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) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
2) NAWCA U.S. Standard Grants
3) National Environmental Education Training Program
4) Environmental Training for Youth
5) Watershed Intern Program
6) Announcement of Stakeholder Input on Proposed Listening Sessions
7) New "Water You Waiting For" Video
8) Building Green: A Success Story in Philadelphia
9) Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems
10) New Update of BASINS Software Now Available
11) Healthy Lakeshores Through Better Shoreline Stewardship
12) EPA’s Capacity Building Team
13) International SWCS Annual Conference
15) Watershed Management Conference
16) National NPS Monitoring Conference
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 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.
Through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. The standard grants program is competitive and requires that grant requests be matched by partner contributions at no less than a 1-to-1 ratio. Funds from U.S. Federal sources may contribute towards a project, but are not eligible as match. These grants support projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico that involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats. The application deadline is July 30, 2010.
The 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.
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. Each selected individual or group is given the opportunity to serve a seasonal on-site assignment, usually between April 1 and November 1. During the assignments, individuals or groups are introduced to various real-world conservation and rehabilitation activities such as invasive species management, habitat restoration, wildlife management, and public education and interpretation, mixed with informal and formal training sessions directed by USFWS. 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.
On May 26, 2010, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, Peter Silva, signed a Federal Register Notice seeking stakeholder input to help EPA determine whether to modify the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations as they apply to municipal sanitary sewer collection systems and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). Input will be provided through both written comments and during four public listening sessions in late June and early July. A webcast will be accessible nationally for members of the public that cannot attend the listening sessions. In addition, EPA is seeking the public’s perspective on the 2005 Draft Peak Flows Policy. Written comments are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.
A new video, "Water You Waiting For," (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/operatorcertification/index.html) is now available for viewing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Website. Produced by EPA as part of the Agency's efforts to promote water sector careers as green jobs, the "Water You Waiting For" video is designed for high school and vocational students. The video shows vocational students with internships at drinking water systems in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and highlights the many different types of jobs available at water utilities. Published reports indicate that approximately 30 percent of the water sector workforce is eligible to retire in the next 10 years. EPA, American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environment Federation (WEF) are partnering in various efforts to highlight the need for qualified professionals to enter this important field.
The video is expected to be available for viewing on AWWA and WEF Websites early this summer.
EPA's Office of Water produced this 11-minute video which highlights innovative efforts by green builders in Philadelphia who are helping protect and restore environmental quality and beautify the city. The video features the work of Philadelphia’s Onion Flats LLC, a company that is designing residential buildings with the highest ratings for energy and water efficiency. By installing cisterns, green roofs, porous pavers, solar panels, and Energy Star appliances, the builders are capturing rainwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and saving energy. The exciting news is that the units are selling even in a depressed market, thanks to many of the amenities, including the attractive green roofs, reduced utility bills and proximity to public transit. At the outset of the video, Howard Neukrug with Philadelphia’s Office of Watersheds explains the importance of green stormwater infrastructure. The city is now offering incentives to builders and developers to use green techniques to help meet clean water and other environmental goals.
A new USGS report explains the effects of urban development on stream ecosystem health. Surprisingly, aquatic insect communities show little, if any, initial resistance to low levels of urban development that were previously thought to be protective of aquatic life. The study showed, for example, that by the time a watershed reaches about 10 percent impervious cover in urban areas, aquatic insect communities are degraded by as much as 33 percent in comparison to aquatic insect communities in forested watersheds. The USGS determined the magnitude and pattern of the physical, chemical, and biological response of streams to increasing urbanization and how these responses vary throughout nine metropolitan areas: Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; Raleigh, NC; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Dallas, TX; and Milwaukee, WI. Comparisons among the nine metropolitan areas show that not all urban streams respond in a similar way. Land cover prior to urbanization can affect how aquatic insects and fish respond to urban development and is important to consider in setting realistic stream restoration goals in urban areas. Learn more about how stream ecosystems respond to urban development from USGS reports and video podcasts on the USGS website (http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/urban/).
