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Watershed News

March 2010

Watershed News Index

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.

multiple graphics of water scenes

In this month's newsletter

1) Smart Growth Assistance for Communities
2) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative
3) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
4) Administrator Jackson Unveils Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan
5) "OCEANS" Hits Theaters on Earth Day 2010
6) Bay Backpack New Resource for Educators
7) EPA's Water Quality Scorecard
8) Monitoring and Assessment Under the Clean Water Act
9) Bluegrass Pride
10) 2010 International Low Impact Development Conference
11) Seventh National Monitoring Conference
12) 2010 National River Rally

Funding/Technical Assistance

Smart Growth Assistance for Communities

United States Environmental Protection Agency

The Development, Community, and Environment Division in EPA's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation is seeking applicants for technical assistance from communities that want to incorporate smart growth in their future development. Selected applicants will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit by a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders. Eligible entities are tribal, local, regional, and state governments, and nonprofit organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity. Letter of interest are due by April 9, 2010.

Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative

Environmental Protection Agency

NRCS is developing the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) to improve the water quality and wildlife habitat of the Mississippi River Basin through a conservation systems approach to managing nutrients. The Initiative will offer approximately $80 million in financial assistance in FYs 2010 through 2013 through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG), and the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program. Eligible partners are encouraged to submit proposals addressing the conservation objectives to be achieved in one or more 12-digit HUC subwatersheds within the designated 8-digit focus area or areas. Proposals are due by May 3, 2010.

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering approximately 20 awards to coastal States that will invest in projects to protect and restore valuable coastal wetlands. All projects must ensure long-term conservation efforts such as restoring wetland hydrology, breaking tile drainage systems, installing water control structures, planting native vegetation, and removing invasive species. Eligible applicants include any coastal State agency. Applications are due by June 25, 2010.


Administrator Jackson Unveils Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan Exit EPA Disclaimer

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has released an action plan to guide the Obama Administration's historic efforts to restore the Great Lakes. The action plan lays out the most urgent threats facing the Great Lakes and sets out goals, objectives and key actions over the next five years to help restore the lakes. The action plan directs aggressive action under five priority "focus areas" the task force has identified as vital for restoring the Great Lakes. They are:

"OCEANS" Hits Theaters on Earth Day 2010 Exit EPA Disclaimer

Disney Nature OCEANS program

Disneynature's next big-screen splash "OCEANS" has launched group ticket sales to boost its efforts to save coral reefs with proceeds generated from the film's opening week. "See OCEANS, Save Oceans" is an initiative developed with The Nature Conservancy where a portion of each ticket sold for the film's opening week April 22-28 will help establish new marine protected areas in The Bahamas. "We launched our newest label Disneynature and 'EARTH' with our 'Buy a Ticket, Plant a Tree' effort that benefited The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees Campaign," said Chuck Viane, president, distribution, for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. "This year, our focus has shifted to the planet's oceans with 'See OCEANS, Save Oceans.' We recognize the importance of coral reefs to the intricate global ecosystem and we want to help preserve them—both literally, through our contributions and commitment to organizations like The Nature Conservancy, and figuratively, by sharing the spectacular imagery of 'OCEANS' with audiences worldwide." According to Viane, youth and school groups across the country can be among the first to reserve tickets to this special engagement and participate in helping to save our coral reefs. Groups of 20 or more can reserve tickets today by calling 1-888-DISNEY6. Also, in collaboration with National Geographic, Disneynature has developed educational materials that can be downloaded for free by visiting Disneynature Oceans Exit EPA Disclaimer.

Bay Backpack New Resource for Educators Exit EPA Disclaimer

Bay Backpack is an online resource for teachers and environmental educators to engage students in hands-on learning about the Chesapeake Bay and its local waterways. Educators can browse through the Backpack’s books, multimedia, curriculum guides, individual lesson plans and online data sources specific to the subjects taught in class. Bay Backpack also houses resources on pollution, climate change, forests, farming, development and many other environmental topics. This resource center provides educators with the necessary tools to give their students a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE), which allows students to gain a deep understanding of environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay and its local streams and rivers.

