RFP Now Open for Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program

RFP Now Open for Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant ProgramThe 2019 Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium (HWC) Grant Program. The HWC is a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, EPA, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Up to $1.2 million is available for projects that accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds (including drinking water watersheds) across the nation. The primary focus for proposals should be on the protection and stewardship of land in the watershed, rather than just water quality improvements. The due date for proposals is February 4, 2019. For more information, view the Request for Proposals for eligibility criteria; visit the HWC Grant Program website; and register for the informational webinar session on Wednesday, October 24, at 2:00 pm (eastern).

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Register Now for the May 9th SWC Forest to Faucets Webinar

swc_logoThe Source Water Collaborative (SWC) is pleased to announce a free webinar on Wednesday, May 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern) entitled, “A Preliminary Look at the National Forests to Faucets Analysis 2.0 (F2F2).” During the webinar, Sally Claggett of the US Forest Service will share how they are updating the original Forests to Faucets analysis to quantify, rank, and illustrate the direct geographic connection between private and public forests, surface water drinking water supplies, and populations that depend on them. The new F2F2 includes a three-part analysis of the:

  1. Inherent ability of watersheds to produce clean water, based largely on land use.
  2. Most important watersheds to surface water drinking water supply users.
  3. Various threats to forests and the quantity of surface water drinking water supplies.

Altogether, the F2F2 project will provide a broad view of the land use characteristics and water supply threats to watersheds that feed surface water drinking water sources. It does not displace the need for local land use data, local knowledge, or different analyses of hydrologic regimes. F2F2 will, however, be useful for long-range planning, municipal education, and prioritization of regional water needs, including indicating where alternative water supplies may be needed. It will also help those making land management decisions know where practices may be needed to conserve or restore forests. SWC members and their networks are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who is interested and would like to participate. REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR HERE

Source Water Collaborative Webinar on Forests to Faucets 2.0

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The Source Water Collaborative is pleased to announce a free webinar on Wednesday, May 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern) entitled, “A Preliminary Look at the National Forests to Faucets Analysis 2.0 (F2F2).” During the webinar, Sally Claggett of the US Forest Service will share how they are updating the original Forests to Faucets analysis to quantify, rank, and illustrate the direct geographic connection between private and public forests, surface water drinking water supplies, and populations that depend on them. The new F2F2 includes a three-part analysis of the:

  1. Inherent ability of watersheds to produce clean water, based largely on land use.
  2. Most important watersheds to surface water drinking water supply users.
  3. Various threats to forests and the quantity of surface water drinking water supplies.

Altogether, the F2F2 project will provide a broad view of the land use characteristics and water supply threats to watersheds that feed surface water drinking water sources. It does not displace the need for local land use data, local knowledge, or different analyses of hydrologic regimes. F2F2 will, however, be useful for long-range planning, municipal education, and prioritization of regional water needs, including indicating where alternative water supplies may be needed. It will also help those making land management decisions know where practices may be needed to conserve or restore forests. Source Water Collaborative members and their networks are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who is interested and would like to participate. REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR HERE

 

ASDWA Session Held this Week at the AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference

The AWWA Sustainable Water Management (SWM) Conference was held this week in Seattle where ASDWA co-sponsored a technical session entitled “Harness the Power of the Clean Water Act to Protect Sources of Drinking Water.” Approximately 400 people attended the meeting from across the US including representatives from water utilities, associations, federal agencies, consulting firms, and four state drinking water programs. Other sessions at the conference focused on the sustainability of water supplies, water utility climate change adaptation, source water protection, pay for performance best practices for forest preservation and wildfire prevention, land use and water integrated planning, and more.

