Watershed Initiative Proposals Submitted to EPA
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting the Watershed Initiative, a national competition to select up to 20 watersheds for grants ranging from $300,000 to $1.3 million to support promising, locally-led, watershed-based approaches to clean water. Each Governor and Tribal Leader is allowed to nominate up to two intra-state or intra-tribal watersheds and an unlimited number of inter-state or joint state and tribal watersheds for EPA selection.
The Department issued a call for nominations in the Environmental Notice Bulletin on September 11, 2002. After considering those nominations that best meet EPA's criteria of a focus on results, broad stakeholder and community support, innovation, and compatibility with other federal or state programs, Governor George E. Pataki selected two intra-state watersheds and two inter-state watersheds. These nominations have been submitted to EPA for review.
The inter-state nominees are:
Upper Susquehanna River Basin. The Susquehanna Basin straddles the New York-Pennsylvania border and provides a large portion of flow to the Chesapeake Bay. The Upper Susquehanna Coalition (USC) is proposing a series of projects to address nonpoint source pollution and habitat issues that were identified through the development of the Susquehanna and Chemung Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) in 2001. Among USC's seven proposed projects are the continued development of a regional database that can be used for calculating nutrient and sediment loads to waters in the region, the construction 50 acres of demonstration projects using wetlands to attenuate flooding and showcase the integration of natural resource restoration into community planning, the building of local stormwater coalitions for conducting cooperative Stormwater Phase II programs, and a riparian buffer initiative to foster agricultural stewardship and protect water courses.
Headwaters of Delaware River. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is proposing a series of projects supporting the Tri-State Watershed Plan, an implementation element of its Special Protection Waters (SPW) program. The projects include developing numerical criteria and wastewater loading allocations for water quality protection of the Delaware River and tributaries in the Tri-State watershed, using an innovative partnership model to reach out to local decision makers and partners to establish a prototype intra-regional nonpoint source pollution control plan, developing ecological in-stream flow requirements, an ecological data analysis for the Neversink River, and outreach and education for each of the projects.
The two intra-state watersheds are:
Lower Hudson River Basin. The Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts is proposing a series of projects addressing the management of erosion and sedimentation in the Hudson River Estuary and New York/New Jersey Harbor. The reduction of sediment inputs is also essential to maintain the quality of water entering drinking water systems within the New York City Watershed, as well as maintaining a low cost for treatment of water in these systems. Additionally, it will help reduce the frequency of navigational dredging in the NewYork/New Jersey Harbor. The projects include training planning board members, code enforcement officers, contractors, and engineers on their roles in implementing the Phase II Stormwater Regulations in their communities. An additional project would provide ten Certified Professionals in Erosion and Sedimentation Control to the 11 counties in the watershed.
Cannonsville Reservoir Watershed. The Delaware County Action Plan (DCAP) addresses all significant nonpoint contaminant sources in the basin to meet water quality objectives. The following projects are proposed under the DCAP: nutrient management through forage intensive feed systems, integrated assessment through integrated climate and terrestrial models, and a comprehensive training program on DCAP methods for watershed assessment, management and evaluation.
President Bush has requested $21 million in his 2003 budget for this initiative. Applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum non-federal match of 25% of the total cost of the project or projects. EPA expects to announce selections in by Spring 2003.
For more information contact: Watershed Initiative, Division of Water, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3500, phone: (518) 402-8232.