Pisces Foundation Funding Opportunity – Due by January 29

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The Pisces Foundation has announced a new funding opportunity as part of its urban water strategy. Pisces will award a total of $500,00 to $600,000 in 2018 for up to $125,000 per grant to motivated organizations within communities serving populations of at least 200,000 people who want to undertake a new smart water (One Water) approach to water management. A smart water approach integrates water management and other disciplines, focuses on long-term sustainability, provides multiple benefits to multiple users, supports community access and revitalization, and can be more cost-effective than more narrowly focused efforts to protect water quality or water supply alone.

The deadline is January 29, 2018, and grants will be awarded in June 2018. For more information, view the RFP here.

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New SWC Learning Exchange: Source Water Protection through Conservation Funding

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The Source Water Collaborative is pleased to announce its latest Learning Exchange, “Source Water Protection through Conservation Funding.” This new module features stories from drinking water industry and conservation leaders who have capitalized on resources provided through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to target source water protection through voluntary local conservation partnerships.

  • Visit the Learning Exchange web page to find case studies and information resources aimed at supporting groups considering submitting an RCPP application, including examples of successful proposals, links to application guides, an interactive map with details of RCPP-supported source water protection partnerships.
  • Register for the January 11 webinar that will be held from 1:30 to 3:00 pm (eastern) entitled, ‘Conservation Funding & Drinking Water Utilities: Partnering for Success,” featuring Jimmy Bramblett, the USDA NRCS’ Deputy Chief of Programs, and a presentation from Iowa’s Middle Cedar Rapids Partnership.

We look forward to your participation in this Learning Exchange. Please reach out to info@sourcewatercollaborative.org if you have additional resources, stories, or examples to share or if you would like to receive emails from the Collaborative about upcoming events and news.

New AWWA Video on How Farm Bill Conservation Funding Can Protect Drinking Water

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The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has released a new whiteboard video on how USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding can help better protect drinking water sources in the next reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The video explains how farm runoff can carry nutrients, pesticides, and sediment, and cause harmful algal blooms in drinking water supplies, and highlights the benefits of collaboration and cooperation between water utilities and farmers for implementing innovative farm practices. AWWA is asking Congress to provide robust funding the Farm Bill conservation title and to consider designating 10% of these funds for targeted measures that would improve downstream drinking water quality. While ASDWA believes this is a laudable goal, it remains to be seen when and how the Farm Bill will be reauthorized, and whether this component will be included in the final legislation.

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

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 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.

 

US Water Alliance Creates One Water for America Policy Framework for 2018 Rollout

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The US Water Alliance has created a new “One Water for America Policy Framework.” The Framework was developed from discussions with approximately 500 people across the country during a series of 15 listening sessions. During the sessions, water industry leaders, local officials, farmers, environmental groups and others provided insights that were organized into seven big ideas for sustainable water management in the US, and will be released as a series of webinars and policy briefs starting in January. Some of the seven big ideas include:  advancing regional collaboration; accelerating agriculture-utility partnerships; sustaining infrastructure funding; and reducing lead risks.

Read the Framework Executive Summary, view the Seven Big Ideas, and find more information about this effort here.

USDA RFA and Webinar for Conservation Innovation Grants

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USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. NRCS is making $10 million available through CIG this year to fund innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. The three focus areas for grant funding include grazing lands, organic systems, and soil health. Grant proposals are due February 26, 2018.

CIG is authorized and funded under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Projects can last up to three years and the maximum award amount for any project this year is $2 million. Since 2004, NRCS has invested nearly $286.7 million in more than 700 projects focused on providing farmers and ranchers new techniques, data and decision-making tools for improving natural resources conservation on their land, that can also help improve drinking water quality. All U.S. based entities and individuals are invited to apply, except for Federal agencies. Up to 20 percent of CIG funds will be set aside for proposals from historically underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers or groups serving these customers.

Webinar for Potential Applicants

  • Date:  Thursday, January 11, 2018
  • Time:  4:00 pm (eastern).
  • Log in:  At the time of the webinar, log in HERE.

To view the announcement, application materials, and submission procedures, go to:  www.grants.gov. For more information, read the news release. For questions, contact Laura Crowell of USDA at laura.crowell@ia.usda.gov or 515-323-2207.

New EPA HABs Incident Action Checklist

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EPA’s Water Security Division has published its newest Incident Action Checklist on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). This checklist provides information on preparedness and response actions water utilities can take during a HAB incident. For on-the-go convenience, the actions in the checklist are divided up into three “rip and run” sections with examples of activities for surface water utilities. Utilities can also populate the “My Contacts” sections with critical information for coordinating response actions. View and download the checklist HERE. For more information and to see the other EPA Incident Action Checklists for water utilities, visit the EPA website.

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.

Nominate Your Water Systems for the AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award by January 15th

 

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Nominations for the 2017 AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award are due on January 15, 2018.  Please consider nominating your water systems for this award, where winners will be announced at the 2018 AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition.  This award recognizes up to three water systems every year for their outstanding source water protection programs, with consideration for their size and resources.  This year’s two award winners were the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District in Utah and the City of Bremerton Public Works & Utility in Washington.

The AWWA Source Water Protection Committee that administers the award program is again this year strongly encouraging nomination submissions for the smallest water systems serving populations of 10,000 or fewer, using either ground water or surface water supply sources.  Because many of these systems may not have the gumption, resources, or ability to complete the application process themselves, the Committee is hopeful that state drinking water programs, AWWA Sections, and State Rural Water Associations will be willing to help.

While the nominations are not due until January 15, 2018, it is helpful to get an early start on the application process.  Nominations are judged on how well a water system meets the six components of AWWA’s (G300) Source Water Protection Standard:  1) program vision; 2) source water characterization; 3) source water protection goals; 4) development of an Action Plan; 5) implementation of the Action Plan; and 6) periodic evaluation and revision of the entire program. In addition to how well a source water protection program satisfies each of the six program components for the AWWA Standard, nominees will also be evaluated on the following three criteria:

  • Effectiveness of the program,
  • Innovative approaches, and
  • Difficulties overcome.

For more information about the award, including previous award recipients, eligibility and submission criteria, and the entry form, go to:  www.awwa.org/eswpa.