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) EPA Requests Proposals for Urban Watershed Capacity Building Grant
2) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative
3) WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grant
4) Region 10 Wetland Program Development Grants
5) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
6) National Environmental Education Training Program
7) Environmental Training for Youth
8) Watershed Intern Program
9) EPA Releases Handbook for Clean Water Act Section 319 Tribal Program
10) EPA Releases for Public Comment Draft Guidance on Reducing Water Pollution to Chesapeake Bay
11) New Professional Membership Society for Watershed and Stormwater Professionals
12) Clean Water for All: County Leaders Speak Out for Clean Water
13) Key Internet Tools for Watershed Management Course
14) Tools for Addressing Coastal Wetlands Loss
15) Alice Ferguson Foundation
16) Seventh National Monitoring Conference
17) U.S. EPA Technology Transfer Seminars
18) 21st Annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference
19) 2010 National River Rally
20) 2010 OH Stormwater Conference
21) International Specialty Conference & Eighth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress on Tropical Hydrology & Sustainable Water Resources in a Changing Climate
22) 2010 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference
Through the Targeted Watershed Grants Program, EPA plans to award up to $600,000 to an eligible entity to manage an Urban Watershed Capability Building Grant. A key component of the Urban Watershed Capacity Building Grant is to engage communities in capacity building activities to foster an increased connection, understanding, and ownership of their waters. EPA is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants that address the following two project components: (1) establish and manage a competitive urban watershed subaward program; and (2) provide urban watershed technical services to subawardees.
This Request for Proposals (RFP) is based on the growing need for local watershed protection efforts in urban areas. EPA is encouraging local watershed organizations and local communities to envision the role their watershed should have in their long range community development plans and aiding communities to formulate a means to achieve this. Proposals must be received by EPA by May 19, 2010. A national panel will evaluate and rank proposals based on the evaluation criteria stated in the RFP. Selection of the successful applicant will be announced this summer. For more information, visit the Targeted Watersheds Grants program Web site.
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 (CSP). 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.
The U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Reclamation anticipate providing approximately $14,000,000 in grants to States, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water authority for projects that save water, improve energy efficiency, address endangered species and other environmental issues. With leveraged water sustainability grants, an important step will be taken towards increasing conservation for a more efficient use of water in the West. Applicants must share 50% or more of the total project cost. Applications are due by May 4, 2010.
The EPA’s Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) provide applicants an opportunity to carry out projects to develop and refine comprehensive wetland programs. The use of these grant funds is restricted to improving wetland programs by conducting or promoting 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. All proposed projects must be linked to environmental results and demonstrate how they will contribute to the ultimate goals of healthy communities and ecosystems. States, tribes, local government agencies, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia are eligible to apply under this announcement. Projects must be performed within one or more of the states and other areas of EPA Region 10 specifically Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and/or Washington to be eligible to apply for funding to be eligible to apply for funding. See Section III of the announcement for additional eligibility information. The extended deadline for proposals is May 5, 2010.
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.
EPA funds the National Environmental Education Training Program to deliver environmental education training and long-term support to teachers and other education professionals across the U.S. to enable them to teach effectively about environmental issues. EPA awards one cooperative agreement to fund this 5 year national program. U.S. institutions of higher education, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, or a consortia of such institutions are eligible to apply. Eligible institutions are encouraged to form consortia to operate this program. The funds are expected to be awarded for this program by September 30, 2010. Applications are due by July 26, 2010.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is offering an opportunity for youth to be introduced to natural resource careers through “hands-on” work with natural resource professionals employed by the USFWS. On-site activities will be located at a variety of field stations, including wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, and ecological services offices. The goal is to help develop a new generation of youth, who are enthusiastic and effective conservationists and ecologists. The USFWS invites submission of proposals from all potential sources willing and able to cooperatively administer a program for identifying and recruiting youth for assignments at field stations in the Mountain-Prairie Region states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. The closing date for applications is September 30, 2010.
The Office of Surface Mining within the U.S. Department of the Interior will assist watershed groups by providing funds to hire interns to work on specific projects. The project must clearly enhance the sustainability of the watershed organizations, and must contribute directly to the remediation of acid mine drainage. Private nonprofit institutions/organizations, public nonprofit institutions/organizations, and established watershed organizations in the following States are eligible to participate: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Undergraduate and graduate students, throughout the United States, interested in helping to clean up the environment are also eligible. The closing date for applications is September 30, 2010.
EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds recently released the Handbook for Developing and Managing Tribal Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs Under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. EPA developed the Handbook to support the continued growth and sophistication of Tribal participation in the Clean Water Act Section 319 program.
In the Handbook, all aspects of the grants funding process are clearly explained, demonstrating how Tribes can use Section 319 program funds to implement programs and projects to reduce pollution and restore water quality. It also provides a great deal of technical information regarding nonpoint source pollution; how to develop and assess available data to develop a plan of action; and how to implement activities to solve the problem.
EPA released draft guidance for federal lands management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that describes the most effective tools and practices to reduce water pollution. In addition to federal lands, the guidance addresses a variety of nonpoint sources, including agricultural lands, urban and suburban areas, and septic systems.
The draft guidance, which is required by the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order, provides federal land managers with a guide to implementing the best proven tools and practices to restore and protect the region’s waterways and the Bay. The same techniques can be utilized by states, local governments, conservation districts, watershed organizations, developers, farmers and citizens in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Public comments are due April 23, 2010. EPA will then revise the document for release with a strategy for Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration in May 2010.
