Source Water Highlights
Posted on: November 20, 2015
A case study of collaboration by Clean Water Action, American Water Works Association (AWWA), Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA)
In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final Clean Water Act (CWA) rule to update technology-based limits on steam electric power plant wastewater discharges to our nation’s water. Coal plants in particular are responsible for discharges of metals, nutrients and other contaminants into waters of the United States. Some coal plants discharge significant quantities of bromide, which if discharged near public water system intakes can lead to disinfection byproduct formation during treatment. Even small quantities of bromide in raw water can have significant health impacts (Regli et al. 2015). This is a textbook case of the potential for a CWA program to impact a Safe Drinking Water Act program.
Click here to read the one-page story: Bromide Discharge Story.
11/18 Webinar: Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program – Request for Proposals Now Open!
Posted on: November 16, 2015
On November 3, 2015 the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) released a Request for Proposal for the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program, a public-private partnership funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Support is also provided by the Southern Company, Alcoa Foundation, and Bank of America.
Approximately $2.1 million in combined total funding is available to support projects that address water quality issues, including source water pollution, through on-the-ground restoration and ecological improvements, community partnerships, and environmental education, outreach, and training. Special consideration will be made for projects that are located within source water protection areas and/or within Urban Waters Federal Partnership Locations. Funding priority will also be given to eligible projects that benefit underserved communities.
Register for the November 18th webinar to learn more about this exciting opportunity to fund local source water protection projects. For more information on the program go to www.nfwf.org/fivestar. Proposals are due by February 3, 2016.
To see if your project falls within a watershed critical to source water protection, visit the “Source Water Protection for Urban Waters” online mapping application.
Posted on: October 9, 2015
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently requesting proposals for its Urban Waters Small Grants Program. The mission of EPA’s Urban Waters Program is to help local residents and their organizations, particularly those in underserved communities, restore their urban water in ways that also benefit their local communities and promote economic revitalization. For the 2015/2016 grant cycle, the EPA seeks to fund projects that address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, such as protection of drinking water sources. Source water protection projects eligible under the Small Grants program include:
- Work with city planners and the community to assess sources of pollution and plan actions to protect drinking water
- Create a community program that increases awareness of the sources and impacts of pollution on sources of drinking water
- Evaluate current zoning to develop model zoning ordinances for protection of drinking water supplies
State, federal, and local government, nonprofit institutions, Indian Tribes, public and private universities, and interstate agencies are encouraged to apply, though proposed activities must take place entirely within one of the Eligible Geographic Areas. This year, $1.6 million in funding is available and EPA expects to award $40k-$60k per award.
The Urban Waters Small Grant Program offers an excellent opportunity to fund source water protection projects in urban areas. Register online for the Information Session Webinar on October 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM EDT to learn more about the grant program and various tools you can use to incorporate source water protection to enhance your proposal.
New Report on Investing in Natural Infrastructure for More Resilient Water, Food, and Energy Systems
Posted on: September 9, 2015
IUCN Releases “Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the International Water Association (IWA) with contributions from the World Resources Institute released “Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus Dialogue Synthesis”, a summary report of natural infrastructure solutions at the nexus of water, food, and energy sectors. This report is part of a larger initiative by IUCN and IWA called the “Nexus Dialogue.”
The report specifically highlights the value of investing in natural infrastructure—comprised of natural areas such as wetlands, forests, and intact riparian corridors—to substitute or complement “grey” (built) infrastructure. Natural infrastructure offers a cost-effective, flexible means to achieve necessary improvements to aging water infrastructure while securing additional environmental benefits, such as flood attenuation, water purification and storage, and biodiversity protection.
Despite its cost-effectiveness and other benefits, there is currently huge underinvestment in natural infrastructure. A recent blog post by Todd Gartner and Kara Difrancesco attribute underinvestment to the fact that investors lack the information needed to evaluate and compare natural infrastructure options to traditional engineered techniques. Other roadblocks include the complexity of natural infrastructure projects compared to grey”, longer investment return horizons, and the need for multi-stakeholder involvement.
Read the Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus Dialogue Synthesis report to learn more about how natural infrastructure champions around the world are achieving water protections and resilience while laying the groundwork for more widespread investment in natural capital.
Posted on: July 27, 2015
The Piscataqua River Estuaries Partnership (PREP), a regional source water collaborative operating in the Piscataqua River Basin in New Hampshire and Maine, recently released the Piscataqua Region Environmental Planning Assessment (PREPA). Building on the successes of the first assessment, completed in 2010, which led to targeted and coordinated implementation of the PREP Conservation Management Plan, the 2015 report provides up-to-date analysis of land use regulations and planning practices as they relate to clean water across the 52 municipalities in the Piscataqua Region.
Through an extensive stakeholder survey process, PREP identified three major threats to the Piscataqua watershed: nitrogen loading, impervious cover, and climate change. Explanation of their findings and recommended actions are available on their website and detailed in the full assessment.
All 52 municipalities in the watershed contributed to development of the PREPA report and continue to play critical roles in the protection of source water and water quality in the area. The PREPA report and the Piscataqua River Estuaries Partnership highlight the value of collaboration in facilitating regional coordination, information sharing, and leveraging of resources and expertise across multiple partners.
Looking for a collaborative near you? Want to learn more about how collaboration can help protect your sources of drinking water? Visit our map of local and regional collaboratives and explore the How to Collaborate Toolkit.
