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Water: Watersheds

Watershed News: March 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) Region 2 Wetland Program Development Grants
2) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2011 Request for Applications
3) EPA's Office of Water Welcomes Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner
4) EPA Awards $600,000 Targeted Watershed Grant to River Network
5) Water Quality Standards Academy: Basic Course May 2 - 6, 2011
6) Watershed Academy Web
7) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water
8) Two-Stage Ditches Reduce Downstream Nutrient Transport
9) FLOW 2011: Instream Flow Valuation in Public Decision-Making
10) Delaware River Basin Forum
11) Strategic Conservation Planning Using the Green Infrastructure Approach

Funding/Technical Assistance

Region 2 Wetland Program Development Grants

Wetland Program Development Grants provide recipients an opportunity to carry out projects to develop and refine comprehensive wetland programs.  States, Tribes, local government agencies, interstate agencies, intertribal consortia and universities that are agencies of State government are eligible to apply under this announcement. Projects must occur within the states of EPA Region 2 specifically the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, New Jersey, New York and the US Virgin Islands. All proposals submitted under this RFP must be for projects that build or refine state/tribal/local government wetland programs in reference to EPA's Core Elements of an Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Program Framework. EPA anticipates approximately $896,000 in federal funding to be available for assistance agreements under this announcement.  Awards will likely range from $150,000 to $500,000 in federal funding in approximately 3 to 5 awards.  Non-federal matching funds of at least 25% of the total project cost (total federal share and match) of the project are required in accordance with 40 CFR 31.24, 35.385, and 35.615. The closing date for proposals is March 28, 2011.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2011 Request for Applications

Great Lakes Restoration Logo
EPA is soliciting applications for grants and cooperative agreements to be awarded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Up to $40 million may be awarded under this Request for Applications for about 150 projects, contingent on the availability of appropriations, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations. This RFA is EPA's major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for FY2011 and is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI. The RFA requests applications for projects in the categories listed below: Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern, Invasive Species, Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution, Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication, and Partnerships. Applications must be submitted to EPA by noon Central time on  April 11, 2011.


EPA's Office of Water Welcomes Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner

Nancy Stoner, who has been serving as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since February 2010, began her new position this week as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. Ms. Stoner's extensive career in environmental policy and law began in 1987 as a trial attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Following her time at the Department of Justice, she served as Director of the Office of Policy Analysis in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the EPA where she contributed to the development of EPA's environmental auditing and self-disclosure policies.

Most recently Ms. Stoner served as the Co-Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Water Program. As the Director, she was responsible for supporting the development of sound environmental policies and practices to protect water resources under the Clean Water Act. Ms. Stoner is a 1986 graduate of Yale Law School and a 1982 graduate of the University of Virginia.

EPA Awards $600,000 Targeted Watershed Grant to River Network Exit EPA Disclaimer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $600,000 to River Network to engage communities and increase citizen connection, understanding, and stewardship of urban waterways. This award was made through the Targeted Watershed Grants Program and is an Urban Waters Capacity Building Grant. Under the grant, River Network Exit EPA Disclaimer will form a partnership with Groundwork USA Exit EPA Disclaimer to establish and manage a competitive urban watershed subaward program.

River Network will select five to seven subawardees competitively to receive funding (ranging from $30,000 to $70,000) and up to 400 hours of technical assistance for projects designed to strengthen their organization. As part of the grant, River Network will also provide a wider peer-learning network for other organizations working on urban water issues.  The goal is to support a new urban waters movement by building highly capable organizations that are self-sustaining and can carry out programs to protect human health and the environment. These capacity-building subgrants will provide local organizations, tribal and local governments with skills and techniques to protect their urban waterways and promote more vibrant, economically sustainable communities. All subawardees will attend the National River Rally in North Charleston, South Carolina on June 3-6, 2011. Exit EPA Disclaimer

Water Quality Standards Academy: Basic Course May 2 - 6, 2011 Exit EPA Disclaimer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the Water Quality Standards Academy: Basic Course, an introductory course designed for those with fewer than one year experience with water quality standards and criteria programs. Others may benefit from the course, including veterans of the water quality standards program who want a refresher course. The five-day course is aimed at states, territories, tribes, environmental groups, industrial groups, municipalities, the academic community, federal agencies, watershed groups, and other interested parties.

The course is offered approximately twice a year. This is a comprehensive and highly structured course that introduces participants to all aspects of the water quality standards program, including the interpretation and application of the water quality standards regulation: water body designated uses, the development of water quality criteria (including human health, aquatic life, nutrient and biological), antidegradation policies, implementation, State/Tribal standards adoption and EPA review.

