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Water: Watersheds

Watershed News: October 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) Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program
2) Fall 2012 EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study
3) The FY12 Proposal Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants
4) National Conservation Foundation Conservation District Award Program
5) Fall 2012 EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships for Undergraduate Environmental Study
6) EPA Announces the Healthy Watersheds Initiative National Framework and Action Plan, 2011
7) EPA Seeks Public Comment on Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment, Volume I: Results for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program
8) USDA- Economic Research Service Report: Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy
9) Gulf of Mexico Alliance Nutrient Reduction Decision Support Toolbox
10) Free Webinar October 27th: EPA's Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox and Maine's Stormwater Awareness Initiative
11) Stream Restoration Project Improves Water Quality of Wallkill River, New Jersey
12) 2011 Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition (WQTC)
13) National Association of Conservation Districts 2012 Annual Meeting
14) AWWA 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference & Exposition

Funding/Technical Assistance

Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program

The National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Region (Fisheries Southeast Regional Office) is seeking proposals under the Gulf of Mexico NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (Gulf B-WET) Program. The Gulf B-WET Program is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. Funded projects provide Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) for students, related professional development for teachers, and help to support regional education and environmental priorities in the Gulf of Mexico. This program addresses NOAA's goals to "Protect, Restore, and Manage the Use of Coastal and Ocean Resources through an Ecosystem Approach to Management" and "Healthy Oceans". Applications are due October 15, 2011.

Fall 2012 EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study

The U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), invites applications for the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships for graduate environmental study for master's and doctoral level students. The deadline is November 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM ET for receipt of paper applications, and November 8, 2011 at 11:59:59 PM ET for submittal of electronic applications via Grants.gov. Subject to availability of funding and other applicable considerations, the Agency plans to award approximately 80 new fellowships by July 31, 2012. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of five years. The fellowship program provides up to $42,000 per year of support per fellowship. This amount covers a monthly stipend of $2,083 for up to 12 months totaling $25,000 for the year, $5,000 for authorized expenses, and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees. The actual amount awarded per year will vary depending on the amount of tuition and fees and the number of months the stipend is required. These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced, environmentally-oriented study leading to a master's or doctoral degree. Applications are due November 8, 2011.

The FY12 Proposal Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants

Watershed groups may be interested in applying for Brownfields grants, which can help clean up land-band sources of pollution.  These grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). The proposal deadline is November 28, 2011.

Opportunities for funding are as follows (See Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 66.818):

Brownfields Assessment Grants: (each funded up to $200,000 over three years; $1,000,000 for Assessment Coalitions) provide funding to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning (including area-wide planning and cleanup planning) and community involvement related to brownfield sites;

Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants: (each funded up to $1,000,000 over five years) provide funding to capitalize a revolving fund and to make loans and provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites;

Brownfields Cleanup Grants: (each funded up to $200,000 over three years) provide funding for a grant recipient to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites that are owned by the grant recipient.

Please note there is one significant change to the Proposal Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants in FY2012: Cleanup applicants must prepare a draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) as part of the community notification requirement and make it available for public review/comment prior to proposal submission and no later than November 14, 2011. A description of the information to include in the ABCA can be found at Frequently Asked Question #71 posted on the brownfields website. Since this is a threshold requirement, failure to comply will result in the proposal not being considered for award.EPA encourages applicants to read the guidelines carefully before applying.

National Conservation Foundation Conservation District Award Program Exit EPA Disclaimer

The National Conservation Foundation is excited to offer the National Conservation Foundation Conservation District Award, through which one winning conservation district will receive $10,000 to carry out a local project. The Foundation is seeking "on-the-ground" projects that touch local communities. The Foundation is partnering on this year's award with the NACD Presidents Association. The Presidents Association is composed of individuals who are serving or have served as a president of a state or territory association of conservation districts. The National Conservation Foundation seeks to encourage and facilitate the implementation of unique programs and services by districts and other conservation organizations that advance the conservation, wise use and orderly development of the nation's natural resources. Applications are due December 2, 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

EPA Announces the Healthy Watersheds Initiative National Framework and Action Plan, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the release of the Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) National Framework and Action Plan.  The HWI is intended to protect the nation's remaining healthy watersheds, prevent them from becoming impaired, and accelerate restoration successes.  The HWI National Framework and Action Plan aims to provide a clear consistent framework for action, both internally among EPA's own programs and externally in working with the Agency's partners.  EPA will work with states and other partners to identify healthy watersheds at the state scale and develop and implement comprehensive state healthy watersheds strategies that set priorities for protection and inform priorities for restoration.

Healthy watersheds provide many ecological services as well as economic benefits.  If successfully implemented, the HWI promises to greatly enhance our nation's ability to meet the Clean Water Act Section 101(a) objective of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters.

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment, Volume I: Results for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program (PDF) (3 pp, 158K, About PDF)

EPA is announcing a 30-day Public Comment Period and Letter Peer-Review on "Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program." The reports are pilot ecological vulnerability assessments using a novel methodology, based on expert judgment, to inform adaptation planning under EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries Program.  The public comment period begins September 8, 2011 and ends October 11, 2011. EPA also is announcing that two independent groups of experts will be selected to conduct a letter peer-review of the same draft documents. The San Francisco Estuary Partnership report and Massachusetts Bays Program report are available online.

USDA- Economic Research Service Report: Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy

Nitrogen is an important agricultural input that is critical for crop production. However, the introduction of large amounts of nitrogen into the environment has a number of undesirable impacts on water, terrestrial, and atmospheric resources. This report explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agriculture and assesses changes in nutrient management by farmers that may improve nitrogen use efficiency. It also reviews a number of policy approaches for improving nitrogen management and identifies issues affecting their potential performance. Findings reveal that about two-thirds of U.S. cropland is not meeting three criteria for good nitrogen management related to the rate, timing, and method of application. Several policy approaches, including financial incentives, nitrogen management as a condition of farm program eligibility, and regulation, could induce farmers to improve their nitrogen management and reduce nitrogen losses to the environment.

Watershed Tool of the Month

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Nutrient Reduction Decision Support Toolbox Exit EPA Disclaimer

Nutrient Reduction Decision Support ToolboxThe Nutrient Reduction Decision Support Toolbox is intended for use by state and local agencies and other organizations interested in reducing nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and other pollutants to our waterbodies.  The toolbox originated from the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Nutrient Reduction Priority Issue Team (PIT) and its initiatives to reduce the size of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico as well as occurrences of hypoxic events across Gulf of Mexico coastal and estuarine waters.  Nutrient reduction efforts must be made throughout the five Gulf states, as well as the states within the upper and lower Mississippi and Ohio River Basins to be successful at reducing Gulf hypoxia.

The toolbox is based on a comprehensive and holistic framework for nutrient reduction developed through the collaborative interaction of local, state, and federal agencies; non-governmental organizations; agricultural producers; private businesses; and academic institutions.  Each of the drawers in the toolbox represents one of the 10 key decision elements that are essential to reducing nutrients and their impacts within our waters.

Free Webinar October 27th

EPA's Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox and Maine's Stormwater Awareness Initiative

Register for our upcoming October 27th Webinar, which will showcase EPA's Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox and a successful stormwater awareness initiative, ThinkBlueMaine.

Watershed Spotlight

Stream Restoration Project Improves Water Quality of Wallkill River, New Jersey

Stormwater runoff from residential, agricultural and steep-slope forested areas led to the impairment of two segments of the Wallkill River and their addition to New Jersey's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. The "Wallkill River at Route 15" segment was listed as impaired for aquatic life (benthic macroinvertebrates) in 2000, and "Wallkill River at Sparta" was listed as impaired for total phosphorus (TP), fecal coliform (FC), and temperature in 2002. To address the problem, local, state and federal partners restored the shape of stream banks and floodplain areas and replanted the riparian buffer and upland fringe areas using native plant species. As a result of these efforts, the combined Wallkill River listing (including both the "Wallkill River at Route 15" and the "Wallkill River at Sparta" stream segments) was removed from the 2006 impaired waters list for its temperature and aquatic life impairments.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

November 13-17, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ.

National Association of Conservation Districts 2012 Annual Meeting Exit EPA Disclaimer

January 29-February 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.

AWWA 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference & Exposition Exit EPA Disclaimer

March 18-21, 2012 in Portland, OR.


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