EPA Launches New Online Training Module on Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources

EPA has released a new online training module, “Understanding Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources.” This training module is intended to increase water resource professionals’ understanding of the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on water resources, and the challenges that water resource professionals face. The module also describes how federal, state, tribal, and local governments and communities are working to make the United States more resilient to the impacts of climate. The 45-minute training is part of the EPA Watershed Academy Web certificate program. Click this link to learn more: http://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/understanding-climate-change-impacts-water-resources.

Plan Now to Promote Fix a Leak Week in March!

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The eighth annual Fix a Leak Week will take place March 14 – 20 this year.  State drinking water programs and WaterSense partners are encouraged to promote this week with your water systems and communities through newsletters and social media, and hosting leak detective-themed events.  Fixing indoor and outdoor leaks can reduce the more than 1 trillion gallons of water lost each year in homes across the country and each household can save more than 10,000 gallons of water on average by taking three simple steps to:  “check, twist, and replace.”  For more information and resources, and to see what some WaterSense utility partners have done to help consumers in their area nip drips, view the WaterSense Current Winter 2016 newsletter HERE.

Plan Now for National Groundwater Awareness week in March!

 

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National Groundwater Awareness Week will take place again this year from March 6-12. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) encourages you to promote this week to support groundwater awareness on your websites and social media, and share with your water systems.  This week provides an excellent opportunity to educate the public about groundwater and its importance to public health, quality of life, and the environment.  Following are links to a variety of messages and materials NGWA has created about groundwater and water well stewardship (including information for private well maintenance).  Some can be used as is and others can be adapted, modified, or customized to your state or locale.

This year, NGWA has also developed a news media database (via excel download) send news releases and announcements to the media.  This will help you further promote your organization and groundwater awareness in conjunction with Groundwater Awareness Week.  To make it easy to locate news media in your state, go to the telephone number column. The area codes are in descending numerical order so you can easily pick out media with area codes in your state. Then just copy and paste the corresponding email addresses in order to email a news release, news advisory, an invitation to interview, an announcement, etc.

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.

 

Grant Funding Now Available from New Healthy Watersheds Consortium

The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program has just published a Request for Proposals (RFP) to support local projects that protect and sustain healthy watersheds (including drinking water sources).  Through this program, EPA will provide approximately $3.75 million over six years to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities for projects that develop and/or support state, interstate, and tribal healthy watersheds programs and enhance collaboration among the many groups who benefit from protecting healthy watersheds such as drinking water utilities, hunters and fisherman, foresters and farmers, and more. The Endowment is also matching a portion of EPA’s financial commitment to the partnership and expects to leverage additional funding from other public and private sources.

The goal of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program is to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. This goal will be achieved by:

  • Funding key projects identified in existing watershed protection or conservation plans;
  • Building the sustainable organizational infrastructure, social support, and long-term funding commitments necessary to implement large-scale protection of healthy watersheds; and
  • Supporting innovative or catalytic projects that may accelerate or broadly advance the field of practice for watershed protection efforts.

For more information and to view and download the RFP and other helpful documents, visit the website HERE.  For questions, please contact Peter Stangel at peter@usendowment.org.

 

JAWRA Article Highlights Geospatial Methodology to Identify Concentrated Agricultural Runoff in Coastal Virginia

The Journal of the American Water Resources Association published an article in its December issue about a geospatial methodology that has been developed using high resolution Lidar-derived digital elevation models (DEMs) to help track runoff from agricultural fields and identify areas of potential concentrated flow through vegetated riparian areas in the Coastal Plain of Virginia.  The methodology was found to be an effective way to determine areas of flow concentration and identify buffer locations that may be ineffective at trapping sediment and nutrients coming from individual agricultural fields. While this study was specific to this area, this methodology has the potential to improve results of management practices aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution leaving agricultural fields in other areas throughout the US where Lidar-derived DEMs are available.

ASDWA Sponsors Session at March 2016 AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference in Providence, RI

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) will hold its Sustainable Water Management Conference this year from March 7-10, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  ASDWA is pleased to be a sponsor of the conference this year and will be hosting a half-day session entitled, “Source Water Protection Actions and Opportunities for Partners at Multiple Levels,” that will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 8th.  This will be the first session in a three-part source water protection series that will also include sessions on “Tools You Can Use to Protect Your Source Water,” and “Seeing Green: Improving Water Quality and Quantity through Forestry,” on Wednesday morning and afternoon.  These sessions will include speakers from ASDWA, the Rhode Island and Connecticut State Drinking Water Programs, EPA, and local water utilities.