Posted on: April 15, 2015
Register now for the second of four webinars on the new resource,“Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water Sources and Advance Watershed Goals through the Clean Water Act (CWA): A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal, and Federal Water Program Managers.” The webinar will be held on April 28th from 12:30-2:00 PM (EST) and will discuss using CWA programs like Water Quality Standards, Monitoring, Assessment, and Impaired Waters Listings to protect drinking water sources. SWC members the Association of State Drinking Water Administers (ASDWA), the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) are jointly hosting this four-part webinar series, which offer an in-depth discussion on how to coordinate CWA and SDWA activities to achieve mutual goals. For more information, including state examples, please refer to the Toolkit above.
Future webinars in 2015 will discuss CWA-SDWA coordination in Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) programs, and Nonpoint Source and CWA 319 Programs.
Posted on: April 8, 2015
On March 18, several source water protection projects in North Carolina were selected as winners of the first annual Source Water Protection Awards from the North Carolina Source Water Collaborative. The awards, presented at the Water Resources Research Institute annual conference, recognized programs that demonstrate innovative and collaborative solutions to protect North Carolina’s drinking water sources and their connecting watersheds.
The Durham Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded for its accomplishments through the Upper Sandy Creek Watershed and Stream Restoration Project, a multi-year collaboration aimed at improving water quality, minimizing flood danger, and restoring ecological values to 3600 feet of stream. This project expects to reduce sediment loading in the Jordon Lake Reservoir by 100 tons per year. The Raleigh Public Utilities Department for the City of Raleigh Watershed Protection Program teamed with the Upper Neuse Water Initiative, agencies, and local partners to facilitate land acquisitions and other conservation measures to protect over 18,000 feet of streams impacting critical drinking water reservoirs. To read the NCPOLITCALNews.com article on the award ceremony and to see the full list of award winning projects, click here.
Want to start your own collaborative? Learn more about the North Carolina Source Water Collaborative and find out how to launch your own source water partnerships through the “How to Collaborate” toolkit, developed by the Source Water Collaborative.
Posted on: February 15, 2015
The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) is hosting their 35th Annual Symposium in Sarasota Spring, NY this November 17-20, 2015. NALMS encourages the submission of paper or posters on topics of broad interest to the lake and reservoir management community (such as harmful algal blooms, stormwater management, water quality, etc.). Abstracts are due by May 22nd. SWC members interested in developing a special session should contact the program committee no later than March 30th. Click here for more information.
Posted on: December 17, 2014
Administrator Gina McCarthy’s remarks from the December 9th Celebratory Event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC mention the SWC and its new Call to Action. “EPA continues to coordinate efforts to protect America’s drinking water at the source and to address new and legacy challenges. We convene the Source Water Collaborative, a partnership of 25 organizations united to protect drinking water sources. (…) That’s why the organizations here are launching a call to action—asking utilities, states, federal agencies, and local governments to step up to protect source water. I encourage all of us to act. Utilities can partner with landowners and businesses, and make sure they have plans in place with emergency responders. Local governments can help with land use planning to protect water where it counts most. States can help update source water assessments and act on them to address the greatest threats to their drinking water. And federal agencies can work better together.”
Administrator McCarthy’s prepared remarks are available here. The final video of the 40th anniversary of the SDWA is now available on the ASDWA 40th anniversary website.
The SWC is encouraging all members to help promote this Call to Action, which is now available on the SWC home page. The SWC’s full promotion of the Call to Action is planned for early 2015. The full promotion will also feature a companion document that includes informational resources and tools for SWC organizations and their members to facilitate the proposed actions.
Posted on: August 21, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for a three-year appointment to the NDWAC. The 15-member Council was established by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to provide practical and independent advice, consultation and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on the activities, functions, policies and regulations required by the SDWA. This Federal Register notice solicits nominations to fill six new vacancies from December 2014 through December 2017. Please review the Federal Register notice for details on submissions.
Posted on: May 29, 2014
On May 27, 2014, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced a unique new conservation initiative that is intended to give “private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in what are essentially clean water start-up operations.” “Eligible partners include private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives.” States and water and wastewater utilities are included in the list of eligible applicants. Anticipated first year USDA funding is nearly $400M. Pre-proposals are due July 14. USDA will select applicants to submit final proposals, due September. 26, 2014. See details here.
Note: NRCS is offering question-and-answer sessions on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) both online and in person.
- June 9 (Monday) at 2 p.m. EST; and
- June 18 (Wednesday) at 11 a.m. EST
Each webinar will last one hour. Click here for log-in instructions for the RCPP webinar.
In-person Session: June 6 (Friday) at 11 a.m. EST. The session will be held in Jamie L. Whitten Building in Room 107-A. If you have questions or to RSVP, contact NRCS.
Forest Service Proposed Groundwater Management Directive: Webinar May 20th and Public Comments Due August 4th
Posted on: May 18, 2014
The Forest Service’s proposed changes to internal Agency directives for Watershed and Air Management will include groundwater resources on National Forest System (NFS) lands as an integral component of watershed management. Key points:
THE PROPOSED DIRECTIVE WILL
- Provide for consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities.
- Encourage source water protection and water conservation.
- Establish procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on NFS land.
- Require the evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on NFS natural resources.
- Provide for measurement and reporting to help build our understanding of groundwater resources on NFS land.
THE PROPOSED DIRECTIVE WILL NOT
- Affect procedures or impose any new conditions on state-issued water rights.
- Affect existing or future tribal water rights settlements or water compacts.
- Impose any new regulations or requirements on locatable, leasable, geothermal, or mineral material operations.
- Change the way state water quality regulations or tribal water quality standards are promulgated or administered.
- Give the Forest Service any new authorities.
