Watershed News: April 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 newsletter1) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2011 Request for Applications
2) 2011 Healthy Communities Grant Program
3) Environmental Impact and Mitigation of Oil Spills
4) EPA Seeks Public Comments to Help Develop Management Practices for Recreational Vessels
5) EPA Selects American Rivers to Oversee $1.8 Million Awards Program in Potomac Highlands
6) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Testifies Before the U.S. House Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and Economy
7) Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters
8) Watershed Academy Webcast: Mitigating Climate Change with Water and Energy Efficiency
9) Watershed Spotlight – The Voices for the Lake Project
10) FLOW 2011: Instream Flow Valuation in Public Decision-Making
11) National Ground Water Association's 2011 Ground Water Summit and 2011 Ground Water Protection Council Spring Meeting
12) 2011 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress
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.
The Healthy Communities Grant Program is EPA New England's main competitive grant program to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. The Healthy Communities Grant Program is seeking projects that:
- Target resources to benefit communities at risk (environmental justice areas of potential concern, places with high risk from toxic air pollution, urban areas) and sensitive populations (e.g. children, elderly, others at increased risk).
- Assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks.
- Increase collaboration through community-based projects.
- Build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environment and human health problems.
- Achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits.
Proposed projects must: (1) Be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the four Target Investment Areas which include: Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern, Sensitive Populations, Narragansett Bay Watershed (RI & MA), and/or Urban Areas in one or more of the EPA Region I States of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and/or Vermont; and (2) Identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the six Target Program Areas which include Asthma, Capacity Building on Environmental and Public Health Issues, Healthy Indoor/Outdoor Environments, Healthy Schools, Narragansett Bay Watershed-Based Water Quality Management, and/or Urban Natural Resources. Applications due May 2, 2011.
As part of the federal government's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. EPA received a $2 million Congressional appropriation for a grant or grants for "a study on the potential human and environmental risks and impacts of the release of crude oil and the application of dispersants, surface washing agents, bioremediation agents, and other mitigation measures listed in the National Contingency Plan Product List..."
To implement this appropriation through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant program, EPA is seeking applications proposing to develop a research program, including an effective community outreach program component, to mitigate the impact of oil spills. The research program must address one or more of the following topics: (1) development of cost-effective innovative technologies to mitigate the impact of oil spills; (2) development of effective oil dispersants, surface washing agents, bioremediation agents, and other mitigation measures ("dispersants/agents/measures") with low environmental impact; and (3) investigation of the effects of oil spills and application of dispersants/agents/measures on the environment. Applicants must also submit a community outreach program plan, the objective of which is to help impacted Gulf Coast communities effectively participate in the study and use its results. The closing date for applications is June 22, 2011.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment from boaters and other stakeholders to help develop proposed regulations, as required by the 2008 Clean Boating Act, to reduce water pollution and the spread of invasive species in the nation's rivers, lakes and other water bodies. As an alternative to permits required for commercial vessels, the act directs EPA to develop and promulgate management practices for recreational vessels.
The important input received through this process will help guide the development of proposed regulations to mitigate adverse effects from recreational boat discharges, such as bilgewater, graywater and deck runoff, that may contain substances harmful to water quality or spread invasive species.
The Clean Boating Act directs EPA to take steps to limit the impact of pollution and the spread of invasive species associated with the discharge from boats. As part of the public input, EPA is also seeking information from states that already enact standards to limit the impacts of boat discharges on waterways.
EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars to inform interested parties about the Clean Boating Act and receive public input. An upcoming listening session will be held in Annapolis, MD on April 29.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mid-Atlantic region announced on March 1st that American Rivers has been selected to oversee $1.8 million in environmental grants for projects benefitting communities and rivers in specific parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia that comprise the Potomac Highlands.
The competitive grant program will support quality of life improvements in Potomac Highlands communities and protect the valuable ecosystems, some of which host the most diverse and globally important resources on Earth.