Watershed Tool of the Month

EPA's Water Quality Scorecard

Water Quality Scorecard

EPA is releasing a first-of-its-kind water quality scorecard that will help communities in rural, suburban and urban settings incorporate green infrastructure practices to protect local water quality and improve both the built and natural environment. The Water Quality Scorecard was developed to help local governments identify opportunities to remove barriers and revise and create codes, ordinances, and incentives to better protect water quality. This tool can help municipal staff, stormwater managers, planners, and other stakeholders better understand where a municipality's land development regulations and other ordinances may present barriers or opportunities to implementing a comprehensive water quality protection approach. The scorecard also provides policy options, resources and case studies. To download a copy of the Water Quality Scorecard.


Monitoring and Assessment Under the Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. The statute employs a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways, finance municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff. These tools are employed to achieve the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters so that they can support "the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water." Join us on April 7th for the third in a series of Webcasts on the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Webcast will focus on key aspects of the implementation of the CWA including: 1) collection, assembly and evaluation of water quality data and other relevant information, 2) inferring current waterbody condition based on such data and information, and 3) determining whether or not individual waterbodies meet applicable state water quality criteria.

Watershed Spotlight: Local Leaders

Bluegrass Pride Exit EPA Disclaimer

Bluegrass Pride

What does pride mean to you? To Kentucky's Bluegrass PRIDE, it means Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment, something for which they have advocated across central Kentucky since 2001. To achieve this objective, Bluegrass Pride has creatively paired outreach with fundraising in a way that has attracted worldwide attention. Each year, local artists paint rain barrels to be displayed for two months in a highly trafficked location, such as a coffee shop, where it is guaranteed to draw public attention. The rain barrel is complemented with an educational stormwater brochure and details on the Bluegrass PRIDE Rain Barrel Program. At the end of the display period, the barrels are auctioned off on eBay for prices starting at $130. This annual event generates both revenue and public interest in stormwater management.


In addition to the successful Rain Barrel Program, Bluegrass PRIDE reconnects local students with the environment by providing hands-on learning opportunities in multiple subject areas. Stormwater educators visit the classroom three to five times a year to engage students in activities such as tracking stormwater flow, calculating the fill time for a 55 gallon rain barrel, or writing their local government about stormwater pollution. These projects have generated an increased enthusiasm for the environment and a strong awareness of how human activities are interconnected with the ecosystem.

For more information on Bluegrass PRIDE, contact Amy Sohner (amy@bgpride.org).

To nominate a watershed group for our Spotlight feature, please contact Alison Keener (keener.alison@epa.gov).

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

2010 International Low Impact Development Conference Exit EPA Disclaimer

April 11-14, 2010. San Francisco, CA. The 2010 International LID Conference, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will highlight new and continuing work including research, developments, and community adoption of LID throughout the United States and internationally. The Conference will open with workshops on Sunday afternoon. The three-day technical program, Monday-Wednesday, will include four technical tracks. Social events are planned for Monday and Tuesday evenings. Field trips to sites that demonstrate successful applications of LID will also be scheduled. The deadline for Early Bird registration is February 16 and the deadline for Advance registration is March 25.

Seventh National Monitoring Conference

April 25-29, 2010. Denver, CO. The National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) will host its Seventh National Monitoring Conference — "Monitoring from the Summit to the Sea." The conference will focus on the many facets of water quality and water quantity monitoring for improved understanding, protection, and restoration of our natural resources and communities. It will also provide a unique forum for water practitioners from all backgrounds — including governmental organizations, volunteers, academia, watershed and environmental groups and the private sector — to exchange information, develop skills, and foster collaboration and coordination.

2010 National River Rally Exit EPA Disclaimer

May 21-24, 2010. Snowbird, UT. The River Rally is River Network's annual event that brings together over 500 river conservationists for 3 consecutive days of education, inspiration and celebration. Highlights of this year's River Rally will include a series of intensive workshops, interaction with funders and exhibitors, the River Heroes Banquet, unsurpassed networking opportunities and organized field trips. Participants of the River Rally typically include staff, board members, volunteers, agencies, tribal representatives, and individuals interested in watershed conservation. Register online.

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