam.org.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Using WinSLAMM to Meet TMDL, LID, and MS4 Stormwater Requirements (PDF) (4 pp, 354K, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer

January 20-21, Baltimore, MD. The Center for Watershed Protection has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to present an outstanding short-course focused on meeting TMDL, LID and MS4 stormwater requirements. We invite you to join with other stormwater professionals by attending this course.

This course features hands-on training on Source Loading and Management Model (WinSLAMM) to measure the attainment of urban stormwater management goals:

  • Meet TMDL requirements
  • Reduce pollution load
  • Control runoff volume
  • Achieve LID/sustainability/green compliance

The instructors for this two-day course include experienced persons from CWP and EPA, as well as professionals who are responsible for the creation and refinement of the WinSLAMM model itself. A significant revision (version 10) will be demonstrated at this course.

2011 Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference Exit EPA Disclaimer

January 31- February 1, 2011,  Washington, D.C. The conference provides opportunities for water scientists, engineers, educators, and managers to share knowledge and ideas, to identify and update emerging issues, and to network with leading researchers, educators, and innovators from academia, government, and the private sector. The conference is hosted by a team of educators from Land Grant and Sea Grant Institutions around the nation in cooperation with national program leaders from USDA and NOAA.

National Green Infrastructure Conference 2011     Exit EPA Disclaimer

February 23-25, Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The Inaugural 2011 National Green Infrastructure Conference is a gathering of policy-makers, practitioners, and on-the-ground implementers of green infrastructure practices and design from around the country. This is the first official conference of the National Green Infrastructure Community of Practice. Hear nationally recognized speakers from across the country discuss key elements for success and vital lessons-learned in implementing green infrastructure strategies on-the-ground. Explore techniques for planning and design of green infrastructure networks at multiple scales. The Honorable Karl Dean, Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, will discuss connecting community economic development to green infrastructure planning with the unveiling of the Nashville Open Space Plan. Plus, participate in the development of a national strategy for Green Infrastructure!

International Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling Exit EPA Disclaimer

February 24-25, Toronto, Ontario. The annual International Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling is a forum for professionals from across North America and overseas to exchange ideas and experience on current practices and emerging technologies. This forum is for engineers, scientists, modelers and administrators involved in water pollution control and water systems design and analysis.  The conference is sponsored by the ASCE Urban Water Resources Research Council, the American Water Resources Association, the US EPA, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, and Conservation Ontario. The proceedings are published as hard-bound monographs - peer reviewed and closely edited for consistency and clarity with a comprehensive index.  Detailed papers make them a valuable resource.  The 2010 proceedings, Cognitive Modeling of Urban Water Systems - Monograph 19, will be distributed at the conference and is included in the registration fee.

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