Opportunity for Public Comment
The Forest Service welcomes public comment within 90 days from the date of publication of the notice in the Federal Register (published May 6, 2014). Comments must be received electronically. Electronic comments may be submitted by following the instructions at regulations.gov or via email to email@example.com.
May 20, 2014 Webinar: USDA Forest Service Proposed Groundwater Management Directives
The Forest Service will host a national webinar at 1 p.m. EST May 20 to discuss the components of the proposed policy to manage groundwater resources on the country’s national forests and grasslands. Forest Service leaders and technical specialists will provide an overview on groundwater issues and information on the intent of the agency’s directives.
You can register for the webinar at:
See links below for more details:
Posted on: May 6, 2014
SWC members are encouraged to submit an abstract for ASDWA’s 2014 Annual Conference, to be held October 20-23, 2014 in Albuquerque, NM. Approximately 250 participants are expected to attend. Presentation Themes may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Source water protection and sustainability of water supplies
- Climate change, water and energy efficiency, and conservation
- Clean Water Act/SDWA connections, nutrient pollution, and Harmful Algal Blooms
- SDWA implementation approaches and strategies including collaborations and partnerships
- State revolving loan fund tools and techniques/green infrastructure strategies
- Drinking water security strategies and tools
- Small systems: TMF, sustainability strategies, technologies, and compliance
- Workforce, operator certification, and/or technical assistance initiativesData management
- Emerging drinking water treatment technologies and optimization of current technologies
- Distribution system issues
- Emerging contaminants in drinking water, both chemical and microbial
- Drinking water research
- Risk assessment, risk communication and consumer outreach
- Implementation of regulations – challenges and successes
Please note: priority will be given to submissions received from state drinking water program administrators and their staff. If you would like to make a presentation, please submit a one-page abstract with the proposed presentation title, and the name, title, affiliation, and contact information for the speaker to Deirdre Mason of ASDWA at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 16, 2014.
Due June 12th: Applications for NIFA Grant Funding for Farmer & Rancher Outreach, Training & Technical Assistance
Posted on: April 11, 2014
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture released the 2014 Request for Applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Applications are due June 12.
Organizations can apply for grants to provide education, training, technical assistance and outreach for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and managers of non-industrial private forest land. Priority will be given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and school-based agricultural educational organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach. Approximately $19.2 million is available for 2014 awards.
NIFA is hosting two webinars for interested applicants, on April 30 and May 6 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Posted on: March 24, 2014
ASDWA and GWPC will conduct a webinar to showcase the new Source Water Collaborative Toolkit and share state source water program experiences from Minnesota and Nebraska in developing relationships and working with their conservation district partners. Please encourage your colleagues to participate. This webinar is ideal for state drinking water, ground water, clean water, and agriculture programs, EPA Regions, and other interested stakeholders.
The free webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT. Find information about the presenters and register for the webinar here.
Register for March 6th Webinar on Grant Opportunity: NRCS Spring 2014 Conservation Partners Program (RFP due 4/17)
Posted on: March 4, 2014
Conservation Partners will fund organizations to partner with NRCS field offices to deliver technical assistance for high priority conservation objectives. The full news release with details on the RFP is available here. A webinar for applicants will be available on March 6, 2014, from 2:30-3:30 PM, EST. An overview of the program priorities, application process and question and answer period will be offered. Please register here.
Conservation Partners is a collaborative effort between USDA’s NRCS, NWFW and other regional/initiative-specific partners. The purpose of the partnership is to provide grants on a competitive basis to increase technical assistance capacity to implement three programs: NRCS’s Landscape Conservation Initiatives, NFWF’s Keystone Initiatives, and the NRCS-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnership – Working Lands for Wildlife.
Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations, farmer and commodity-led organizations, educational institutions, tribal governments, and state or local units of governments (e.g. state agricultural and/or conservation agencies, counties, townships, cities, conservation districts, utility districts, drainage districts, etc.). Individuals, federal government agencies and for-profit entities are NOT eligible for grants under this program.
Posted on: February 11, 2014
The new NRCS–Forest Service partnership – the Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership – will invest over $30 million in financial and technical assistance. The 13 projects announced in 12 states focus on wildfire mitigation/risk reduction, wildlife habitat, and protection of water quality/supply. Drinking water source protection is mentioned for 4 states (MN, MT, NH, WVA), but many of the projects may also have source protection benefits. The news release provides more details and is available on the USDA website. The agencies are reviewing additional sites for future collaboration and will continue to capitalize on NRCS and Forest Service overlying priorities and programs.
Posted on: February 10, 2014
NRCS is offering a funding opportunity to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. The funding opportunity is now available. The application period will close on March 7, 2014. A webinar for potential applicants will be hosted on Thursday, February 13th at 1 pm EST. Details about this announcement and how to register for the webinar are available at the NRCS website.
Posted on: January 21, 2014
The Source Water Collaborative recently announced a new online toolkit to facilitate partnerships to protect drinking water sources through agriculture conservation practices, stormwater and forest management.
The toolkit offers effective steps source water protection professionals working at the local or state level can take to build partnerships with conservation district staff. The toolkit is designed for a variety of audiences – from those who have never worked with their conservation district, to those who have attempted but without success, to those who would like to enhance their current efforts. Click here to link to the online toolkit. Email us if you’d like to receive promotional materials (2-page handout and PowerPoint) to help disseminate the toolkit.
Posted on: December 3, 2013
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an expanded partnership to implement and coordinate policies and programs that encourage water quality trading and other market-based approaches that provide benefits to the environment and economy. The Department and the Agency will identify opportunities to work collaboratively to help improve water quality trading programs across the country. For more details, click here to read the news release.
