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Water: Watersheds

Watershed News: September 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.

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In this month's newsletter

1) National Science Foundation (NSF) Water Sustainability and Climate Grants
2) Fall 2012 EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships for Undergraduate Environmental Study
3) U.S. EPA Releases Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox
4) U.S. EPA Climate Ready Estuaries Program Releases Pamphlet on Lessons Learned
5) EPA Issues Compliance Orders to Six Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska
6) EPA Administrator Jackson Travels to Lititz, Pa., Visits with Farmers and Local Leaders/Administrator Jackson highlights conservation efforts
7) 2011 International Coastal Cleanup on September 17th
8) EPA Celebrates National Estuaries Day on September 24th
9) Harmful Algal Bloom reported in Western Lake Erie
10) Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters
11) Free Watershed Academy Webcast on Sept. 21st — Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: State and Local Policies to Restrict the Use of Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer
12) Tampa Bay Estuary Program Works to Reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution
13) 84th Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference
14) North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) 31st International Symposium- Diverse and Sustainable Lake Management
15) 2011 Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition (WQTC)
16) The Appalachian Coal Country Team (ACCT) Training Seeks Trainers

Funding/Technical Assistance

National Science Foundation (NSF) Water Sustainability and Climate Grants

This NSF Water Sustainability and Climate Program seeks to understand and predict the interactions between the water system and climate change, land use (including agriculture, managed forest, and rangeland systems), the built environment, and ecosystem function and services through place-based research and integrative models. Studies of the water system using models and/or observations at specific sites singly or in combination that allow for spatial and temporal extrapolation to other regions, as well as integration across the different processes in that system are encouraged, especially to the extent that they advance the development of theoretical frameworks and predictive understanding. Eligible applicants include universities and colleges, non-profit, non-academic organizations, for-profit organizations, and other federal agencies and federally funded research and development centers. NSF expects to give out 26 awards. Applications are due October 19, 2011.

Fall 2012 EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships for Undergraduate Environmental Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships program, is offering Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) undergraduate fellowships for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. Subject to availability of funding, and other applicable considerations, the Agency plans to award approximately 40 new fellowships by July 30, 2012. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer of their junior year. The fellowship provides up to $19,700 per academic year of support and $9,500 of support for a three-month summer internship. Applications are due December 12, 2011.

News

U.S. EPA Releases Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox

EPA has recently updated its Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox. The Toolbox provides access to more than 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities including: reports and publications; information about funding programs that could support climate-related actions by utilities and municipalities; upcoming workshops and training sessions; models and tools; and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies. The Toolbox is organized into two sections: a highlighted resources section provides a selection of resources from each category and a map to help users select resources by geographic region; and a second section that features a search function that helps users to select resources based on their location, the size and type of their utility, and resources of interest. Please provide feedback or questions on the Toolbox (CRWUhelp@epa.gov).

U.S. EPA Climate Ready Estuaries Program Releases Pamphlet on Lessons Learned (PDF) (4 pp, 1.4MB, About PDF)

A pamphlet titled "Lessons Learned" from the EPA Climate Ready Estuaries Program is newly available on the Climate Ready Estuaries website. The pamphlet is a re-packaging of the lessons featured in the Climate Ready Estuaries 2010 Progress Report. The document is organized around the four themes of: Vulnerability Assessment; Stakeholder Engagement; Climate Change Indicators and Monitoring; and Adaptation Planning.

EPA Issues Compliance Orders to Six Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska

EPA Region 7 issued administrative compliance orders to six concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, directing those operations to correct a range of violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Region 7's latest round of CAFO enforcement activity, aimed at encouraging producers' compliance with the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, involves five beef feedlots, including three in Nebraska, one in Kansas, and one in Iowa; and an egg layer operation in Nebraska.

"The majority of livestock and poultry producers in Region 7 understand the importance of protecting our water resources, and they work hard to ensure their operations comply with state and federal laws," EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. "However, when an operation fails to meet its responsibilities, EPA will continue to work closely with our state partner agencies and stakeholders to enforce the Clean Water Act and encourage compliance." Stormwater runoff from CAFO production areas such as confinement pens, feedstock storage areas and manure stockpiles, and runoff from land application areas, can cause exceedances of water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways.

EPA Administrator Jackson Travels to Lititz, Pa., Visits with Farmers and Local Leaders/Administrator Jackson highlights conservation efforts

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson traveled to Lititz, Pa to tour a local dairy farm and hold a roundtable discussion with local farmers and leaders. She was joined by Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Brubaker and EPA Regional Administrator, Shawn Garvin. EPA is working closely with rural communities to protect air and water quality and the health of their residents. Administrator Jackson has recently travelled to rural areas in central California and Iowa to highlight sustainable farming practices and innovative farming techniques.

Administrator Jackson visited Jeff Balmer, owner of a 60-head dairy farm that is using a variety of best management practices to protect water quality in the community and further downstream, while making the farm more efficient. The Administrator also participated in a roundtable discussion with State Sen. Brubaker and other local farmers and leaders where they discussed the common goal of clean and healthy water. The Administrator pledged to continue communicating directly with farmers and other stakeholders in communities like Lititz to protect the water all Americans rely on as parties work together to ensure the success and health of rural communities. More information is available on EPA's work with the agricultural community.