The ASDWA session speakers included:  Michelle Tucker from EPA Region 10 who provided an overview of how the Clean Water Act (CWA) can protect sources of drinking water; Sheree Stewart from the Oregon Source Water Protection (SWP) Program who spoke about how the state is using GIS to address point and nonpoint sources of pollution and emerging contaminants at the source; Corina Hayes from the Washington SWP Program who shared information about state efforts to use Drinking Water SRF funds to help communities develop SWP plans; David Dunn from the Washington Department of Ecology who spoke about how to leverage different CWA funding mechanisms (including the CWSRF) for SWP in Washington State; Bill Trueman from the Skagit Public Utility District (PUD) who shared how they used CWSRF funding to purchase land to protect their drinking water source; Deirdre Mason from ASDWA who spoke about ASDWA, state, and EPA CWA and Safe Drinking Water Act (CWA-SDWA) coordination efforts to address regulated and emerging ; and Bo Williams from EPA Headquarters who spoke about the National Source Water Collaborative’s CWA-SDWA infographic for water utilities and local stakeholders to provide input into state CWA provisions and permitting efforts. To learn more about these efforts, check out:

For more information about the AWWA SWM conference, visit the AWWA website.

AWWA Webinar on Leveraging Private Capital to Protect Source Waters

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AWWA will host a webinar on April 4th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm (eastern) entitled “Leverage Private Capital to Protect Source Waters.” During the webinar, participants will hear how healthy forests can reduce costs to municipalities, utilities, and water-dependent companies by ensuring clean and abundant water supplies and by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and floods. A brief overview of the state of the science, research, and analysis of the importance of source water protection will be given, and case studies of other utilities’ experiences will be offered. The cost is $75.00 for members and $125.00 for non-members. Register for the webinar here.

USDA Releases 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles

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On January 24th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles document. The principles in the document are categorized into a variety of topics to serve as a roadmap for Congress to understand and address the needs of agricultural and forest landowners in the next Farm Bill. Some of the principles in the document that can support drinking water protection include:

  • Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits…
  • Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.
  • Expand Good Neighbor Authority and increase coordination with states to promote job creation and improve forest health through shared stewardship and stakeholder input.
  • Offer the tools and resources that incentivize private stewardship and retention of forest land.

For more information, visit USDA’s website to read the press release and view the principles document.

Organizations are Gearing Up for the 2018 Farm Bill

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It’s that time again to get ready for the reauthorization of the next Farm Bill in 2018. ASDWA is engaging in discussions with a variety of partner organizations as well as the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), to help emphasize the connections to drinking water quality and protection in the Farm Bill’s conservation title. Here is what some of them are doing with regard to their Farm Bill priorities.

AWWA:  The American Water Works Association (AWWA) issued a press release emphasizing the opportunity to encourage partnerships in the Farm Bill. This includes working with water utilities and all stakeholders interested in productive farming practices and safe water to form innovative collaborations that can achieve mutual goals. The AWWA press release notes that they would like to see Congress make an explicit connection between conservation measures and drinking water quality in the Farm Bill’s conservation title. AWWA wants to see that change by:

  • Providing strong funding for conservation programs.
  • Adding a specific goal of protecting sources of drinking water as a priority for all Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) conservation programs.
  • Encouraging NRCS state conservationists, state technical committees, and working groups to work with water utilities in identifying priority areas in each state.
  • Increasing the NRCS cost-share for measures that provide considerable downstream water quality benefits.
  • Dedicating ten percent of conservation funding to protecting sources of drinking water through existing programs.

Visit AWWA’s web site to view the full press release.

NASDA:  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) established priorities for the next Farm Bill that call for enhanced investment in American agriculture that provides producers the tools they need to succeed. NASDA also emphasized that the Farm Bill is vital to providing consumers access to the safest, highest quality and most affordable food supply, which is essential for our nation’s economy and security. Some of NASDA’s priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill include trade promotion; voluntary conservation programs; specialty crop block grants; research, education and economics; and food safety. While the NASDA press release does not specifically mention water, the NASDA staff have expressed their support for conservation measures that protect water quality, and are planning to have further discussions with ASDWA and ACWA as efforts move forward on the Farm Bill.