The conference will include sessions on a variety of other topics in addition to source water protection, such as infrastructure management, watershed management, conservation costs and benefits, water reuse, water and energy efficiency, green infrastructure, and more.  For more information, to view the conference program agenda, and to register, visit the AWWA web site HERE.

Funding Opportunities Highlighted in EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Newsletter

Following are a few funding opportunities highlighted in EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Newsletter.  For more information about these and other grant opportunities, please visit the EPA’s website.

NOAA 2016 Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program:  NOAA announced funding to evaluate and quantify the ability of coastal natural and nature-based features to mitigate the effects of sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, and wave run-up on coastal ecosystems and communities. Proposals should model the impacts of sea level rise and quantify the vulnerability and resilience of communities (including drinking water infrastructure) to inundation and sea level rise under various deployment levels of nature-based ecosystems, which include forests, wetlands, floodplains, dune systems, seagrasses, barrier islands, and reefs.  Eligible applicants include:  State, local, and tribal governments.  Applications are due by January 8, 2016.  For more information, visit the funding opportunity description.

NFWF Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program:  The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is making $2.5 million available for funding diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds, and the species and habitats they support. Projects should address stormwater management by designing and implementing green infrastructure such as tree canopies, bio swales, permeable pavers, bio retention, green roofs, downspout disconnection, and native vegetation that can also protect drinking water sources.  Eligible applicants include: State, local, and tribal governments, nonprofits, and educational institutions.  Applications are due February 3, 2015.  For more information, visit the funding opportunity description.

EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement:  EPA has announced $1.2 million in funding to support community-based organizations to collaborate and partner with industry, government, academia, and other stakeholders to develop and implement solutions that address local environmental and public health issues, including drinking water. Proposals should include outreach to affected underserved vulnerable communities and residents about environmental and public health issues and engage them in activities to plan, access, improve, and benefit from their local environment.  Eligible applicants include: Tribal governments, Native American organizations, and nonprofits.  Applications are due by February 12, 2016.  For more information, visit the request for proposals.

December 8 Webinar on NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Applications

NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Applications Program has announced a series of webinars about access and usage of global, high-resolution, precipitation data from remote sensing observations.  This information may be useful to state drinking water programs and water systems that use forecasting and modeling to consider water quality and quantity impacts on drinking water supplies.  The first webinar will be held next week, on December 8th from 8:00am – 9:30am (eastern) and repeated again from 2:00pm – 3:30pm (eastern).  This first webinar will provide an overview of the GPM mission, data products, and data access tools.  Please visit the NASA website for more information and to register.

EPA Seeks Input on Existing Programs that Protect Water Quality from Forest Road Discharges

On Tuesday, November 10, EPA published a Federal Register Notice to solicit public input and information on existing public and private sector programs that address stormwater discharges from forest roads. This information will assist EPA in responding to the Environmental Defense Center, Inc. remand that requires EPA to consider whether the Clean Water Act requires the Agency to regulate forest roads. This notice does not imply that EPA has made any decision to do so. EPA is considering the implementation, effectiveness, and scope of a variety of existing programs in addressing water quality impacts attributable to stormwater discharges from forest roads prior to making any decision. EPA is also coordinating with other Federal agencies to assess the need for additional stormwater controls, consistent with Federal law, including the recent 2014 amendments to the Clean Water Act.

State drinking water programs should consider providing any available information that might exist on source water/water quality protection programs that address forest roads in your state, or sharing this request with any of your water systems that are undertaking these types of projects.  Comments must be received on or before January 11, 2016.  You may submit comments using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0668 through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov.

2016 USDA Water Conservation Funding and Two New Focus Areas for Ogallala Aquifer Initiative

USDA’s  Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced $8 million in funding and two new focus areas for the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) in Fiscal Year 2016.  The OAI supports targeted, local efforts to help farmers and ranchers conserve the quality and quantity of water.  This funding is now available for two new focus areas in Oklahoma and the Middle Republican Natural Resource District in Nebraska, in addition to the seven current and ongoing focus areas in five states (Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas).

The Ogallala Aquifer has suffered in recent years from increased periods of drought and declining water resources.  It is the largest aquifer in the US and the primary water source for the High Plains region.  Covering nearly 174,000 square miles, it supports the production of nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the US and supplies 30 percent of all water used for irrigation in the US.  NRCS analysis of Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) conservation projects in the region, including those implemented through OAI, estimated reduced water withdrawals of at least 1.5 million acre-feet, or 489 billion gallons of water, from 2009 through 2013 and an energy savings equivalent of almost 33 million gallons of diesel fuel due to reduced irrigation.  For more information on the 2016 OAI, view the press release.