News

Jul. 10, 2015 EPA News

EPA's Nonpoint Source News-Notes, Issue #98 (July 2015)

NPS News-Notes Issue #98 is now online at www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf. EPA’s NPS News-Notes newsletter explores new and innovative programs, tools, and resources that are available to help you manage polluted runoff.

The newsletter’s cover page includes links to each section, article and announcement listed below. For previous issues of News-Notes, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes.

IN THIS ISSUE (see next section for article summaries):

** NOTES FROM THE NATIONAL SCENE

(1) Strengthening the National Nonpoint Source Program

(2) Clean Water Rule Protects Streams and Wetlands Critical to Public Health, Communities and Economy

(3) Nonpoint Source Success Story Program Crosses Milestone

(4) Handbook Highlights Application of Watershed Approach When Planning Restoration Projects

** NOTES FROM THE STATES, TRIBES AND LOCALITIES

(5) Septic Smart Program Raises Awareness in Oregon

(6) Philadelphia Grant Program Helps Private Property Owners Ensure a Greener Philadelphia

** NOTES ON AGRICULTURE

(7) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Reaches New Watersheds

** SOFTWARE SPOTLIGHT

(8) New Climate Adjustment Tool Strengthens Stormwater Management Model Projections

** REVIEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

** RECENT AND RELEVANT PERIODICAL ARTICLES

** WEBSITES WORTH A BOOKMARK

** CALENDAR

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IN THIS ISSUE:

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** NOTES ON THE NATIONAL SCENE

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The following are excerpts. For the full text of articles, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

(1) Strengthening the National Nonpoint Source Program

In April 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories (guidelines) for the first time in a decade, and in doing so, provided states and territories with a new framework for funding water restoration and protection projects and addressing many of nation’s most pressing nonpoint source problems. EPA released the guidelines in the wake of a national program evaluation in 2011 and a decade of budget cuts, including cuts totaling $45 million from fiscal years 2010 to 2013 (and down more than $80 million since 2003). These guidelines represent the culmination of ideas that percolated up from an introspective 2011 EPA report titled A National Evaluation of the Clean Water Act Section 319 Program that provided a critical assessment of what was—and what wasn’t—happening with our nation’s efforts to take on nonpoint source pollution through section 319 of the Clean Water Act, as well as an EPA–States workgroup process that examined and debated the report’s findings and developed a set of recommendations to strengthen the 319 program nationally…

(2) Clean Water Rule Protects Streams and Wetlands Critical to Public Health, Communities and Economy

On May 27, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier and faster for businesses and industry. The rule is grounded in law and the latest science, and is shaped by public input. The rule does not create any new permitting requirements for agriculture and maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions…

(3) Nonpoint Source Success Story Program Crosses Milestone

In August 2014, states around the nation collectively achieved a major milestone, reporting that 500 nonpoint source (NPS) pollution-impaired water bodies have been fully or partially restored, thanks to on-the-ground NPS control efforts. These results were highlighted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Success Stories website, which was launched in 2005 as a way to both highlight states’ restoration efforts and track progress under the National Water Program Guidance measure WQ-10. Given the momentum achieved to date, EPA expects the states to reach almost 600 restored water bodies by the end of 2015. These stories describe how watershed stakeholders use funding sources such as Clean Water Act section 319 grants to remediate NPS impairments in streams, rivers and lakes…

(4) Handbook Highlights Application of Watershed Approach When Planning Restoration Projects

The Environmental Law Institute and The Nature Conservancy have released a new handbook advocating the use of a watershed approach in the selection, design and siting of wetland and stream restoration and protection projects, including projects required by compensatory mitigation. The joint report, Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration Projects, demonstrates how using a watershed approach can help ensure these projects also contribute to goals of improved water quality, increased flood mitigation, improved quality and quantity of habitat, and increases in other services and benefits…

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** NOTES FROM THE STATES, TRIBES AND LOCALITIES

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The following are excerpts. For the full text of articles, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

(5) Septic Smart Program Raises Awareness in Oregon

Oregon is encouraging its residents to be Septic Smart. More than 1 million Oregonians live in homes served by septic systems. To ensure these systems continue to function properly for both environmental and public health protection, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Association of Realtors have teamed up to launch a new program, Oregon Septic Smart. Modeled after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national SepticSmart program, the Oregon Septic Smart program is designed to help educate residents about septic systems and the importance of regular inspection and maintenance. The program provides Oregonians with easy access to important information about their septic systems and connects them with certified industry professionals who perform system inspections…

(6) Philadelphia Grant Program Helps Private Property Owners Ensure a Greener Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia is growing greener—and saving money—by offering stormwater retrofit grants. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is partnering with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation on two grant programs that aim to increase the acreage of private, nonresidential property retrofitted with green stormwater infrastructure (e.g., rain gardens, vegetated infiltration basins, porous asphalt, green roofs). The grant programs reward local businesses, institutions and other nonresidential water customers financially for managing at least the first inch of rainfall onsite, thereby preventing this water from polluting the city’s local waterways. By encouraging cooperation and competition for city government-funded grant dollars, PWD is increasing stormwater management retrofits throughout the city, while also helping property owners save on stormwater fees…

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** NOTES ON AGRICULTURE

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The following is an excerpt. For the full text of the article, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

(7) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Reaches New Watersheds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing $10 million this year in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), a program created in 2009 to improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat within selected watersheds of a 13-state area in the Mississippi River Basin. The MRBI builds on the cooperative work of NRCS and its conservation partners in the Mississippi River basin, and offers agricultural producers in priority watersheds the opportunity for voluntary technical and financial assistance…

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** SOFTWARE SPOTLIGHT

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The following is an excerpt. For the full text of the article, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

(8) New Climate Adjustment Tool Strengthens Stormwater Management Model Projections

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Climate Adjustment Tool for EPA’s Stormwater Management Model, a downloadable stormwater simulation model used throughout the world for stormwater runoff reduction planning and analysis, as well as design of combined and sanitary sewers and other drainage systems. The new Climate Adjustment Tool allows engineers and planners to evaluate the performance of water infrastructure while considering future climate change projections, such as more frequent high-intensity storms and changes in evaporation rates of seasonal precipitation, to determine the benefits of resiliency decisions to reduce local economic burden and protect communities…

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**REVIEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

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The following is a list of topics. For the full descriptions, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution

-- 2015: The International Year of Soils

Climate Change

-- Federal Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency

-- Federal Partners’ Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative: Preparing for Climate Change

-- Interactive Education Modules on Forest-Related Climate Change Effects are Available

-- NOAA Study Shows Merits of Natural Approaches for Enhancing Coastal Resilience

-- Webinar Series Offers Climate Information for Managing Risks to Water

Data Resources

-- Explore Thousands of Coastal and Seafloor Images along U.S. Coasts

-- Map Reveals Population Drinking Water from Nonpermanent Streams

-- National Sea Grant Resilience Toolkit Released

-- Online Tool Estimates Atrazine Levels in Streams

-- Storm Surge Inundation Map Available

Education

-- Animation Highlights Protective Services of Green Infrastructure

-- Green Infrastructure Webcast Series Underway

-- Relying on Rain to Create Art

-- Urban Forest Webinar Series Available

-- Watershed Academy Webcasts Available for Free

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

-- Berkeley Law School Releases Green Stormwater Infrastructure Report

-- Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners Announced

-- Coastal Massachusetts Green Infrastructure Handbook Serves as Resource

-- Green Infrastructure Funding Sources Highlighted

-- Housing and Urban Development Highlights Green Infrastructure

-- Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Municipal Projects

-- NEMO Rain Garden App Expanded

Wetlands

-- Report Highlights Everglades Restoration Progress

Other

-- Great Lakes Water Quality Trading Feasibility Report Released

-- Mississippi River Resource Assessment Released

-- Multiple Satellite Eyes to Track Algal Threat to U.S. Freshwaters

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**RECENT AND RELEVANT PERIODICAL ARTICLES

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The following is a list of topics. For the full descriptions, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

-- Acute Toxicity of Runoff from Coal-Tar Sealcoated Pavement

-- Green Roofs and Living Walls

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** WEBSITES WORTH A BOOKMARK

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The following is a list of websites. For the full descriptions, see www.epa.gov/newsnotes/pdf/98issue.pdf.

-- IDDE Knowledge Bank (www.lorialilly.com/bank.html)

-- MyEnvironment (www.epa.gov/myenvironment)

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** CALENDAR (Upcoming Events)

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An online calendar is accessible at www.epa.gov/newsnotes/calendar.htm.