"The Potomac Highlands is a unique area that needs our attention. Many people have contributed their time, energy and ideas in developing a strategic plan for this area including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, our state partners and a whole host of organizations," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "Great work has already been accomplished in the Highlands and with American Rivers on board, this awards programs will provide a significant boost in remediating and restoring this valuable ecosystem."
Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Testifies Before the U.S. House Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and Economy
Watershed Tool of the Month
This handbook is intended to help communities, watershed organizations, and state, local, tribal and federal environmental agencies develop and implement watershed plans to meet water quality standards and protect water resources. It was designed to help any organization undertaking a watershed planning effort, and it should be particularly useful to persons working with impaired or threatened waters. EPA intends for this handbook to supplement existing watershed planning guides that have already been developed by agencies, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. The handbook is generally more specific than other guides with respect to guidance on quantifying existing pollutant loads, developing estimates of the load reductions required to meet water quality standards, developing effective management measures, and tracking progress once the plan is implemented.
Mitigating Climate Change with Water and Energy Efficiencyt
Visit www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts in the coming weeks for details and registration information.
The Voices for the Lake (VFL) project uses storytelling as a means to raise awareness, build community and cultivate stewardship to protect and restore the Lake Champlain Basin. Created by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center in Burlington Vermont (ECHO) and funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Services' National Leadership Grant, VFL was established in response to an urgent need, identified by the Lake Champlain Basin Program State of the Lake Report, to connect the public with issues facing the watershed. The project encourages individuals to reflect on their personal connections to water and provides a place for them to connect with others who feel passionate about their watershed, with the goal of supporting future action to protect and restore the Lake Champlain Basin.
Using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, VFL invites people to interact with and contribute photos, links, videos, audio clips and written narratives to both a web archive and to an interactive exhibit on the exhibit floor at ECHO. The result of these contributions is a community-generated archive of rich, personal stories about people connected to Lake Champlain and its rivers and streams. The project begins with the assumption that science centers and other stewardship education organizations have much to learn from the voices of the public about how to support dialogue, broker positive relationships and create educational opportunities in support of lake stewardship. As a next step, VFL plans to partner with watershed organizations and local social media initiatives to create a network of people, tools and stewardship opportunities committed to protecting and restoring the Lake Champlain Basin.
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
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.
National Ground Water Association's 2011 Ground Water Summit and 2011 Ground Water Protection Council Spring Meeting
May 1-5, 2011, in Baltimore, MD. The 2011 Ground Water Summit and 2011 Ground Water Protection Council Spring Meeting will bring together a mix of federal and state regulators, practitioners, natural resource managers, policymakers, municipal planners, remediation site owners, attorneys, climatologists, and those who supply knowledge and technology needed to address and influence key water issues.
This year's conference theme is "Meeting Groundwater Challenges in Uncertain Times." Economic conditions have placed enormous stresses on the resources of government, private industry, and academic and research institutions, which affect our ability to respond to the challenges of understanding, protecting, restoring, and managing the complexities of the nation’s groundwater resources. This conference focuses on the critical need for cooperation and collaboration to raise and address issues affecting groundwater resources.
May 22-26, 2011, Palm Springs, CA. The 2011 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress program is intellectually and professionally stimulating and provides plenty of opportunities for networking. The program will include outstanding plenary sessions and technical presentations. It will also be the site of the annual committee meetings and offer fun social events that allow participants to renew old friendships and make new ones. There will be opportunities for presenting your project or research, exhibits, co-sponsorships, cooperating organizations, student and international activities and much more.
The World Environmental & Water Resources Congress is an important opportunity for professionals in the environmental and water fields to convene and focus on topics of the day. This year's technical program focuses on "Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability". It is important that the environmental and engineering community integrate sustainability, in dealing with today's issues whether they be technical, economic, social, environmental or political. To that end a number of symposia are being offered including: Arid Lands Symposium, Climate Change Symposium, Sustainability Symposium and the 6th World Water Forum Symposium: North American Regional Event.
Visit the Watershed Academy Web on-line training site at
to strengthen your watershed protection skills.
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