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Water: Watersheds

Watershed News: June 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) Environmental Impact and Mitigation of Oil Spills
2) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
3) FY11 Region 07 Wetland Program Development Grants
4) Farm Foundation, NFP Small Grants Program
5) Office of Water Hosts Bilateral Engagement on U.S.-China Clean Water Action Plan
6) EPA Releases Searchable Website for Drinking Water Violations
7) EPA Releases Report Highlighting Role of State Revolving Funds in Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
8) The 18th Annual Secchi Dip-In Begins June 25
9) WATERS EnviroMapper
10) Watershed Spotlight: Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program
11) International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies
12) American Meteorological Society (AMS) to Host the Climate Adaptation: Practical Solutions for a Warming World Conference
13) National Water Quality Monitoring Council's 8th National Monitoring Conference

Funding/Technical Assistance

Environmental Impact and Mitigation of Oil Spills

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.

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (Section 305, Title III, Public Law 101‐646, 16 U.S.C. 3954) established the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program to acquire, restore, and enhance wetlands in coastal States through competitive matching grants to State agencies. The primary goal of the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is the long‐term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems. In FY 2011, the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program awarded $19.1 million to 12 States to fund 24 individual projects encompassing nearly 5,951 acres of coastal habitat.

Projects can include (1) acquisition of a real property interest (e.g., conservation easement or fee title) in coastal lands or waters (coastal wetlands ecosystems) from willing sellers or partners for long‐term conservation or (2) restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems. All projects must ensure long‐term conservation. The Fish and Wildlife Service expects that approximately $17.5 million will be available for grants from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program in FY 2012. Awards typically range from $200,000 (there is no specific minimum) to a maximum of $1,000,000. The closing date for applications is June 30, 2011.

FY11 Region 07 Wetland Program Development Grants

Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) provide eligible applicants an opportunity to conduct and promote the coordination and acceleration of research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution. WPDGs provide an opportunity to develop and refine comprehensive wetland programs. Implementation of wetland protection programs is not an eligible effort under this announcement.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants to build or refine State/Tribal/local government wetland programs. States, Tribes, local government agencies, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia are eligible to apply under this announcement, as further described herein. Universities that are agencies of a state government are eligible, but must include documentation demonstrating that they are chartered as part of a state government in the proposal submission. Non-profit organizations are not eligible to compete under this RFP. The closing date for applications is July 6, 2011.

Farm Foundation, NFP Small Grants Program Exit EPA Disclaimer

Farm Foundation, NFP will award a total of $25,000 in small grants in its 2012 fiscal year. "Small grants are one means the Foundation uses to stimulate new ideas and build networks of resources," said Farm Foundation, NFP President Neil Conklin. "While not extremely large, these grants can be very significant as a catalyst to get a new program or a new idea off the ground." The maximum amount to be awarded per grant is $5,000. Any projects funded must be non-advocacy in nature, and provide balanced, objective information. The Foundation's fiscal year is May 1 through April 30.

The Foundation's work focuses in six major areas: (1) Agriculture in the Environment, (2) Energy and Agriculture, (3) Food, Agricultural and Trade Policy, (4) Agricultural and Food System Productivity, Research and Technology, (5) Food Quality, Safety and Consumer Perceptions, and (6) Viability of Rural Regions.

Proposed grants should address one of the Foundation's six program areas. Such grants should develop, disseminate and/or publicly present educational materials or scientific research findings which contribute to informed discussions and foster debate, bringing together all stakeholders to foster deeper understanding of issues affecting agriculture, food systems and rural regions. Applications for the Foundation's FY2012 grants are due July 1, 2011. Responses will be issued Aug. 15, 2011.


Office of Water Hosts Bilateral Engagement on U.S.-China Clean Water Action Plan

During the month of May, the Office of Water hosted the bilateral engagement on the U.S.-China Clean Water Action Plan, under the framework of the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (S&ED). The U.S. EPA-Chinese Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP) partnership realizes the collaboration between the two countries relating to the critical issue of water resource management. The Clean Water Action Plan aims to draw upon U.S. experiences in nutrient management and ecological restoration, and point to best management practices in lake environmental management and source water protection. The meeting resulted in stimulating exchanges with proposed areas of collaboration, including cross-provincial boundary water pollution tools, protocols for ensuring data reliability, public participation processes, TMDL instruments, as well as analyses of national targets, facility-specific limits, and national oversight issues.

EPA Releases Searchable Website for Drinking Water Violations

The U.S. EPA announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool. ECHO now allows the public to search to see whether drinking water in their community met the standards required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is designed to safeguard the nation's drinking water and protect people's health. SDWA requires states to report drinking water information periodically to EPA. ECHO also includes a new feature identifying drinking water systems that have had serious noncompliance.

The new Safe Drinking Water Act information on EPA's website provides:

  • Users with information about whether their drinking water has exceeded drinking water standards.
  • A serious violators report that lists all water suppliers with serious noncompliance. 
  • EPA's 2009 National Public Water Systems Compliance Report, which is a national summary of compliance and enforcement at public drinking water systems.

EPA Releases Report Highlighting Role of State Revolving Funds in Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

EPA has released a report highlighting the important role of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) in implementing the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Together, the SRFs executed more than 3,200 assistance agreements worth more than $5.6 billion for clean water and drinking water projects. The report, titled "Implementation of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009---Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs," includes case studies that emphasize the role of ARRA in funding wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects that will contribute to long-term economic productivity, environmental sustainability, and public health protection, many of which would not have otherwise been funded.

The 18th Annual Secchi Dip-In Begins June 25 Exit EPA Disclaimer

This year's Secchi Dip-In runs from June 25 to July 17.  During the three-week event in June and July, volunteers demonstrate that they can provide valuable continent-wide, and even world-wide, water quality data. Thanks to participation by volunteers in programs such as yours, the Dip-In has gathered over 41,000 records since 1994, allowing us to determine transparency trends in more than 2,000 waterbodies. The Dip-In recruits volunteers only through existing monitoring programs, insuring that the data are reliable.  The data are important and are yielding new and exciting information on trends in transparency across North America.  The data are available to researchers and state and federal agencies because there is assurance of quality data.  Visit Secchi Dip-In Exit EPA Disclaimer to find a volunteer monitoring group and additional information.

Watershed Tool of the Month

WATERS EnviroMapper

Screenshot of WATERS EnviroMapper website.

EnviroMapper for Water is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) application that dynamically displays water quality and other environmental information about bodies of water in the United States. This interactive tool allows you to create customized maps that portray the nation's surface waters along with a collection of water quality related data from the national level down to community level. The redesigned tool provides the ability to:

  • Geographically display a variety of EPA water program data
  • Pan, zoom, label and print maps
  • Link to water program web reports after identifying specific features of interest
  • Generate specific water quality related reports based on an area of interest

Have you always wondered about the health of a river near where you live? Now you can find out by creating a map using EnviroMapper for Water.

Watershed Spotlight

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) Exit EPA Disclaimer

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) works to identify, protect, and restore the significant resources of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system in North Carolina and Virginia.  The region's watershed area exceeds 30,000 square miles, and the estuary itself is the second largest in the continental United States. As part of its commitment to addressing broad-scale ecosystem issues, APNEP is working with its partners to address the potential impacts of climate change in the region.  Due to its coastal geography, the area and its people are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.  Current forecasts predict sea level rise of over three feet by 2100, which could eventually submerge 1500 square miles of North Carolina's coastal plain.

APNEP's most recent climate change initiative culminated in the publication of "Climate Ready Estuaries: A blueprint for change" Exit EPA Disclaimer. The document was developed in partnership with Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.  The document summarizes the initial outreach efforts to local stakeholders on climate change issues, provides findings and recommendations for increasing the climate resilience, and compiles current science on sea level rise impacts.  The document also serves as a first step in educating stakeholders about the opportunities and challenges inherent in becoming a climate ready estuary.  APNEP is currently revitalizing its management approach through the formulation of a new ecosystem-based Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.  The CCMP is due in late 2011, and it seeks to fully integrate climate change considerations into the program's management initiatives.  ANEP's research projects have offered invaluable insights during the planning process, and they will continue to guide program efforts in the years to come.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies Exit EPA Disclaimer

June 27-30, 2011 in Reno, NV. The Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies Symposium incorporates topics beyond those addressed by its predecessor, the In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium. The Symposium chairs and steering committee designed the program for scientists, engineers, regulators, site managers, and other environmental professionals, representing universities, government agencies, consultants, and R&D and service firms from around the world. Bioremediation and related technologies continue as core areas, but the program also encompasses green and sustainable remediation, sustainable site management strategies, emerging contaminants, vapor intrusion, and the environmental impacts of biology-based alternative energy production. The Preliminary Program (PDF) (49 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer lists presentations scheduled as of January 28. The Final Program and abstracts of the presentations will be posted at this Web site by June 13.

American Meteorological Society (AMS) to Host the Climate Adaptation:  Practical Solutions for a Warming World Conference Exit EPA Disclaimer

July 18-20, 2011 in Asheville, NC. This conference will offer a unique opportunity for scientists and non-scientists to interact and hear from one another.  Joint sessions will be held with the 19th Conference on Applied Climatology and the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Association of State Climatologists.

National Water Quality Monitoring Council's 8th National Monitoring Conference

April 30 - May 4, 2012 in Portland, OR.This conference will focus on the many facets of water quality and quantity monitoring for improved understanding, protection, and restoration of our natural resources and communities.  It is a centerpiece forum that generally attracts 500-800 water practitioners from all backgrounds, including federal, state, local, tribal, volunteer, academic, private, and other water stakeholders.  Attendees exchange information about water monitoring, assessment, research, protection, restoration, and management; learn about new findings on the quality of the Nation's streams and rivers, groundwater, estuaries, lakes and
wetlands; and develop new skills and professional networks.  The conference includes presentations, panels, poster sessions, exhibits, hands-on interactive workshops and field trips, as well as time for after-hours meetings and networking.

For the first time, this biennial conference and River Network's National River Rally are coordinating an overlap day (May 4th) with mutually developed themes and presentations geared toward fostering improved collaboration between government and nonprofit groups working together for clean water. Please refer to the "Call for Abstracts" for specifics on themes and potential topics of interest.

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