Source Water Protection Projects May Be Eligible for EPA Urban Waters Small Grants: Proposals Due 12/16
Posted on: November 26, 2013
Through its Urban Waters Small Grants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects to award $1.6 million in federal funding to projects that aim to protect and restore urban waters, which may include source water protection efforts. Grants range in value from $40,000 to $60,000 and will be administered to projects taking place in 18 geographic areas corresponding with the Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. Applicants with source water protection projects will need to ensure their efforts meet the basic eligibility requirements of the solicitation. Click here to learn more at EPA’s Urban Waters Small Grants webpage.
Posted on: November 18, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking qualified candidates to be considered for a three-year appointment to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council through December 15, 2016. The 15-member council advises the EPA Administrator on activities, functions, policies, and regulations required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Nominations should be submitted to EPA’s Roy Simon, Designated Federal Officer for the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, at Simon.Roy@epa.gov with the subject line “NDWACResume2013.” Click here for the Federal Register notice.
Posted on: October 24, 2013
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. EPA to provide private well owners with the resources they need to reduce the risks to their drinking water supplies.
This EPA-funded cooperative will open a new hotline, publish a monthly tip sheet (click here to sign up now), and produce webinars, among other training and assistance tools. NGWA will promote this training and technical assistance with a public awareness campaign through its website at wellowner.org.
The NGWA toll-free hotline is available now at 855-420-9355 (855-H20-Well). For more information about resources available to well owners, contact NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens at email@example.com or 614-898-7791, ext. 554.
Pre-Proposals Due June 15th: Water Quality Funding Opportunity from the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters
Posted on: May 31, 2013
The National Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking demonstration project proposals specifically designed to highlight how flexible funding invested in forestry activities across State and Private Forestry (SPF) programs can make a cost effective difference on-the-ground with regard to water quality. Up to six projects totaling $500,000 may be selected for funding. Submitters of successful pre-proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal. See the attached memorandum for full details. Please note: All proposals are to be sent in by your state forestry agency.
Posted on: May 20, 2013
Abstracts are now being accepted for The Groundwater Foundation’s 2013 National Conference being held October 15-17, 2013 in Howey-in-the-Hills (Orlando), Florida. The abstract submission deadline is June 14th. Presenters will be selected and notified in early July.
Details about the conference are available here. Please consider sharing this information with others who may wish to present or exhibit.
Presentation formats include 25-minute classroom presentations, plenary speakers, field trip presentations, workshops and poster sessions. Presentation topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Community involvement/participation in water issues
- Climate change and extreme weather’s impacts on groundwater (i.e. drought, floods, etc.
- Population growth/urban sprawl impact
- Public education – challenges and solutions
- Groundwater sustainability strategies (management strategies)
- Social, economic, and environmental interactions
- Funding for groundwater sustainability
- Conjunctive use (engineered solutions, planned or artificial)
- Challenges/solutions to sustainable groundwater management
- Emerging issues (i.e. fracking, nanotechnology, flood capture and recharge, energy/water nexus, carbon sequestration, etc.)
- Wellhead protection’s role in groundwater sustainability
- Groundwater/surface water interactions
- Agriculture and water quality
Posted on: May 15, 2013
You are invited to join state, Federal, and local water professionals who will gather at ASDWA’s 28th Annual Conference to tackle the many challenges facing the water community. By contributing your knowledge and vision to the conference’s program you can help ASDWA achieve their goal of protecting public health as they face an array of 21st century challenges. ASDWA solicits both oral presentations and exhibitors of products and services that are invaluable in helping us achieve our collective goals. Deadline for abstracts is June 14th and the deadline for exhibitor applications is August 30th. Click here for detailed information.
ASDWA is the professional Association supporting state drinking water programs in their efforts to protect public health and implement the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Their members are the 50 states, territories, the Navajo Nation, and the District of Columbia.
Posted on: May 14, 2013
Click to download online article: From the Des Moines Register – Online
Des Moines Water Works turned on the world’s largest nitrate-removal facility Friday for the first time since 2007 after levels of health-threatening nitrates hit records in both the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, two main drinking-water sources.
Bill Stowe, the utility’s general manager, said the process will keep nitrates at safe levels in tap water, but he is concerned about the rising costs and difficulty of treating water as nitrate levels climb.
The $4 million nitrate-removal plant, installed in 1992, costs about $7,000 a day to run. So far, the utility is using four of the eight treatment cells where nitrates are stripped from the water. The Environmental Protection Agency had ordered Des Moines to act to remove nitrates after the contaminant exceeded the federal limit in tap water during the early 1990s.
The predicament shows that voluntary conservation efforts on farms aren’t working and do not bode well for the future of the area’s water supply, Stowe said. He added that nitrates, which also occur naturally, primarily come from crop fertilizer. Better field drainage systems have worsened the situation.
Typically, when nitrates rise in the Raccoon River, the Des Moines River remains well within drinking standards. The utility then dilutes the pollution from the Raccoon water with that drawn from the Des Moines.
This time, they are both at record highs — a troubling oddity, Stowe said.
”We are off our playing field,” he said. “We haven’t seen this before.”
Untreated high levels of nitrates in drinking water have been linked to blue baby syndrome, as well as to various cancers and miscarriages. The federal limit is 10 milligrams per liter nitrate in drinking water; both rivers have posted readings in the range of 20 milligrams per liter.
The Raccoon River hit 24 milligrams per liter this week; the previous record was 22. The Des Moines was just under 18; the record was 14.2.
Stowe said some U.S. Geological Survey gauges couldn’t measure the concentrations because they exceeded the meter’s range.
With decades’ worth of data suggesting nitrates are rising in Midwestern rivers, Stowe hopes the situation doesn’t worsen.
Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said the fact that Water Works didn’t need the removal system for the past six years shows that nitrates have been at manageable levels. He added that nitrates left over from last year, when a smaller than usual corn crop didn’t use as much nitrogen, and the record April rains could have caused a temporary spike.
Northey said strategy now focuses more on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels than past efforts, which were targeted mostly on soil conservation.
Laurie Johns, spokeswoman for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said regulations wouldn’t work because farm conditions vary and are best addressed by farmers’ voluntary efforts. No regulation can control record rain, she added.
”With such wild weather swings and 95 percent of Iowa’s land comprised of farmland, there’s not one regulation that would have prevented the current spike in nitrates, short of outlawing crop production in Iowa,” Johns said.
Deborah Neustadt, chairwoman of the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, said farmers should be required to have nutrient-management plans featuring specific practices meant to curb runoff. That way, they could be held accountable for pollution from their operations.
“Why does the rate-payer have to pay for actions of farmers?” Neustadt asked.
Susan Heathcote, water program director of the Iowa Environmental Council, took a similar view. “Local pollution-reduction goals are critical to motivating Iowa farmers and landowners to make the significant changes necessary to ensure clean water,” she said.
Posted on: April 30, 2013
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $35 million in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation systems to improve water quality in 165 small watersheds through its 2013 National Water Quality Initiative.
Please share this news with your networks so they can consult with their 319 coordinators, reach out to state conservationists or county NRCS service center, or coordinate with their local conservation districts to act on this immediate opportunity.
Applications for funding consideration during fiscal year 2013 must be received by Friday, July 12, 2013, and eligible projects may work to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and pathogen contributions from agricultural land. Please note that although the deadline mentions July, we have learned that some states seem to have deadlines in May. Drinking water is mentioned in the announcement as follows, “Communities benefit by having clean waterways, safer drinking water and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.”
Register for Today’s Free Watershed Academy Webcast on “Using Social Indicators in Watershed Management Projects”
It’s not too late to register for this free webcast on May 1, 2013, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern time on “Using Social Indicators for Watershed Management Projects.” Working with landowners and managers to find effective and practical solutions to water quality problems is critical to achieving environmental goals. Social indicators provide information about the social context, awareness, attitudes, capacities, constraints, and behaviors in a watershed or project area. Using social indicators can help resource managers and conservation professionals understand target audiences, select effective interventions and evaluate their impacts. At the end of this webcast, participants will understand some basic concepts of behavior change can have the tools to use a framework for using social indicators in nonpoint source management work.
To register, please visit www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts. Webcast materials will be posted in advance.
Posted on: April 19, 2013
At its April 22nd member meeting, the Source Water Collaborative (SWC) expanded its membership to 25 organizations by welcoming Smart Growth America and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).
The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is the nonprofit organization that represents America’s 3,000 conservation districts and those who serve on their governing boards. Conservation districts are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level. Districts work with millions of cooperating landowners and operators to help them manage and protect land and water resources on all private lands and many public lands in the United States.
“If we truly want to have a long-term impact on the quality of our water resources nationwide, it is critical that we build strong, diverse partnerships at local, state and federal levels,” said NACD CEO John Larson. “This is why we’re so pleased to be joining efforts with the Source Water Collaborative. We recognize that being part of a larger group that advocates and works to achieve the same overall outcomes is essential in these fiscally challenging times, and we look forward to a strong and productive partnership in the years ahead as we focus together on addressing commonsense and meaningful actions to improve water quality across the landscape.”
Since 2001, Smart Growth America has worked in coalitions to make the case for the environmental, social, and economic benefits of smart growth. Smart growth is very simply defined as rural, urban and suburban places with transportation and housing choices near jobs, shops and schools. The strategies communities use to create these places are ideal tools for identifying and protecting environmentally sensitive areas while promoting healthy economic growth.
“We are working with local governments across the country that are re-examining the real costs and benefits of development. They are motivated to reduce costs and protect their assets, but they still need tools and support. We are eager to ‘jump in,’ so to speak, and work with the Source Water Collaborative to make the case for source protection and to more widely distribute all of our organization’s great resources,” said Geoff Anderson, president of Smart Growth America.
The SWC was originally formed in 2006 with the goal to combine the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to act now and protect drinking water sources for generations to come. More information about the SWC’s members and resources is available on the SWC website at www.sourcewatercollaborative.org
Posted on: April 1, 2013
The EPA has published its fourth progress report summarizing the major climate change-related accomplishments of its national and regional water programs, entitled “2012 Highlights of Progress: Responses to Climate Change.” The report is organized around five long-term, programmatic vision areas which are part of the National Water Program’s 2012 strategy to manage water resources in light of climate change. Click here to read the full 2012 progress report on EPA’s website.
Posted on: March 13, 2013
Throughout March – May of 2013, EPA will be offering a series of webinars on the updated version of its Water Health & Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT). The tool is designed to assist drinking water utility owners and operators in understanding the potential public health impacts, financial costs, and economic effects of a threat to the local water supply.
Click here to view a calendar of the WHEAT training webinars (“Training Calendar” tab) and to download the software free of charge (“Home” tab).
Posted on: March 7, 2013
As a part of its ongoing commitment to encourage state and local actions to protect sources of drinking water, the Source Water Collaborative (SWC) is pleased to announce its support of three new pilot programs including watershed-based Sheridan, Wyoming; countywide efforts in Lancaster County, PA; and state-wide efforts in Wisconsin (with Rock and Sauk Counties).