FIFBC:  The Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition (FIFBC) released its 2018 Farm Bill recommendations that focus on the need to continue to support rural communities, rural jobs, private forest owners, and the economic and environmental benefits forests provide. The National Association of Conservation Districts, the Nature Conservancy, and the Trust for Public Land are among the 42 members of the Coalition that represents forest owners, conservationists, hunters, anglers, forest industry, and natural resource professionals. Three of the five priorities outlined by the Coalition that are particularly relevant to water and drinking water include:

  • Increasing the long-term protection and conservation of forest resources from threats such as wildfire, insects and diseases, and promote the use of fire as an important forest management tool.
  • Encouraging the retention and perpetuation of forestland and associated values, goods, and services.
  • Streamlining and otherwise improving forest and conservation programs to better enable use by private landowners and land managers to address the above issues.

The FIFBC press release about the Farm Bill acknowledges clean water among the benefits that the nation’s forests provide, though it is not specifically mentioned in the priorities for the Farm Bill.

 

 

 

Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program Announces New RFP and Webinars

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The Healthy Watersheds Consortium (HWC) Grant Program has posted its 2018 Request for Proposals (RFP).  Up to $3 million is available this year and applications are due by February 1, 2018. The goal of the grant program is to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds by:

  • Developing funding mechanisms, plans, or other strategies to implement large-scale watershed protection, source water protection, green infrastructure, or related landscape conservation objectives;
  • 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 funding for or implementation of watershed protection efforts, or broadly advance this field of practice.

For more information, visit the website and plan to attend the following webinars.

  • On Tuesday, September 26th from 2:00pm – 3:00pm (eastern), the HWC Grant Program will host a webinar entitled, “Peaks to People Water Fund: Lessons learned in the proof of concept phase and demonstration of the Watershed Investment Tool,” to share information about how these 2016 grant recipients helped to accelerate forest restoration in Colorado to reduce the threat of severe wildfire in watersheds.  Register here.
  • On Wednesday, October 11th from 2:00pm – 3:30pm (eastern), the HWC Grant Program will host an informational webinar to provide an overview of priorities for the 2018 program and allow participants to ask questions.  Registration is limited and a recording will be posted on the website within one day for anyone who misses it. Register here.

 

Water Deeply Article on New Mexico Water Authority $1M Investment to Protect Headwaters

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Water Deeply, an online news publication, has published an article entitled, “New Mexico Water Agency Finds Innovative Way to Protect Headwaters.” The article highlights how the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority in New Mexico just donated $1 million to help protect the land in its headwaters.  This money is being pledged to the Rio Grande Water Fund, a consortium of partners who’s goal it is to protect the San Juan-Chama and Rio Grande watershed lands from catastrophic forest fires.  The fund is used for forest restoration projects on about 600,000 forested acres in the headwaters that provide drinking water for about half the state’s population.  Read the article here.

Register Now for the ASDWA CWA-SDWA Webinar: Creative Uses of Clean Water Funding for Drinking Water Benefits

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Date:  Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Time:  1:00 to 2:30pm (eastern), 10:00 to 11:30am (pacific)

REGISTER HERE

On August 29, ASDWA will host a Clean Water Act – Safe Drinking Water Act (CWA-SDWA) webinar entitled, “Creative Uses of Clean Water Funding for Drinking Water Benefits.”  The purpose of the webinar is to build on the efforts of ASDWA, ACWA, GWPC, and EPA to share and promote CWA-SDWA coordination activities across state and EPA water programs.  State, interstate, tribal, and federal water programs, water utilities, technical assistance providers, and anyone else who would like to participate is encouraged to attend.  During the webinar, presenters from the Virginia and Washington Drinking Water Programs and the Skagit Public Utilities District (in WA) will share how they collaborated with their state Clean Water Programs and other partners to creatively use some non-traditional funding routes to benefit their drinking water utilities, including one very small and disadvantaged water system.