Assumable Waters Subcommittee
ACWA has listened in on, attended, and submitted formal letters concerning the deliberations of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT) Assumable Waters Subcommittee, which was charged with providing EPA with recommendations concerning how to delineate the extent of waters/wetlands which could be assumed by states and tribes versus retained by the US Army Corp of Engineers in the event that a state or tribe chooses to assume authority for their own §404 permitting program.
The subcommittee process over, as the subcommittee presented the final report to NACEPT this week and NACEPT voted to move the report to the EPA administrator “expeditiously”. The report ended up containing two recommendations: one by a majority of the subcommittee, and one by a minority made up of the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE).
The majority recommended that USACE retain authority over waters included on list of regulated waters under §10 of Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA), with a few exceptions, and all other waters be assumable by states and tribes. The majority also recommended that EPA adopt a policy where USACE would retain administrative authority for §404 over wetlands adjacent to retained navigable waters up to an agreed upon, negotiated boundary. The minority recommended that USACE retain existing and new §10 RHA waters and “traditionally navigable waters”, and that USACE retain authority over wetlands adjacent to retained navigable waters. For more information, contact Julian Gonzalez.
Stormwater Workgroup Webinar Recap
On Wednesday, May 10, ACWA’s Stormwater Workgroup held a webinar entitled, Taking It to the Streets: Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Philadelphia Communities. Professor Tom Ballestero, Director of the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center presented on his work with green infrastructure projects in Philadelphia. Professor Ballestero highlighted several case studies and success stories while providing detailed information on green stormwater infrastructure. For presentation slides, go here.
ACWA 2017 Water Quality Trading Workshop
On June 27, 2017, ACWA is hosting a Workshop in Washington, DC on water quality trading. The Workshop will be a venue for face-to-face information sharing between the states with various levels of involvement in water quality trading, including states with robust programs, states in the process of starting programs, and states looking to learn more about trading. The goal of the Workshop is to establish open lines of communication between practitioners nationwide. For more information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
State Water Agency Climate Adaptation Practices
EPA recently held a webinar with over 600 participants on state water agency practices for climate resilience adaptation, featuring presentations from Oregon, Maryland, and Massachusetts as part of their ongoing efforts to publicize state water agency innovation. A geographically diverse group of ACWA members contributed to the collection of state adaptation briefs on EPA’s website, showcasing ways state agencies are innovating in the face of growing water resource management challenges. You can view a full recording of the Webinar and download the complete presentation file on EPA’s YouTube channel and at EPA’s website, respectively. You can see the full database of state practices here. If you or your staff have taken a look at any of them and considered ways to incorporate ideas or initiatives at your own state, we would love to hear about it – please contact Julian Gonzalez.
USDA announced availability of funding for NWQI High Priority Watersheds
USDA recently announced it will make an investment of $33 million in 197 high-priority watersheds across the country. ACWA has worked with NRCS and EPA to update our members on the progress, effectiveness, and timetables associated with the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), which helps farmers implement voluntary conservation practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces, and buffers which protect and improve water quality where it is needed most. These types of practices enhance agricultural productivity and profitability while also improving water quality by enhancing soil health and optimizing the use of agricultural inputs. The current deadline for applications for watersheds to participate is June 16. For more information contact your local USDA Service Center.