The selected pilots have a wide variety of partnerships and unique project champions, including drinking water utilities; county planning commission; USDA (NRCS, Forest Service); universities; state departments of environment, health services, and game/fish; state geological surveys; NGOs (Trout Unlimited, Nature Conservancy); associations representing watershed, rural water, livestock, and conservation interests; and EPA Regional Offices. Click here for more details.
Posted on: February 6, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking nominations for members to serve on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which provides advice and recommendations to the agency on environmental justice issues. EPA expects the committee will have six vacancies—two from academia and one each from grass-roots community organizations, nongovernmental or environmental organizations, state and local agencies, and tribal groups. Council terms last three years, and members serve an average of five to eight hours per month, the agency said. EPA will accept nominations through Feb. 20 here. For additional information, contact the EPA Environmental Justice Office at (202) 564-2515.
Posted on: January 28, 2013
In anticipation of their upcoming Summer Specialty Conference on June 27 and 28, the American Water Resources Association is accepting oral and poster abstract submissions due February 8, 2013. The conference, which will take place in Hartford, Connecticut, carries the theme “Healthy Forests = Healthy Waters” and will examine the value of forests in managing water resources. Abstracts should address several key themes linking healthy forests and healthy waters, all of which are featured on the website.
Click here to learn more about criteria for abstract submissions and to view other key details about the conference.
EPA Releases Progress Report on Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources
Posted on: January 14, 2013
In light of its national study to understand the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water, the EPA released a progress report on the effort in December 2012. The report summarizes the status of 18 research projects that are part of the overall study and offers updates on chemicals used during fracturing. The study was initiated at the request of Congress in 2010 and looks at the full lifespan of water in the hydraulic fracturing process.
Click here to read EPA’s hydraulic fracturing progress report in full.
Posted on: December 18, 2012
On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, from 1:00-2:30pm EST, ASDWA and GWPC will host a webinar on “How State Source Water Programs Can Work with their USDA Partners to Protect Drinking Water Sources.” The webinar should be useful for all state water programs, from those who already know their U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist but may be looking for new ideas, to those aiming to build a successful relationship. The webinar agenda will include a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the SWC’s new online Collaboration Toolkit and two state success stories from Maine and Iowa. To register for the webinar, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/801495793
Posted on: December 5, 2012
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has issued a request for proposals for its 2013 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants, with applications due February 7, 2013. The grants, which range from $20,000-$50,000, will be awarded to projects that enlist diverse local partnerships in wetland, forest, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration and focus on urban waters and watersheds.
Potential applicants are invited to participate in an informational webinar on Thursday, December 6, from 2:00pm – 3:30pm EST. Click here to register for the webinar and here to learn more about the program or fill out the online application.
Posted on: November 26, 2012
The SWC wishes to help promote state and/or local actions by sponsoring three collaborative efforts in 2013 to protect drinking water sources by gaining the support of key agricultural and/or Clean Water Act authorities to implement conservation practices and other effective approaches. Interested parties should submit an Expression of Interest by Noon, 12/21/12. This sponsorship would be a 10-month commitment and would include planning support. Please download this document for more details about the pilot program, including criteria, instructions for submitting your response and an FAQ.
Posted on: November 20, 2012
To introduce three new water quality apps, EPA’s Watershed Academy will host a free webinar on November 28 from 1pm-3pm. The main app to be highlighted is “How’s My Waterway?,” which provides users with instant information on the condition of lakes, rivers, and streams across the United States. The webcast will also highlight the SwimGuide app, which locates nearby beaches and allows users to report pollution, and the Riverview app, which helps users share river photos and water quality updates. To register for the webinar, visit www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts
Posted on: November 11, 2012
After releasing revised draft guidelines for its Clean Water Act 319 grant program, EPA is asking states, territories, and other interested parties to submit comments on the document’s major provisions. The guidelines aim to provide a nationally consistent framework supporting the implementation of state and territorial nonpoint source programs with grants available for everything from technical assistance to demonstration projects. Click here to view the full guideline document and submit any comments by December 7th COB to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: October 31, 2012
Register now for the webinar entitled, “Successful state agency efforts to support and coordinate with local planning activities,” that has been rescheduled for Wednesday, November 7th from 1:00 to 3:00pm (eastern). The original October 30 webinar date was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. This webinar is the third in the series of five free webinars from the Enabling Source Water Protection team, led by The Trust for Public Land and the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, with support from the River Network and ASDWA.
Posted on: October 10, 2012
The EPA invites nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for a three-year appointment to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (Council). The 15 member Council was established by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to provide practical and independent advice, consultation and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on the activities, functions, policies, and regulations required by the SDWA. This notice solicits nominations to fill four new vacancies through December 15, 2015. To maintain the representation required by statute, nominees will be selected to represent: State and local agencies (two vacancies) and the general public (two vacancies). Click here to download the Federal Register notice for details.
Posted on: August 20, 2012
Throughout Fall 2012, ASDWA will host a series of five webinars on findings of the Enabling Source Water Protection Project, offering innovative and replicable state agency approaches to protecting drinking water. The project worked with eight state partners over a three-year period to align planning, economic development, regulation, and conservation across political and programmatic boundaries. Visit www.asdwa.org/swwebinars to view all dates and topics of the series and register for the first webinar, which takes place Wednesday, September 5.
Posted on: July 23, 2012
The United States Geological Survey will be briefing members of Congress and their staff on the importance of groundwater to the nation and future protection plans. The session is part of the USGS Congressional Briefing Series, an effort to increase Congressional awareness of geological science’s relevancy in public policy decision-making. For more information on this USGS Congressional Briefing, please visit http://www.usgs.gov/solutions/2012_july27.html
Pre-Proposals Due July 2nd: Financial Assistance Available via New National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Program
Posted on: June 6, 2012
Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation seek to promote sustainable communities through Environmental Solutions for Communities by supporting projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Among the several priorities listed for proposals, SWC members should note they are seeking proposals that support community-based conservation projects that improve local water quality. Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations; state, tribal, provincial and local governments; and educational institutions working in states and communities where Wells Fargo operates. To be considered for funding, pre-proposals must be submitted online by July 2, 2012. For more information, please visit the NFWF website.
Draft UIC Program Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels
Posted on: May 15, 2012
EPA has developed draft Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II permitting guidance for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing activities using diesel fuels. This document describes information useful in permitting the underground injection of oil- and gas-related hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels where EPA is the permitting authority. EPA’s goal is to improve compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements and strengthen environmental protections consistent with existing law. Click here for materials available on EPA’s website. Click here for the May 10th Federal Register Notice, establishing a comment period through July 9.
Posted on: May 13, 2012
EPA has published a list of 28 chemicals and two viruses that approximately 6,000 public water systems will monitor from 2013 to 2015 as part of the agency’s unregulated contaminant monitoring program, which collects data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA will spend more than $20 million to support the monitoring, the majority of which will be devoted to assist small drinking water systems with conducting the monitoring. Click here for more details.
Posted on: May 9, 2012
Join a free Watershed Academy Webcast entitled “USDA’s NIFA-CEAP Watershed Synthesis: Lessons Learned” on May 15 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm Eastern to hear about some important lessons learned from USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Webcast highlights will include a study led by North Carolina State University to analyze and synthesize key lessons learned from 13 of these watershed-scale projects on cropland and pastureland, and linkages between USDA’s CEAP project and US EPA’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Program.
To register for this webcast, please visit www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts.
Posted on: May 8, 2012
The week of May 6 – 12 marks the celebration of Drinking Water Week, a time when EPA and its partners celebrate the nation’s vital drinking water resources. EPA has developed a website with more information on what you can do around your home and within your community to protect your drinking water, ways to become involved in matters affecting the quality of your drinking water, and much more. To find out what you can do, go to: http://water.epa.gov/drink/drinkingwaterweek
Posted on: May 2, 2012
FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) recently posted 20 source water protection lessons for high school agricultural science students – available here. A product of a USDA-EPA partnership with FFA, the lessons are available online to FFA’s network of over one million high school agriculture science students and their instructors. Content covered includes the water cycle, drinking water basics, the watershed approach, and agricultural conservation practices to protect water quality. Click here for more details.
Posted on: April 4, 2012
EPA’s Draft Strategy describes how EPA’s water-related programs plan to address the impacts of climate change and provides long-term visions, goals and strategic actions for the management of sustainable water resources for future generations.
Posted on: April 3, 2012
Continuing its partnerships with green infrastructure communities, the EPA is offering technical assistance for green infrastructure projects protecting water quality. The effort is part of the agency’s Green Infrastructure Program that will accept letters of interest until April 6, 2012. The available $950,000 will be distributed among 10-20 projects and will be directed to watersheds and sewersheds with water quality degradation from urban stormwater.
More information about this technical assistance is available at the new EPA Green Infrastructure website.
Posted on: March 13, 2012
EPA’s new website on nutrient pollution policy and data can help individuals access information on EPA actions to reduce nutrient pollution, state efforts to develop numeric nutrient criteria, and EPA tools, data, research, and reports related to nutrient pollution. Visit this policy and data focused website at http://epa.gov/nandppolicy. Click here for information about another EPA website designed for homeowners, students and educators.
Posted on: March 6, 2012
A February 2012 NRWA Water University webinar titled, “Take Back Your Community From Nitrates—Lessons Learned,” showcases the efforts of a rural Minnesota community in addressing elevated nitrate levels. Led by Sourcewater Protection Specialist Aaron Meyer, the webinar explains how the community partnered with local farmers and tested the effects of fertilizer on groundwater quality and crop yields.
Click here to listen to the full recording of the “Take Back Your Community from Nitrates—Lessons Learned” webinar.
Posted on: February 29, 2012
The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative, supported in part by the national SWC, has been awarded the 2012 U.S. Water Prize by the Clean Water America Alliance for watershed-based approaches that innovate, integrate, and educate toward water sustainability. This inter-state collaborative between Maine and New Hampshire unites local, state and federal partners to protect forests and reduce pollution from existing land uses and anticipated development. For more information about the prize, click here.
To download the Collaborative’s newly released Action Plan, please click here.
Posted on: February 23, 2012
SWC Member, the North American Lake Management Society, recently published their Fall 2011 issue of their magazine, LakeLine, which is dedicated entirely to source water protection. Click here to read how this issue shows how lake protection and source water protection overlap.
Posted on: February 6, 2012
A new study published by the U.S. Geological Survey examines the movement of phosphorus in soil and groundwater of farm settings in five states—Washington, California, Nebraska, Indiana, and Maryland. The report assesses the impact of various farming practices on phosphorus movement—information that is useful in creating best practices to limit phosphorus transport from agricultural fields.
To access the full report, click here.
Posted on: January 30, 2012
The EPA’s newest DVD, “Reduce Runoff: Slow it Down, Spread it out, Soak it in!” teaches viewers how to control runoff in urban areas. The DVD was created in partnership with the U.S Botanic Garden and consists of four educational videos that can be used for outreach or to fulfill requirements for EPA’s Stormwater MS4 program. The videos can be viewed online or ordered from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). Click here for viewing and ordering information and to find out more about the videos.