The Center for Watershed Protection has started a professional membership program for watershed and stormwater professionals called AWSPs (Association of Watershed and Stormwater Professionals). AWSPs is a comprehensive individual-based program designed to:
- Advance a more holistic approach to environmental management through the promotion of watershed management practices and
- Advance the watershed profession by providing technical support materials and networking opportunities.
The Conservation Leaders Network recently released a new report, "Clean Water for All: County Leaders Speak Out for Clean Water." This report tells the local stories of water pollution and destruction and the resulting harm and expense to communities. These stories remind us that to protect our local water supplies, property, infrastructure, and economies, we must look upstream to the many miles of trickling headwater and intermittently flowing streams and acres of wetlands that do most of the real work of storing and cleansing our waters.
Watershed Tool of the Month
The Watershed Academy is pleased to provide the Key EPA Internet Tools Course for Watershed Management as a continual learning opportunity for watershed professionals. This self-paced course is available online in a convenient step-by-step format. During the tutorial, participants will learn how to access and utilize many of EPA’s Web-based applications and resources that support watershed management. This introductory level course is appropriate for individuals, government and nongovernment program managers and staff interested in leveraging online information and data to support watershed analysis, planning and management. In addition to the online tutorial, live trainings can be conducted at a limited number of venues throughout the country.
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, EPA's Watershed Academy will host a special American Wetlands Month Webcast highlighting valuable tools available for improving decision-making related to coastal wetland protection and restoration. A recent report shows that despite a national trend of net gain of wetlands in the conterminous United States, the coastal watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico lost 354,000 acres, or about 59,000 acres per year during the period from 1998-2004. This Webcast will provide information on several tools that can help address impacts on coastal wetland ecosystems from immediate impacts (development) to long-term (sea level rise) in order to help improve decision-making and provide readily accessible information to practitioners. Registration is now available.
Watershed Spotlight: Local Leaders
When it comes to pairing community outreach with watershed protection, the Alice Ferguson Foundation of Maryland is talkin’ trash. Over 3 million pounds worth have been collected by volunteers since the inception of the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup in 1989. The first year of this annual River Cleanup included only two cleanup sites totaling about three miles of shoreline. Since that time, the Foundation has experienced tremendous growth in support from the community making the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup the largest regional event of its kind. In 2009 13,516 volunteers removed 291.36 tons of trash from 250 cleanup sites along the Potomac River.
- Start small by thinking globally and acting locally. Begin with what you are able to do and soon you will build the capacity to take on a heavier load.
Rather than micro-managing this huge endeavor, the Foundation delegates tasks to their volunteers. Each cleanup location has a trained site leader that recruits volunteers, distributes the cleanup supplies, and arranges for trash disposal. Volunteers can view registered clean-up sites by county on the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s website. In addition to removing tons of trash from the Potomac River Watershed, the Cleanup provides an opportunity to build lasting partnerships between community-based organizations in the region. Even elected officials have signed on to the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Treaty, committing to a trash-free Potomac by 2013.
For more information on the Alice Ferguson Foundation or the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, contact Becky Horner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To nominate a watershed group for our Spotlight feature, please contact Alison Keener (email@example.com).
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
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.
May, 2010. Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL. U.S. EPA's Office of Research and Development, in collaboration with EPA regional offices, is conducting a series of technology transfer seminars that will provide updated, state-of-the-technology design guidance on nitrogen and phosphorus control at municipal wastewater treatment plants for wastewater utilities, state and EPA permit writers and environmental engineering professionals. The Region 10 seminar will be held in Seattle on May 11-12, 2010 and the Region 5 seminar will be held in Chicago on May 25-26, 2010. The deadline for registrations is May 3, 2010. There is no registration fee to attend these seminars.
May 17-19, 2010. Plymouth, MA. Since 1990, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), in partnership with its member states, has been coordinating the Annual Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Conference, the premier forum in the NE region for sharing information and improving communication on NPS pollution issues and projects. The three-day conference brings together all those in New England and New York State involved in NPS pollution management, including participants from state, federal, and municipal governments, private sector, academia, and watershed organizations. Early registration discount is available through April 30, 2010.
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.
June 10-11, 2010. Sandusky, OH. The 2010 Ohio Stormwater Conference is a great opportunity to strengthen your skills and knowledge in an intensive workshop setting with other colleagues. The purpose of the conference is to advance the knowledge and understanding of comprehensive stormwater management for those dealing in all aspects of planning, design, implementation and regulatory compliance. The conference is intended for engineers, policy makers, scientists, managers, and elected officials throughout Ohio. On-line registration is now available.
International Specialty Conference & Eighth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress on Tropical Hydrology & Sustainable Water Resources in a Changing Climate
August 30 - September 1, 2010, Gran Melia Puerto Rico I Rio Grande, PR.
Submit Abstracts by May 14, 2010
November 1-4, 2010, Lowes Philadelphia Hotel I Philadelphia, PA. AWRA's Annual Water Resources Conference brings together water resources professionals from across the spectrum of disciplines to present, share, discuss, and debate the latest in research, case studies, on emerging water resources challenges as well as traditional topics of concern. Submit your abstract or plan to attend!