Watershed Tool of the Month

Watershed Academy Web

EPA's Watershed Academy's Distance Learning Program is called Watershed Academy Web. The Web site offers a variety of self-paced training modules that represent a basic and broad introduction to the watershed management field. The modules are organized by six themes: watershed ecology, watershed change, analysis and planning, management practices, and community/social/water law. Modules vary in the time they take to complete, from ½ hour to 2 hours. By completing fifteen of the modules individuals qualify for the Watershed Academy Certificate Program.


Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water

March 29th, 2011 1:00-3:00pm EST
Registration will be open soon at Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars

EPA's Watershed Academy is pleased to sponsor its 57th free webcast seminar, "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water."  According to EPA's most recent data, public water systems using ground water as a drinking source serve over 300 million people nationwide. The total number of people drinking ground water increases when factoring in households supplied by private drinking water wells.  Ground water can become contaminated by nutrients(nitrogen and phosphorous) leaching from the land surface into the ground water supply.  The webcast will provide a national overview of the nitrate in ground water issue and highlight a case study in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley. This webcast is a second in a series of Watershed Academy Webcasts on the impacts of nutrients on water resources.  The presentation will be posted in advance at Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars. Participants are encouraged to download the presentation prior to the webcast. Find out more about nitrates in drinking water.

Watershed Spotlight

Two-Stage Ditches Reduce Downstream Nutrient Transport Exit EPA Disclaimer

diagram of the two-stage ditch design
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Indiana has spearheaded two-stage ditch design, promotion, and studies, and installed several across the state. The two-stage ditch is a practice in which floodplain benches are constructed and then planted with grasses on either side of an existing flow channel in a ditch. During high-flow events, water moves across the benches, spreading out over a larger area, which reduces the flow velocity of the water, allowing sediments to settle out and nutrients and other pollutants to be partially taken up by the planted grasses. That practice serves to create a more natural and stable stream environment within existing drainage ditches.

The two-stage ditch not only removes sediments and other pollutants, but allows for adequate drainage from surrounding agricultural fields. Because the floodplain benches spread the water out and slow water velocity, streambank erosion is substantially reduced compared to traditionally managed and designed ditch systems. The two-stage ditch reduces the amount of time and funding that many counties spend maintaining the ditches. It is expected that this innovative ditch design will require little or no traditional maintenance for 30+ years.

The two-stage ditch practice was adopted into the Field Office Technical Guide by the USDA's NRCS in Indiana, enabling it to be used in cost-share programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). In addition, CWA section 319 funding from EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management helped to fund implementation.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

FLOW 2011: Instream Flow Valuation in Public Decision-Making Exit EPA Disclaimer

May 2-4, 2011, in Nashville Tennessee. The Instream Flow Council and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency invite you to participate in FLOW 2011: Instream Flow Valuation in Public Decision-Making. Similar to FLOW 2008 in San Antonio, this conference seeks to further advance the integration of state-of-the-art science, policy, and public dialogue regarding water management related to aquatic resources. The specific goal of the 2011 conference is to build participants' abilities to effectively participate in public decision-making to generate outcomes favorable to aquatic resources.

Delaware River Basin Forum     Exit EPA Disclaimer

March 10, 2011. The Delaware River Basin Forum is a basin-wide event on March 10, 2011 to identify and explore issues impacting water resource sustainability for the more than 15 million people who rely on surface and ground water from the basin. The Forum will take place simultaneously at eight locations in the Basin, and proceedings will be webcast live. The format of the event will reflect a theme of regional-local connectedness: a central session in Philadelphia where panelists set the stage by framing current and forecasted influences on water resources basin-wide, while interacting with satellite forums in locations in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania where stakeholders convene to deliberate local issues and needs.

Strategic Conservation Planning Using the Green Infrastructure Approach Exit EPA Disclaimer

April 11-15, 2011, Shepherdstown, WV. This introductory course provides participants with a strategic approach for prioritizing conservation opportunities and a planning framework for conservation and development – integrating the green and the grey. Through hands-on class projects, lectures, and numerous case studies, participants will experience firsthand how the green infrastructure approach can be used to connect environmental, social, and economic health across urban, suburban, and rural settings. Participants will also learn how green infrastructure planning can serve as a tool to inform land use decisions and build consensus among diverse interests. Registration Deadline: March 11, 2011.

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