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EPA awards $1.3M for water quality projects in Region 8 states

Release Date: 6/8/2005
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      Denver -- EPA's Denver office announced today that it will provide nearly $1.3 M to 20 water quality projects in the states of Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and three tribal nations. The grants, awarded under various Clean Water Act programs, will support research, monitoring, data collection, standard-setting, training and resource assessment, restoration and protection activities focused on rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, ground water and other water resources.

      "These projects illustrate the range and significance of the water quality issues being addressed by our partners," said EPA's regional administrator Robbie Roberts. "Collectively, these efforts will enhance our understanding of key issues and lead to practical solutions to water quality problems in communities across our Region."

The competitive awards announced today include resources under five EPA programs. The Regional Geographic Initiative (RGI) is a grassroots approach for long-term environmental protection tailored to communities. It is a model of government partnering with communities and industries to develop long-term solutions to environmental protection. Wetlands Program Development Grants aid in the development of wetland protection programs. The goals of EPA's wetland program include increasing the quantity and quality of wetlands in the U.S. by conserving and restoring wetland acreage and improving wetland health. The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program funds are intended for states and nonprofit agencies toward making progress in fulfilling EPA's commitment to resolving pollution problems in water bodies that have been identified as impaired. National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) -- Water Quality Cooperative Agreements make grant dollars available for research and innovative projects that will reduce or eliminate pollution discharges in surface waters. Source Water Protection funds help communities find ways to manage possible sources of contaminants in their watershed or above their aquifer to prevent pollution of the source of their drinking water supply.

Colorado award recipients include:

Regents of the University of Colorado
Reproductive Disruption in Colorado Fish
Amount: $180,668 (NPDES)
This project is an integrated field and laboratory investigation of the emerging eco-human health issue of the impacts of endocrine-active waste water effluents on fish. Actual impacts will be assessed through field surveys. Potential impacts and causative association will be determined through controlled exposure experiments.

Metropolitan (Denver) Wastewater Reclamation District
Urad Molybdenum Mine Tailings Revitalization
Amount: $110,000 (NPDES)
This project will assess plant species and diversity on the reclaimed Urad tailing ponds near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. Plant canopy and production estimates will be determined and measured against reference sites. Molybdenum (Mo) uptake and availability in dominant grasses and forbs will be measured, and the absorption of Mo by animals fed a control forage and forage harvested from the tailing ponds will be measured utilizing liver biopsy, and total urine and feces analysis. A soil microbial assay and water quality analysis will also be performed.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Wetlands Assessments
Amount: $53,226 (Wetlands)
The project includes water quality sampling and the development of numeric water quality standards for wetlands on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Water quality will be sampled at eight wetlands and compared with results collected in 2004. The data will be used to classify wetlands and develop water quality criteria for wetlands.

Douglas County
Wildfire Effects on Stream Water Quality
Amount: $50,000 (RGI)
This grant will support water quality sampling from a burned (2002 Hayman wildfire area) and an unburned drainage in the Upper South Platte River watershed for a range of constituents at several seasonal sampling intensities. Funds from this grant will be used for continued sampling and a summary report which will provide valuable information on the effects of wildfires on water quality.

Willow Creek Reclamation Committee (Mineral County)
Willow Creek Watershed Management
Amount: $29,243 (RGI)
The project provides for management of the mine-impacted Willow Creek watershed through a watershed management plan, with tasks including best-management practice development and implementation, outreach/education, planning, partnership development and fund-raising.

The Colorado Watershed Network
Targeted Colorado River Watch Water Quality Monitoring
Amount: $25,921 (TMDL)
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado Watershed Network through River Watch will gather existing data and develop and implement study designs for rivers needing further assessment to determine impairment status throughout the state. The effort will provide results to the State of Colorado Water Quality Control Division and upload data to EPA's national water quality database.

North Dakota award recipients include:

North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Water Quality
A Critical Low-flow Model for the Red River of the North
Amount: $42,993 (TMDL); $21,557 (RGI)
The purpose of this project is to analyze and publish data collected from a 30.5-mile reach of the Red River during 2003. The report will present and describe velocity and reaeration determinations and characterize the water-quality constituents. The project will also recalibrate a U.S. Geological Survey water-quality model (QUAL2E) using the low-flow data collected in September 2003. The data will be used to update: 1) hydraulic parameters; 2) reaeration coefficients; 3) reaction rate coefficients for oxidation of ammonia; and 4) reaction rate coefficients for oxidation of organic material. This updated model will better inform water quality protection efforts along the river.

River Keepers
Uniting Urban and Rural Riparian Protection
Amount: $30,000 (RGI)
River Keepers, a nonprofit group dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Red River of the North, will develop river restoration educational materials for agricultural producers. Displays and written material unique to the basin will be developed to complement existing materials.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Nature Preserve Program/ Natural Heritage Inventory
Missouri River Riparian and Terrestrial Ecosystem Survey
Amount: $27,100 (RGI)
This project will collect survey data through the identification, classification, mapping and assessment of threatened and impaired ecological communities along the Missouri River. Data will be integrated into Geographic Information System maps and will be used to define the boundaries of ecological communities and create quality spatial data products.

