USDA NRCS Seeks Applications for Conservation Innovation Grants

The US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) has announced that applications are being accepted for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.  NRCS will provide up to $20 million for CIG grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands.  State and local governments, Federally recognized Indian Tribes, non-governmental and educational organizations, private businesses, and individuals are encouraged to apply.  NRCS will accept pre-proposals for initial review before inviting entities to submit full proposals. Pre-proposals are due Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  For more information and to apply, visit the NRCS web site HERE and/or APPLY.

Mark Your Calendars for Fix a Leak Week: March 16–22

Mark your calendars for Fix a Leak Week that will take place from March 16-22.  This week serves as a great way to jump-start your water conservation outreach in 2015 by reminding customers of water utilities and the general public to save valuable water and money this week (and all year long) by checking and fixing their plumbing, fixtures, and irrigation systems.

EPA’s WaterSense program is encouraging its partners (including state drinking water programs) to promote the benefits of fixing household leaks and reducing water waste by hosting “Chasing Leaks” running races and other community events. For ideas, check out the map with links to last year’s events.  If you are a WaterSense partner and are planning Fix a Leak Week events or outreach; would like to receive assistance; and/or would like to receive recognition and promotional help, please contact the WaterSense program by February 27, 2015.

WaterSense will also host a Fix a Leak Week Twitter party on Monday, March 16, 2015, from 2:00pm to 3:00pm (eastern). This will be a virtual gathering where partners tweet or retweet using the hashtag #FixALeak to get Fix a Leak Week trending.

For more information, visit EPA’s Fix a Leak web site and/or EPA’s WaterSense web site.  If you have any questions regarding WaterSense, Fix a Leak Week, or the March 16 Twitter party, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or watersense@epa.gov.

Plan Now for National Groundwater Awareness Week: March 8-14

The 17th annual National Groundwater Awareness Week will take place from March 8-14 this year.  The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) invites you to celebrate the week by helping to educate the public about groundwater and its importance to public health, quality of life, and the environment.  State drinking water programs will want to share the materials and messages that NGWA has created with their utilities and the public about groundwater and water well stewardship (including information for private well maintenance).  Please take a look at the following resources that are available for your use.  Some can be used as is and others can be adapted or customized to your state or a local community.

Please join NGWA and the promotional partners (including ASDWA) in letting the public know about groundwater and how to be a good groundwater and water well steward. A big thanks goes out to those state agencies that have already committed and are listed on the Groundwater Awareness Week web page!   To be listed as a promotional partner, for more information, and to ask questions, please contact Cliff Treyens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org.

WEBINAR LOG IN CHANGE: February 3rd CWA-SDWA Toolkit Introductory Webinar

On February 3rd, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm (eastern time), ASDWA, GWPC, and ACWA will host the first of four free webinars in a series to introduce participants to the CWA-SDWA Toolkit entitled, “Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water Sources and Advance Watershed Goals through the Clean Water Act:  A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal, and Federal Water Program Managers.”  During this webinar, speakers from the three convening associations, each of EPA’s Office of Water Programs (the Office of Science and Technology (OST), the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), the Office of Wastewater Management (OWM), and the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW)), EPA Region 5, and the State of Oregon, will provide a brief overview of each section of the toolkit.  During subsequent webinars, speakers will provide more detailed information about each section of the toolkit and share case examples from a variety of states.

PLEASE CHANGE – WE HAVE A NEW WEBINAR LOG IN:

https://epa.connectsolutions.com/swp2/

(There is no need to register in advance, just log in as a guest at the time of the webinar.)

Webinar Audio:  You may listen through the speakers on your pc or alternatively, call-in to the webinar at:

PHONE:  866-270-1909

Passcode: 211489#

NRCS Seeks Applications for Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that applications are now being accepted for up to $20 million in grants to facilitate the creation of new, innovative markets for carbon credits, providing additional revenue sources for producers and address natural resource conservation challenges. These grants are available for state, local, and tribal governments, NGOs, individuals, and others as part of the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands.  NRCS will accept pre-proposals for initial review before inviting entities to submit full proposals. Pre-proposals are due Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  For more information and to apply, visit the web site HERE.

Mark Your Calendars – Four Webinars in February 2015

February 3:  CWA-SDWA Toolkit Introductory Webinar

On February 3, from 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern time), ASDWA, GWPC, and ACWA will host the first of four free webinars in a series to introduce participants to the CWA-SDWA Toolkit entitled, “Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water Sources and Advance Watershed Goals through the Clean Water Act:  A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal, and Federal Water Program Managers.”  During this webinar, speakers from the three convening associations, each of EPA’s Office of Water Programs (the Office of Science and Technology (OST), the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), the Office of Wastewater Management (OWM), and the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW)), EPA Region 5, and the State of Oregon, will provide a brief overview of each section of the toolkit.  During subsequent webinars, speakers will provide more detailed information about each section of the toolkit and share case examples from a variety of states.  WEBINAR LOG IN:  https://acwa.adobeconnect.com/cwa-sdwa_toolkit_intro/ (There is no need to register in advance, just log in as a guest at the time of the webinar.)

 

February 5:  Webcast on Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Watershed Assessment in USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project

Join EPA for a Watershed Academy webcast on February 5, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (eastern time) to learn about lessons from the past 10 years of USDA’s Watershed Assessments in the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).  Renown agricultural research experts will share some of the key findings from the CEAP Watershed Assessments on how the suite, timing and spatial distribution of conservation practices influence and impact local water quality outcomes.  Topics covered will include nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment loss reduction and various approaches to targeting, as well as overall lessons learned from the CEAP Watershed Assessments.  Register HERE:  www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts.

 

February 13:  How to Implement and Fund a State Water Loss Control Program: A Georgia Case Study

ASDWA invites you to join us on February 13, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm (eastern time) for a free webinar about Georgia’s state water loss management program, that serves as an example to be replicated by other states.  State and EPA drinking water and SRF financing program personnel are encouraged to attend. Register HERE:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2817501109176570114.

Attendees of this webinar will learn about Georgia’s Water Loss Management Program that stemmed from a 2010 law establishing a statewide requirement for water systems (with populations above 3,300) to conduct and submit an annual AWWA Water Audit. To support this requirement, the State used SRF set-aside funds to implement a comprehensive training and technical assistance program for the utilities; conduct quality assurance before the audit submittals; and develop a validation program to provide quality control after the submittals. Attendees of this webinar will gain an understanding of the overall program, why the validation step is so critical in the process, and why posting of results must be done very carefully. During the webinar, attendees will hear from the following speakers:

  • Lebone Moeti of the Georgia Drinking Water Program – will share the regulatory perspective on how the auditing mandate has been implemented, including key lessons learned, and how the audit data is being utilized.
  • Will Jernigan, the Georgia Water Loss Control Committee Chair – will share how the Committee was established; how they are serving as an ongoing resource to reinforce the business behaviors and keep the annual audits relevant; and how they are guiding efficiency improvements.
  • Jason Bodwell, Georgia’s SRF Program Manager – will share how they have leveraged this training and technical assistance to enhance their SRF Loan Program.

  

February 23:  New Sustainability Webinar Coming Soon!

On February 23, from 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern time) EPA will hold the second webinar in its four part Sustainability series.  This event will include two discussion topics – the first on “Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Water Utility Roadmap” by Jim Horne from EPA’s Office of Water – and, secondly, “Operational Resiliency,” by Austin Water Utility Deputy Director Daryl Slusher and City of Phoenix Director of Water Services Kathryn Sorenson.  Register HERE:  Moving Toward Sustainability

EPA Releases Connectivity Report to Inform its Waters of the U.S. Rule

On January 15th, EPA’s Office of Research and Development released the final science report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters.  The report summarizes current scientific understanding about the connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters. The report is based on an EPA review of the literature on the scientific evidence regarding the effects that streams, non-tidal wetlands, and open-waters have on larger downstream waters such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans. The report concludes that streams, wetlands, and other open-waters influence the integrity of downstream waters through both structural and functional connections. EPA, along with other federal agencies and states, can use this scientific report to inform policy and regulatory decisions, including the Clean Water Rule being developed jointly by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  That rule would clarify what constitutes a “water of the U.S.” and should thus be afforded the protections under the Clean Water Act.

Ken Kopocis, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, has written a blog for additional perspective on using this science to inform our work on the Clean Water Rule. http://1.usa.gov/1we6FDw

A blog about the science has also been written by Lek Kadeli, the Acting Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development. http://1.usa.gov/1wdP6Di

Find the report at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=296414

USDA Announces 2014-2015 RCPP Projects

USDA has announced the first projects to be funded under the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  These 115 projects, across all 50 states and Puerto Rico, will receive more than $370 million in Federal funding and are estimated to leverage an additional $400 million in partner contributions.  The projects focus on improving the nation’s water quality, supporting wildlife habitat, and enhancing the environment.  Six of the listed project descriptions specifically mention drinking water.  These six projects are located in Kansas, the Chesapeake Bay, Arkansas, Maine, Ohio, and West Virginia.  For more information, visit the USDA web site.

USGS Receives Funds for Groundwater Monitoring Network

As part of the FY 15 CROmnibus funding package, ASDWA has learned that funding has also been made available for a US Geological Survey initiative to sustain data collection efforts.  The National Groundwater Monitoring Network (NGWMN) is funded at $2,600,000.  Appropriations language calls on the Survey to provide cost-share grants to states in the form of cooperative agreements to upgrade monitoring networks to national standards and to incorporate wells into the network.  To learn more about the NGWMN, please visit http://cida.usgs.gov/ngwmn/

Source Water Collaborative Publishes Call to Action

The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has just published a “Call to Action” that ASDWA helped to develop.  This document includes a future vision in which “All drinking water sources are adequately protected,” along with key actions for state, federal, and local partners to:  update and improve source water assessments and protection plans; protect drinking water sources and work with key partners; and implement rapid emergency notification and response procedures.  Please note that this was a “soft launch” of the Call to Action paper, to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act Celebratory Event that was held last week.  The SWC’s full promotion of the Call to Action  is planned for early 2015. To accompany the attached 4-pager, the full promotion will also feature a companion document that includes informational resources and tools for SWC organizations and their members to facilitate the proposed actions.  To view and download the Call to Action, visit the SWC home page at www.sourcewatercollaborative.org.