Watershed Tool of the Month
New Update of BASINS Software Now Available
BASINS (Better Assessment Science Integrating point and Nonpoint Sources) is a multipurpose environmental analysis system designed for use by regional, state, and local agencies in performing watershed and water quality-based studies. Update 3 of the BASINS 4.0 software was recently released. Like previous releases, Update3 includes within the open-source MapWindow GIS™ interface, a Data Download Tool, project builder, watershed delineation routines, and data analysis and model output visualization tools. New features in Update 3 include plug-in interfaces for well-known watershed and water quality models SWMM5 (Stormwater Water Management Model version 5), WASP7 (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program version 7), and SWAT 2005 (Soil and Water Assessment Tool).
Join us for this exciting Webcast in honor Lakes Appreciation Month and lean about improving lakeshore habitat through better shoreline stewardship. EPA’s first-ever assessment of the ecological condition of the nation’s lakes, the National Lakes Assessment, identifies poor lakeshore habitat and high levels of nutrients as leading stressors affecting the biological health of lakes. Experts from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine will share innovative local and statewide lakeshore protection initiatives, touching on both voluntary and regulatory measures. All those who care about lakes—lake and homeowner associations, natural resource agencies, state and local governments, anglers, realtors, and others—are invited to learn about threats to our freshwater lakes and ways to make a difference. Webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance. Participants are encouraged to download presentations prior to the Webcast.
Watershed Spotlight: Local Leaders
If you are a local organization leading your community toward watershed protection, EPA wants to hear from you! As part of EPA's national strategy for improving water quality on a watershed basis, the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds has established a Capacity Building Team to accelerate local watershed protection and restoration efforts. The Capacity Building Team’s role is to facilitate the work of watershed groups and local governments by providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Part of the team’s charge is to obtain feedback on how EPA can help meet your organization’s needs and to make your efforts more effective. The team will use your input to promote the development of tools and training that will yield better environmental results. Please email your comments to Alison Keener (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Don Waye (email@example.com).
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
July 18-21, 2010. St. Louis, MO. Join your colleagues in St. Louis for the 65th annual international conference of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The conference includes workshops, concurrent sessions, symposia, posters, plenary sessions, and technical tours designed to raise awareness of conference participants to recent developments in the science and art of natural resource conservation and environmental management. The 2010 conference will take place at the Hilton at the Ballpark in downtown St. Louis.
August 1-5, 2010. San Antonio, TX. The 9th annual North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, StormCon will be held in San Antonio, TX on August 1-5, 2010. This is an opportunity for stormwater managers, regulators, engineers, consultants, and contractors to learn about the latest stormwater innovations and technologies. StormCon features the largest exhibition of stormwater equipment and technologies in one place. Online registration is open.
August 23-27, 2010. Madison, WI. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) is sponsoring the 2010 Watershed Management Conference: Innovations in Watershed Management Under Land Use and Climate Change. The conference will highlight innovative approaches for managing water resources under climate and land use change. Relevant topics include hydrologic measurement and modeling, integrated and/or adaptive water management, aquatic ecosystem restoration, risk-based design, and the use of regional predictions of climate change.
November 16-18, 2010. Milwaukee, WI. The Annual Nonpoint Source Monitoring Workshop is an important forum for sharing information and improving communication for controlling and monitoring NPS pollution issues and projects. The focus of the 18th National Workshop is on nutrients and what lessons we have learned that can be factored into the projects funded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). A number of technical workshops and interactive learning sessions will be offered to build knowledge and skills, transfer technology and promote innovative evaluation/documentation techniques. This conference will bring together NPS monitoring and management personnel from state, federal, Tribal and municipal governments, private sector, academia, environmental groups and local watershed groups. Early bird registration ends September 17, 2010.