2011 International Coastal Cleanup on September 17th

The Ocean Conservancy, with help from EPA and other sponsors, will host the 26th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on Saturday, September 17, 2011. The ICC is an annual event that includes over 100 countries and territories bordering every major body of water on Earth. Each year nearly a half of a million volunteers around the world spend a few hours removing trash and debris from beaches, lakes, rivers, and other waterways making it the world's largest volunteer effort to cleanup the marine environment and collect environmental data from both land and sea.

Marine debris, trash, and other solid material that enters ocean and coastal waters, is a major pollution problem affecting every waterway, with impacts experienced locally, nationally, and internationally. The trash that accumulates can impact human health, local economies, and ecosystems. EPA has been one of the lead Federal agencies working on the marine debris issue for over 25 years. Visit the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup website to enter your location and search for the closest sites to you.

EPA Celebrates National Estuaries Day on September 24th

September 24th is National Estuaries Day, a time to celebrate the importance of estuaries—those places where rivers meet the sea—which also are called bays, sounds, or lagoons. Estuaries are among the most productive and valuable ecosystems on earth. Thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on estuarine habitats as places to live, feed, and reproduce. Estuarine wetland plants and soils are natural buffers between the land and ocean, absorbing flood waters and dissipating storm surges. Salt marsh grasses and other estuarine plants also help prevent erosion and stabilize shorelines, protecting valuable real estate from storm and flood damage.

Humans rely on estuaries as a source of jobs in the fishing and tourism industries, and as sources of food, recreation, cultural and aesthetic services. In 2007, there were 69 million jobs in coastal counties, and those counties contributed $7.9 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (National Ocean Economics Program, 2009a). Estuaries also are among the most threatened of the earth's ecosystems, largely because of impacts from rapid population growth and development in coastal areas. To protect and restore these significant habitats, Congress authorized the National Estuary Program (NEP) in 1987 under the Clean Water Act. EPA is the national program manager for the NEP, which is made up of 28 voluntary place-based programs along the nation's coasts. To date, the NEPs have protected and restored over 1.5 million acres of habitat and leveraged over $2 billion, raising $14 for every $1 provided by EPA to implement NEP activities. You can visit our website to find out more about the NEP, take a virtual tour of an estuary, or volunteer at an NEP near you.

Harmful Algal Bloom reported in Western Lake Erie (PDF) (2 pp, 86K, About PDF)

The European Space Agency provided satellite images of a Harmful Algal Bloom in Lake Erie, which was reported in a bulletin issued by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. State officials have posted warning signs for swimmers and waders. The Columbus Dispatch posted a news story about the bloom Exit EPA Disclaimer on August 26, 2011.

Watershed Tool of the Month

Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters

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.

Free Watershed Academy Webcast on Sept. 21st
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: State and Local Policies to Restrict the Use of Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer

Join us for a free webcast on September 21st titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: State and Local Policies to Restrict the Use of Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer."  Fertilizers, leaves, grass clippings, animal waste, and eroded soil are all sources of phosphorus. When they are swept or washed into the street or nearest storm drain, they end up in your local lake or river where they can cause algal blooms and other water quality problems. This webcast will highlight legislation passed by Minnesota, Michigan and the Chesapeake Bay states to restrict the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizer and will share key lessons learned. This webcast is one in a series on the important issue of nutrient pollution.

Register and download the webcast presentations.

Watershed Spotlight

Tampa Bay Estuary Program Works to Reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Exit EPA Disclaimer

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are necessary for growth of plants and animals and support a healthy aquatic ecosystem. In excess, however, nutrients can contribute to fish disease, red or brown tide, algae blooms, and low dissolved oxygen. Sources of nutrients include point and non-point sources such as sewage treatment plant discharges, stormwater runoff, faulty or leaking septic systems, sediment in urban runoff, animal wastes, atmospheric deposition originating from power plants or vehicles, and groundwater discharges. The Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) has focused on controlling nitrogen sources to restore vital underwater seagrass beds. Seagrasses are an important barometer of the bay's health because they require relatively clean water to flourish. They also provide vital habitat for sportfish such as sea trout, snook, and redfish.

The program set up the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium, an innovative, public-private partnership, and has developed an action plan to achieve nitrogen reduction goals. These efforts have led to impressive progress toward its long-term goal of recovering 12,350acres of seagrasses bay-wide Tampa Bay gained 3,250 acres of seagrass between 2008 and 2010 – an 11% increase that is the largest 2-year expansion of seagrasses since scientists began regular surveys of this critical underwater habitat. The bay now supports more seagrasses than at any time measured since the 1950s.  Despite the impressive gains, the bay is still 5,103 acres short of the target goal for seagrass set by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and its local government partners. Reaching that goal will require a continued commitment by the region to reducing excess nitrogen that remains the bay's primary pollutant of concern.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

84th Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference Exit EPA Disclaimer

October 15-19 in Los Angeles, CA.

North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) 31st International Symposium- Diverse and Sustainable Lake Management Exit EPA Disclaimer

October 26-28, 2011 in Spokane, WA.

2011 Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition (WQTC) Exit EPA Disclaimer

November 13-17, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ.

The Appalachian Coal Country Team (ACCT) Training Seeks Trainers Exit EPA Disclaimer

November 16-18, 2011 in Charleston, WV.

The Appalachian Coal Country Team Training is a biannual event held for the Appalachian Coal Country Team's Office of Surface Mining/AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America and their local supervisors. ACCT seeks experienced presenters to train this diverse group of individuals and groups dedicated to protecting the environment, creating economic opportunities, and preserving the history and culture of Appalachia. Proposals are due on September 16, 2011.


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