South Dakota award recipients include:

The Plant Science Department, South Dakota State University
Antibacterials in Manure and Biosolids influence microbial activity
Amount: $100,100 (NPDES)
This project will explore the connection among agronomic management practices -- herbicide use in crop production, antibacterial chemical use in animal production and human health, and landspreading of manure and biosolids-- to better understand their interactions. Laboratory and field data will be collected to define basic processes that occur and their interactions.

Rocky Mountain Watershed Network
Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Training
Amount: $69,000 (Source Water)
The Rocky Mountain Watershed Network will use recently developed training tools, local experts and resources, to provide 1) one local training in an identified priority area; 2) one regional "train-the-trainer," service provider training; and 3) one long-term active on-line training.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Pesticide and Hydrocarbon Screening
Amount: $54,950 (Source Water)
This project will provide for pesticide and hydrocarbon screening in up to 60 wells on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Candidate wells for sampling and a future well-plugging program will be identified from a public participation project and from an ongoing well inventory project.

West Dakota Water Development District
Enhancement of Source Water Assessments in Karstic Aquifers
Amount: $40,000 (RGI)
In this project, water samples will be collected from 40 wells completed in the Madison aquifer and analyzed for stable isotopes to trace source waters, chlorofluorocarbons and tritium for age dating, and low-level nutrients to indicate human influence. A more specific understanding of source waters for local wells will be documented from this data.

Yankton Sioux Indian Tribe
Amount: $27,000 (Wetlands)
The Yankton Sioux Tribe is pursuing an active program to better understand and protect their wetland resources. As part of this program, ten permanent, semi-permanent, temporary or seasonal wetlands will be sampled for mercury/methylmercury and common ions during 2005.

Utah award recipients include:

Utah Department of Environmental Quality
A Reference-based Rapid Assessment Method for Utah Wetlands
Amount: $100,000 (Wetlands)
Work will consist of reviewing and field testing several provisional (non-calibrated) wetland assessment methods under development by various agencies in Utah. A work group has been organized to evaluate, compare, integrate and test these methods. This interagency project team will collaborate with the National Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Work Group to review/test other reference-based rapid assessment methods now in use around the country. The project will develop a rapid wetland assessment method that has been field verified using best professional judgment. The final product also will include a detailed quality assurance project plan for calibrating the method using reference wetland data.

Utah Department of Environmental Quality
A Wetland Reference Network for the Great Salt Lake Area/Great Basin Ecoregion
Amount: $100,000 (Wetlands)
Activities under this project will consist of selecting a set of reference sites for each of the major wetland classes/subclasses associated with the Great Salt Lake. Biological and hydrogeomorphic data will be collected at each of the sites using protocols and approaches described in assessment modules published by EPA and methods developed by the Utah wetland assessment projects. Acquired information will be interpreted to document the aquatic life and wildlife uses of each wetland class. The characterization of wetland use serves as the foundation for (a) building a Great Salt Lake wetland conservation strategy and (b) making informed regulatory decisions at individual project sites.

Utah Department of Natural Resources
Utah Wetland Technical Outreach Project
Amount: $54,221 (Wetlands)
This project will provide a series of wetlands training courses, including training the members of the Utah Wetland Advisory committee in wetlands ecological condition, assessment and model building. The grant will also provide the committee with wetlands data and assistance in interpretation.

Utah Geologic Service
Groundwater Modeling to Assess Effects of Wetlands on Farmington Bay
Amount: $53,226 (Wetlands)
This study will evaluate the hydrologic and quality/functionality effects of development in Davis County and the impact of increased groundwater withdrawals on the Farmington Bay wetlands.

Utah Division of Water Quality
TMDL Development for Duchesne River Watershed
Amount: $37,700 (TMDL)
This grant will support water quality analyses of Total Dissolved Solids for the lower Duchesne River and two tributaries (Antelope and Indian Canyon Creeks) that will result in the development of quantitative data on TDS that will inform pollution-reduction efforts or site-specific water quality criteria that will help manage water quality in the watershed.

Wyoming award recipients include:

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
Development of Real-Time Sodium Adsorption Ratios for Watersheds
Amount: $82,000 (NPDES)
Through this project, WDEQ will develop equations to provide real-time estimates of sodium-adsorption ratios based on water-quality samples collected in the Tongue River, Powder River, Cheyenne River and Belle Fourche River watersheds. Identifying sodium-adsorption ratios for these watersheds will inform the permitting process and allow water managers to make decisions about the suitability of waters for agricultural and other designated uses.

For more on Region 8 Water program grants visit: