Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

from Michael R. Martin & LakeStewardship.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

EPA Water Quality Standards Academy

The Delaware River Basin Commission is co-sponsor of the EPA Water Quality Standards Academy to be held January 26-30, 2009 at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, NJ. Please note that scholarship (no cost) positions are available for representatives of certain groups, such as students and volunteer monitoring organizations. See the program flyer for more information - http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/WQSA-jan2009.pdf.

Source: NALMS Newsnotes

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ton Conry receives 2008 NALMS Secchi Disk Award

This year’s recipient for the highest achievement award from the North American Lake Management Society went to Tom Conry. Tom currently is the Water Quality Administrator for the Waco Water Utility Services for the City of Waco, Texas. He served as the 1998 NALMS president and later in 2006 rejoined the NALMS board and executive committee as the Secretary.
Reprinted from NALMS News Notes - http://nalms.org

Friday, December 26, 2008

EPA Care Grant Request for Proposals

EPA announced the availability of funds and solicits from eligible entities project proposals to receive financial assistance through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a unique community-based, community-driven, multimedia demonstration program designed to help communities understand and reduce risks due to toxic pollutants and environmental concerns from all sources. The CARE grant program works with the eligible entities to help their communities form collaborative partnerships, develop an understanding of the many local sources of risk from toxic pollutants and environmental concerns, set priorities, and identify and carry out projects to reduce risks through collaborative action at the local level. CARE's long-term goal is to help communities build self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve human health and local environments into the future. This is the fifth year requesting proposals for the CARE grant program; the first was in the spring of 2005. The request for proposals is in the Federal Register.

EPA has prepared a Question and Answer document that can be found on the CARE Web site (www.epa.gov/care). Any additional questions or comments must be communicated in writing via postal mail, facsimile, or by using our Web site listed above. Answers will be posted, bi-weekly, until the closing date of this announcement at the OAR Grants/Funding Web page
(http://www.epa.gov/air/grants_funding.html).

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Massachusetts statewide stormwater program proposed

MassDEP has officially proposed its new Statewide Stormwater Management Program.
It will require private owners of large impervious surfaces (including institutions, commercial, industrial and residential properties) to manage stormwater.

The draft regulations, draft general permit, draft Fact Sheet, Summary of the program and various supporting documents are all posted on MassDEP's web site: http://www.mass.gov/dep/service/regulations/newregs.htm#storm

MassDEP will be holding 5 information sessions around the state the week of January 5, 2009, and will follow with 4 public hearings the week of January 19th: http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/hearings/stormreg.htm

MassDEP will accept verbal and written comments on the proposed regulations and draft general permit at the hearings, and written comments until 5:00 p.m. on February 9, 2009.

Mass DEP is particularly interested in receiving public comment on two definitions included in the proposed regulations: redevelopment of impervious surface and minor repair of a paved surface.

MassDEP is also soliciting public comments on section 21.11 of the proposed regulations which sets forth the transition rules for sites undergoing projects for the development and/or redevelopment of impervious surfaces.

All written comments should be submitted to MassDEP, One Winter Street, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108, attn. Glenn Haas, or by email at DEP.Waterpermitting@state.ma.us.

Source: Fred Civian, MassDEP
Stormwater Coordinator (via NPSInfo Listserve)
617-292-5821
http://mass.gov/dep/water/wastewater/stormwat.htm

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Lake Stewardship

Here is wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas* and Happy New Year.

*substitute the Holiday you celebrate here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waterkeeper Alliance Issues Blueprint for Clean Water Recommendations for Obama Administration

The Waterkeeper Alliance -- the environmental group founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr., reportedly under consideration by the Obama transition team to head EPA -- has developed a broad set of recommendations for how the next administration should clean up the nation's waters. The report, A Blueprint for Clean Water, calls for reversing scores of actions by the outgoing Bush administration and then implementing an aggressive agenda to limit water pollution and protect water resources. The paper suggests policy changes on 33 topics, including clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act over isolated waters, prioritizing permitting of ships' ballast discharges, stricter controls on pharmaceuticals in drinking water, non-point sources, mining and oil and gas issues, sewage and stormwater and other measures.

Among the sweeping recommendations, the paper pushes for Congress to create a Clean Water Trust Fund to finance clean water infrastructure projects; end EPA's use of 301(h) waivers that excuse wastewater treatment plants from secondary treatment; create stringent controls for nutrients, pesticides and pharmaceuticals in water; and treat factory farms as industrial polluters. The group pushes for a boost to enforcement resources and a restructuring of the office to encourage more even standards across the country, a net-gain wetlands policy and impaired waters listing for beaches. To view the Blueprint for Clean Water Report, visit: http://www.insideepa.com/secure/data_extra/dir_08/epa2008_1806.pdf.

Source: NALMS Notes

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Memory of NALMS' Jim LaBounty

The North American Lake Management Society has announces the very sad news that its dear friend, colleague and long-time Editor of the Journal of Lake & Reservoir Management, Jim LaBounty, passed away on December 17th. We are all deeply saddened at the loss of this most cherished member of the NALMS family. Condolences should be directed to Carol LaBounty, 920 Bramblewood Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80108. Details concerning a memorial service to be held in Colorado have not yet been announced.

EPA Handbook to Assist Local Officials Implement Green Infrastructure Programs

EPA is developing a series of documents, collectively called the Municipal Handbook, to assist local officials with implementation of green infrastructure programs. Each 15-20 page issue covers a very specific issue associated with establishing and implementing a comprehensive program.

Funding Options was released in September. This week 3 additional installments in the series are being released: Green Infrastructure Retrofit Policies addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing a comprehensive municipal program to incorporate green infrastructure into existing landscapes, including descriptions of a wide variety of incentives and regulations that communities have used to drive green infrastructure retrofits. Green Streets focuses on one of the most common opportunities for implementing green infrastructure in urban areas, the transportation right-of-way; this paper discusses specific designs, how to overcome typical hurdles, and includes descriptions of several successful municipal green streets programs. Rainwater Harvesting Policies provides information on the impetus for rainwater harvesting, including energy and climate change drivers, technical and policy considerations for establishing water harvesting programs, and mu
nicipal case studies. Coming Attractions in 2009 will be Handbook installments on operation and maintenance, municipal incentives, and more.

The Municipal Handbook is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/greeninfrastructure. Click on Municipal Handbook to select and view or download the Handbook Series.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

NYS FOLA Releases December Issue of Water Column

The New York State Federation of Lake Associations has released the December issue of the on-line newsletter, The Water Column. The December '08 issue includes:
  • DEC TO MAKE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN DRAFT DAM SAFETY REGULATIONS!!
  • Info on Grant Writing Workshop scheduled for March 2009
  • Info on the invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla now known to be present in New York (see also my December 6 posting on Lake Stewardship Blog)
And much, much more. So, Click on the Title to read the Decemeber newsletter

Discourse with UWS Aquacleaner Inc. about their approach to "lake restoration"

I am presently involved in a discourse on lake management with the president and staff of UWS Aquacleaner. They were recently featured on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. The story didn't really show much lake management and the UWS Aqucleaner folks misrepresented the magnitude of their work, saying they were restoring "dead lakes" when actually they are just sucking all the sediment from in front of private shorefront owners who pay them for that service. This in no way could be classified as lake management or lake restoration, because it lacks the holistic approach of lake and watershed that is truly needed to manage and restore lakes.

I do not  mean to say anything bad about the company or the work they do, but I feel the need to clarify the significance of the work they do. On the single job level, they appear to do what they say they do - remove sediments and plants from a small area.

Added: 1/8/09 - The topic on Discovery Channel has been closed. At least they have admitted that what they are doing is dredging, which is more accurate. And dredging requires all sorts of permits, and design and sediment testing. 

Click HERE or on Title link to view the discussion on the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs Fan Blog. I am "Cedar Eden" and the President Jerry Davis is "myaquacleaner" and some of the otheres are staff. The first post is just an unknown fan of the show.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Opposition to Greenhouse Gas Tax On Farm Animals!

Editors note: If you are wondering what this has to do with lake stewardship, remember that everything that happens in your watershed has an effect on your water quality. t is too late to send comment letters, but this article should be of some interest to you.

Oppose A Greenhouse Gas Tax On Farm Animals!

Dairy and Livestock Farmers:

It is important that you send a letter strongly opposing a permit requirement for greenhouse gasses emitted by dairy and livestock farms to the EPA by Friday, Nov. 28. This permit would effectively tax farm animals which emit greenhouse gases. Just go to the NYFB Web site at www.NYFB.org and click on the E-Lobby Center to quickly and easily send a letter to the EPA.

Why would your animals be taxed?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on whether it is appropriate to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. In order to regulate automobile emissions in this fashion, EPA would first have to make a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and safety and should be classified as a “pollutant.”

The problem with this approach is that once an endangerment finding is made, other provisions of the Clean Air Act are automatically triggered, creating much broader regulation of other sectors of the economy, including agriculture. One such unintended consequence for agriculture is the imposition of fees that, for all practical purposes, will function like a tax on cows and other livestock.

* Once an endangerment finding is made, Title V of the Clean Air Act is automatically triggered. Title V requires that any entity emitting more than 100 tons per year of a regulated pollutant must obtain a permit in order to continue to operate. EPA has no choice but to require these permits once an endangerment finding is made.

* USDA has stated that any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs emits more than 100 tons of carbon and would have to obtain permits under Title V in order to continue to operate if GHG are regulated. According to USDA statistics, this would cover about 99 percent of dairy production, more than 90 percent of beef production, and more than 95 percent of all hog production in the United States.

* Title V is administered by the states, and permit fees vary from state to state. The tax for dairy cows could be $175 per cow, for beef $87.50 per head, and the tax on hogs would be a little more than $20 per hog.

* Unlike other regulated pollutants, GHGs are global in scope and distribute evenly across the planet. A ton emitted in New York has the same impact as a ton emitted in China. Regulating the ton in New York without addressing emission in China and other nations will do little to address the global issue, and only penalizes the NewYork producer.

In a related article, PETA asks Ben & Jerry's to use Human Breast Milk to make their ice cream because:
"producing milk from cows for human consumption is hazardous to the animals and to the people who are drinking it."
MONTPELIER — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream this week to consider using human breast milk instead of cow's milk in their products.

PETA, an animal rights and vegetarian organization known for outrageous stunts, sent a letter to company co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Tuesday saying consumers and cows would benefit from a switch to human breast milk.

"The breast is best!" wrote PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in the letter to the company. "Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben & Jerry's ice cream?"

Sources:
New York Farm Bureau
159 Wolf Road, PO Box 5330
Albany, NY 12205-0330
518-436-8495 / 800-342-4143
www.nyfb.org
Take action on this and other issues at the New York Farm Bureau Action Alerts web page

Rutland Herald

Friday, December 12, 2008

Agencies Revise Guidance to Protect Wetlands and Streams ● New Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army are issuing revised guidance to ensure America's wetlands, streams and other waters are better protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The guidance clarifies the geographic scope of jurisdiction under the CWA, redefining "Waters of the US."
"We are providing improved guidance to ensure the information is in place to fully protect the nation's streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. "The guidance builds upon our experiences and provides consistent direction to our staff and the public."
"We are committed to protecting America's aquatic resources as required by the Clean Water Act and in accordance with the Supreme Court decision," said John Paul Woodley Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). "This revised interagency guidance will enable the agencies to make clear, consistent, and predictable jurisdictional determinations within the scope of the Clean Water Act."

The revised guidance replaces previous policy issued in June 2007 and clarifies a June 2006 Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States regarding the scope of the agencies' jurisdiction under the CWA. The guidance follows the agencies' evaluation of more than 18,000 jurisdictional determinations and review of more than 66,000 comments.

More information on the guidance: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/guidance/CWAwaters.html

Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States"

40 CFR 230.3(s) The term waters of the United States means:

  1. 1. All waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide
  2. 2. All interstate waters including interstate wetlands;
  3. 3. All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairiepotholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:
      (i) Which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes; or 
      (ii) From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or 
      (iii) Which are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;
  4. 4. All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States under this definition;
  5. 5. Tributaries of waters identified inparagraphs (s)(1) through (4) of this section;
  6. 6. The territorial sea;
  7. 7. Wetlands adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands) identified in paragraphs (s)(1) through (6) of this section; waste treatment systems, including treatment ponds or lagoons designed to meet the requirements of CWA (other than cooling ponds as defined in 40 CFR 423.11(m) which also meet the criteria of this definition) are not waters of the United States.

Waters of the United States do not include prior converted cropland. Notwithstanding the determination of an area’s status as prior converted cropland by any other federal agency, for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, the final authority regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction remains with EPA.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

International Treaty Members Promote "Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People"

A Delegation from the United States, consisting of representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of State, US Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the US National Ramsar Committee, recently assembled in the Republic of Korea for the 10th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP10) to the Ramsar Treaty Convention on Wetlands. The Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Contracting Parties (158 countries containing 1,822 wetland sites covering 168 million hectares included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance) meet every three years to assess Convention implementation progress, share knowledge and experience on technical issues, address the importance of further developing and intensifying internationally coordinated actions for the conservation of wetlands, and plan for the next triennium. With the theme Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People, COP 10 considered over 30 agenda items, including the Convention?s Strategic Plan 2009-2014, its budget for the triennium 2009-2011, reports and recommendations submitted by the Parties and the Convention?s Standing Committees, and the role of wetlands in sustainable development issues such as human health and well-being, climate change, biofuels, extractive industries, urbanization, and poverty eradication. 

For more information, contact Kathleen Kutschenreuter (kutschenreuter.kathle
en@epa.gov
) or visit http://www.ramsar.org/index_cop10_e.htm

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Monday, December 08, 2008

Landscape Water Budget Tool

To assist home builders, landscape professionals, and irrigation partners in meeting the outdoor criteria of a future WaterSense specification for new homes, EPA has developed a Landscape Water Budget Tool to help guide them through the water budget calculations of the draft specification for water-efficient, single-family new homes. The landscape water budget tool will help determine:
  • The amount of water the designed landscape is allowed (budgeted) based on EPA criteria.
  • How much water the designed landscape requires based on climate, plant type, and irrigation system efficiency.
  • Whether the designed landscape meets the budgeted amount.
The Landscape WaterBudget Tool is in draft form at this time. EPA is inviting all interested parties to provide comments on this new tool, specifically recommendations on data sources and sources of local reference evapotranspiration.

To read the budget tool and approach strategy: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/waterbudget_tool.htm

Send comments or suggestions to watersense-newhomes@erg.com. The public comment period ends on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. The Draft Water-Efficient Single-Family New Home Specification and public comments are available at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/homes.htm. EPA plans to issue a second draft of the Water-Efficient Single Family New Home Specification in early 2009.

If you have questions about the landscape water budget tool, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or e-mail
watersense@epa.gov.

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Using Rain Gardens to Reduce Runoff

Slow it down, Spread it out, Soak it in!

EPA's Watershed Academy held a Webcast to discuss the benefits of rain gardens on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Many communities across the country are struggling to address impacts from stormwater runoff due to increased development. Green or low impact development practices such as rain gardens can help manage runoff effectively as well as provide aesthetic benefits. Rain gardens can increase property values, add beauty and habitat, reduce a community?s carbon footprint, as well as provide important water quality benefits.

Speakers included the following:
  • Jenny Biddle with EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds 
  • Pamela Rowe, RainScapes Program coordinator with the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection
  • Lynn Hinkle, founder of ASTRA Communications, Inc. and Goin' Green. 
You can get a PDF copy of the Rain Garden Webcast PowerPoint Presentation at http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/wacademy/webcasts/pdf/2008_12_03_slides.pdf

For more information about Low Impact Development techniques, visit http://www.epa.gov/nps/lid/

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Hydrilla Found in New York State

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff members have confirmed the presence of the aquatic invasive plant species Hydrilla verticillata in New York State. The plant was found in Creamery Pond in Orange County, and the identification was confirmed by several aquatic plant experts from around the country. A second infestation was recently found in Suffolk County. Hydrilla is considered to be the most problematic aquatic plant in the United States.

For more information on hydrilla, log onto:
http:\\www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/hydrilla.shtml
or http:\\aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/hydcirc.html

Source: Water Column, NYS Federation of Lake Associations (http://www.nysfola.org)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Agreement to Improve Septic System Management

Wastewater treatment systems serving 25 million homes across the country will be improved, thanks to an agreement among EPA and 14 national organizations. The organizations will work together to improve management of septic wastewater systems by exchanging information and providing technical assistance to their members, states and local municipalities.

Nearly one quarter of the nation's housing and commercial development depend on onsite and septic wastewater treatment systems. When properly sited, designed, and maintained, these systems perform at a high level. However, between 10 and 20 percent fail each year, posing a great threat to surface and groundwater. Malfunctioning systems are the second greatest threat to groundwater quality in the United States.

More information on EPA's wastewater treatment system program: http://epa.gov/owm/septic

Source: EPA Waterheadlines

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pond Pulse - Online newsletter

Lake stewards might be interested in the online newsletter, "Pond Pulse," put out by the International Professional Pond Contractors Association (IPPCA). You can find these on line at http://pondpulse.com/

Go to http://www.ippca.com/ to learn more about the IPPCA. It is not so much an association of lake managers as it is pond contractors.

The Cost of Bottled Water

Tap water is a tremendous value for families and communities, typically costing less than half a penny per gallon. Bottled water is often an important and convenient choice for consumers and the traveling public but it certainly has its costs.

Consumers should know about the carbon footprint and environmental impacts of bottled water. It takes a lot of energy to manufacture, transport, and store bottled water. Experts estimate the plastic bottle manufacturing process alone consumes 17 million barrels of oil a year.

Street litter and marine debris are costly concerns, as well. Marine debris is a major pollution problem affecting the world?s oceans, coasts, and watersheds. Although impacts may be more visible at the local beach; marine debris is a national and international problem. Anything can become marine debris. Extremely light-weight items, like plastic bottles, are more likely to become marine debris than heavier items because they can easily be carried by wind from one location to another.

Think globally and drink locally. Tap into the savings and recycle for the streams' sake.

For more information about Water on Tap visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/wot/index.html

For more information about the Waste Reduction Model: http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/waste/calculators/Warm_home.html

Source: EPA Waterheadlines