Posted on: January 25, 2012
Officials at the USDA Economic Research Service have released new data that brings together U.S. fertilizer consumption data from 1950 to 2010. To enhance analytic efforts, the data is organized by plant nutrient, major selected product, and consumption of mixed fertilizers, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients. This information can prove useful in tracking growing nutrient loads and identifying usage trends.
To access the new USDA Economic Research data, click here.
Posted on: January 23, 2012
On December 6th, the North Carolina Source Water Protection Program held a one-day workshop to launch a statewide Source Water Collaborative. The state Collaborative is envisioned as an autonomous group that will work together across various programs and policies to strengthen and advance protection of the states’ drinking water sources. Click here for more details.
Posted on: January 19, 2012
The Water Research Foundation has released two new publications that offer a vision and roadmap that can guide U.S. water utilities and supporting groups with a unified strategy for coherent, consistent, cost-effective, and socially acceptable source water protection programs. Click here for more details and to access these publications.
Posted on: January 18, 2012
EPA has added updated U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) data to the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution data access tool, a tool intended to help states develop effective nitrogen and phosphorus source reduction strategies. Click here to learn more and to access the updated tool online.
Posted on: January 5, 2012
USDA announced that pre-proposals for FY12 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are due by January 31. This year’s CIG projects will focus on nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health and wildlife. For more information on CIG from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, click here.
Register Today for “Using Clean Water Act Funding for Source Water Protection” Webinar on January 19!
Posted on: December 19, 2011
To bring in the new year, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators and Ground Water Protection Council will host a webinar linking Clean Water Act funds and source water protection on January 19, 12 PM-1:30 PM EST.
The webinar will consist of three presentations focusing on Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs and ways to coordinate on the state level.
To register for the webinar or learn more, visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/136094281 today!
Posted on: November 30, 2011
In an effort to improve waterways in the nation’s urban areas, the EPA has begun soliciting proposals for its new Urban Waters Small Grants. The Small Grants emerge as the latest work of EPA’s Urban Waters Program and will be awarded to projects across the country that improve water quality and support community revitalization.
To learn more about the grants and submit a proposal, visit http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding/index.html
Posted on: November 29, 2011
On Friday, December 2, 2011, from 2:00-3:00pm EST, the United States Geological Survey will kickoff a host of webinars about its new regional SPARROW models and online decision support tool. The first webinar will provide an overview of the tool’s main uses: prioritizing areas for nutrient reduction, identifying sources that contribute large quantities of nutrients to local waterways, and evaluating nutrient reduction scenarios.
To learn more and register for the December 2 webinar, visit https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/941521630.
Posted on: November 14, 2011
The U.S. Forest Service recently unveiled its Forests to Faucets project, a series of maps that illustrate the importance of forests in sustaining healthy sources of surface drinking water. The interactive maps use a geographic information system to show the essential role forests play in providing clean drinking water to urban communities.
Click here to learn more about the U.S. Forest Service’s Forests to Faucets Project.
Posted on: November 11, 2011
In light of the increasing problem posed by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its new Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Data Access Tool (NPDAT) and a free demonstrative webinar on November 30, 2011. In addition to NPDAT, the series will feature other useful tools for tracking and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels.
Posted on: November 10, 2011
The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has earned a guest article in the National Association of Conservation Districts’ fall publication of “The Resource.” Co-written by various member groups, the article explains SWC’s mission and the importance of joint efforts by SWC and NACD.
Click here to read the full article in NACD’s “The Resource.”
Posted on: October 25, 2011
A new study by the USDA’s Great Lakes Conservation Effects Assessment Project, (CEAP), found that farmers in the region have reduced losses of sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous by employing effective conservation techniques.
Posted on: October 10, 2011
The recent Ground Water Protection Council webinar on Stormwater Management and Source Water Protection is now available online at http://www.gwpc.org/source_water/swp.htm
Downloadable PDFs and videos of the webinar presentations are also available online.
Posted on: October 5, 2011
NACD’s “Conservation Benefits: Putting Value Where It Belongs,” which focuses on several ecosystem services, including source water, is now available.
Posted on: September 28, 2011
New USGS Water Quality Findings: No Consistent Declines in Nitrate Levels in Large Rivers in the Mississippi River Basin. New USGS findings released in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology, accessible at: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pubs/nitrate_trends/
Check out the latest newsletter from this collaborative in New Hampshire and Maine online at
Subsurface transport of orthophosphate in five agricultural watersheds, USA: Journal of Hydrology, in press and available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.08.014
A new USGS study evaluates the occurrence of 23 trace elements and radon in groundwater samples from over 5,000 wells collected nationwide from 1992-2003. The report presents trace element occurrence, describes factors that influence the spatial distribution of trace elements, and compares concentrations to human-health benchmarks. A news release and the full report can be accessed online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/trace/pubs/sir2011-5059/index.html
Posted on: September 7, 2011
Know a great supporter of conservation who deserves national recognition? NACD is now taking nominations for awards! This year’s deadline is Sept. 30. Click here for more information.
Posted on: August 25, 2011
GWPC Announces Interregional Source Water Roundtable as part of 2011 Annual Forum on September 28th in Atlanta, GA. The forum will showcase the success of the SWC, regional collaboratives, and state program efforts to foster support for future regional collaborations.
New Funding Opportunity for Forest and Water Climate Adaptation Planning is Available. Application Deadline: 9/19/11. Six rural communities will be provided $10,000 scholarships. The Model Forest Policy Program is now accepting applications for 2012 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies.