EPA Fact Sheet on Funding Agricultural BMPs with CWSRF

EPA CWSRF Fact Sheet

EPA has published a fact sheet on how the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) can be used for agricultural best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality, including drinking water sources. The fact sheet shares information about the types of projects that can be funded, along with state examples highlighting the Maryland and Virginia Farm Credit Banks that can provide financing to farmers for the entire cost of a project and can be partially repaid by a USDA grant; and the Minnesota Ag BMP Loan Program that has used CWSRF funds for over 13,000 projects by leveraging funding from the state and other sources. State drinking water programs are encouraged to reach out to their Clean Water Act program partners to discuss CWSRF funding options like this (if you haven’t already) that may be used to implement BMPs in sensitive source water protection areas. View the fact sheet here.  For more information about other uses of the CWSRF, you may also want to read through EPA’s document entitled “Financing Options for Nontraditional Eligibilities in the CWSRF Programs“.

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One Water Agriculture-Utility Partnerships Webinar

medium_resources_bigidea_2On Wednesday, January 31st from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (eastern), the US Water Alliance will hold its next webinar entitled, “Accelerate Agriculture-Utility Partnerships to Improve Water Quality,” as part of its One Water for America Policy Framework webinar series on their Seven Big Ideas. Speakers will include partners from the Tualatin and Middle Cedar Watersheds. Register for the webinar here.

EPA and USGS Surface Water Toolbox Webcast

epa-watershed-academyOn February 8, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern time), EPA’s Watershed Academy will host a webinar on the newly developed Surface Water Toolbox created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and EPA. The Surface Water Toolbox is a user-friendly, downloadable tool for water managers to estimate a wide variety of streamflow statistics. Register for the webinar here. For more information about the Watershed Academy and to view previous webinars, visit EPA’s website.

Bureau of Reclamation Funding for WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management in Western States

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The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) announced its 2018 funding opportunity for Phase I of the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program. This funding opportunity seeks proposals for activities to develop a watershed group, complete watershed restoration planning activities, and to design watershed management projects. In contrast, Phase II of this program focuses on the implementation of watershed management projects, though it is not included in this funding opportunity at this time. The goal of the whole program (for Phase I and II) is to promote the sustainable use of water resources and improve the ecological resilience of rivers and streams using collaborative conservation efforts.

Proposals are due by Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at 4:00 pm (mountain time). States, tribes, local and special districts (e.g., irrigation and water districts), local governmental entities, interstate organizations, and non-profit organizations, including existing watershed groups, within the 17 western states are eligible to apply. To view this funding opportunity, go to:  www.grants.gov. To learn more about the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Phase I grants for FY 2018, go to:  www.usbr.gov/watersmart/cwmp.

USDA NWQI Adds 30 New Watersheds and $30 Million to Improve Water Quality in 2018

NRCS NWQI

 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest more than $30 million this year in 201 high-priority watersheds across the country through its National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). This includes 30 new watersheds where targeted assistance will help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers to improve water (and drinking water) quality. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds this assistance, and in some cases, is leveraged by funds from local and state partners. State drinking water programs should coordinate with their state clean water program and their USDA NRCS state conservationist and technical committee to include drinking water priorities in these watersheds and projects. Visit the NWQI website for more information and to see the list of watersheds.

 

SWC Webinar on Engaging Drinking Water Utilities in USDA RCPP Funding Projects

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On Thursday, January 11th, 2018, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm (eastern) the Source Water Collaborative (SWC) will host a webinar as part of its Learning Exchange Webinar Series entitled, “Conservation Grant Funding & Drinking Water Utilities: Partnering for Success.” During the webinar, participants will learn about the efforts of drinking water utilities and conservation groups to partner with farming operations and landowners to protect their water supplies through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The webinar will be moderated by Adam Carpenter of AWWA and speakers will include:

  • Jimmy Bramblett, Deputy Chief of Programs, USDA NRCS
  • Tariq Baloch, Water Utility Plant Manager, Cedar Rapids. Iowa
  • Sandi Formica, Executive Director, Watershed Conservation Resource Center

Save your spot today by registering here.

Proposals Now Being Accepted for 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants

Five star

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration program is now accepting grant proposals  for 2018, and expects to award approximately $2 million in grants nationwide. The program is being directed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Wildlife Habitat Council, in cooperation with the EPA, the US Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx and Southern Company. The grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality (including protecting drinking water sources), watersheds and the species and habitats they support. Projects include a variety of ecological improvements along with targeted community outreach, education and stewardship, and will represent a mixture of urban and rural communities. Proposals are due by Wednesday, January 31, 2018 and awards will be announced in July 2018. For more information, view the Request for Proposals and visit the NFWF website.

Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership Signing Ceremony and Meeting Held This Week

 

The Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership Signing Ceremony and Meeting were held this week at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Partnership was initiated in 2005 and now includes EPA and 19 partner organizations (including ASDWA) that work collaboratively at the national level to improve decentralized performance and protect the nation’s public health and water resources. During the signing ceremony, Mike Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Water and Andrew Sawyers, Director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management provided opening remarks; and Partners introduced themselves and shared a few highlights from the 2017 Accomplishments Report. The Partnership also welcomed the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) as a new member this year. The purpose of the meeting was for members to discuss the MOU Partnership goals and begin to develop a 2017–2020 Priorities and Actions Workplan. Some of the discussed actions included:

  • Conducting a logic model exercise to determine other audiences (such as local governments and planners) for promoting decentralized systems and Septic Smart Week to achieve public health and environmental outcomes, including protecting drinking water sources.
  • Spearheading additional research opportunities for working with members of the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), that are both members of the Partnership.
  • Connecting with state Clean Water SRF programs to consider prioritization options for funding decentralized system projects.
  • Starting a workforce development effort to create and promote educational awareness and opportunities for students.

For more information about the Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and septic system resources, visit EPA’s website.

Hypoxia Task Force 2017 Report to Congress Highlights Nutrient Reduction Progress

hypoxiaThe Hypoxia Task Force has released its 2017 Report to Congress on the actions the federal, state, and tribal members have taken toward the goal of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) and shrinking the size of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. This is the second biennial Report to Congress, after the first one in 2015. It was developed and released in accordance with the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments (HABHRCA) Act of 2014. The Reports to Congress describe the progress made through activities directed by the Hypoxia Task Force toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 to:

  • Target vulnerable lands and quantify nutrient load reductions achieved through federal programs, subject to future appropriations.
  • Implement state nutrient reduction strategies, including targeting vulnerable lands and quantifying nutrient reductions.
  • Expand and build new partnerships and alliances with universities, the agricultural community, cities, and others.
  • Track progress towards the interim target and long-term goal, with intent to understand whether the current actions are appropriate to meet the goal.

The report does include basic information about nutrient impacts on drinking water sources and treatment, as well as specific challenges and actions the MARB affiliated states are taking to address them. To view the report and learn more about the Hypoxia Task Force, visit EPA’s website.

Webinar on Addressing Nutrient Pollution in our Nation’s Waters

NACWA

On Friday, November 3rd from 1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern), the US Water Alliance, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and the Water Environment Federation will host a webinar to discuss their new policy brief entitled, Addressing Nutrient Pollution in Our Nation’s Waters: The Role of a Statewide Utility.  The paper presents options for a collaborative approach with agriculture, utilities, businesses, environmental groups, government, and academia that focuses on cost-effective, results-driven investments and projects for reducing nutrient pollution. For more information and to register, go HERE.