Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EPA wants watershed protection comments online: Share your ideas today at link below or by clicking this headline


Comments will close March 31

Posted on March 29th, 2010 - 9:25 AM
Thanks to everyone who’s shared comments so far. It’s great to see so many informed, thoughtful discussions.
Comments will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, March 31. The final group of approved comments will appear around 9 a.m. EST on April 1.
We will then compile the comments so they may be submitted to the Coming Together for Clean Water conference. Thank you again for your participation!

Welcome to Coming Together for Clean Water

Posted on March 16th, 2010 - 11:41 AM
Nearly 40 years ago, Congress passed a truly remarkable piece of legislation—the Clean Water Act. This document outlined sweeping commitments to restore and maintain the integrity of our nation’s waters, rid them of pollution, and make them safe for humans and wildlife alike.
For even longer, the Environmental Protection Agency has worked to fulfill these ambitious and important goals. Our efforts have made our water resources cleaner and safer in many ways, but new challenges arise everyday.  This April, Administrator Lisa Jackson and I are inviting 100 leaders in water issues to help us sharpen our thinking during a one-day event, Coming Together for Clean Water, on how we can meet these challenges.
Specifically, we’ll discuss what we can do about the most significant pollution problems facing our waters. These evolving issues pose complex challenges to restoring healthy watersheds and creating sustainable communities across the country.
These priorities are important to all of us, and cannot be achieved in one day. That’s why Administrator Jackson and I are asking you to participate in this discussion forum, which was designed around the questions we’ll tackle during the Coming Together for Clean Water conference. I encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences on these topics, so we can use them to inform our discussion.
Addressing water pollution is an enormous task that will take a variety of ideas and experiences. I thank you for helping us in this effort.
–Peter Silva
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water

Topic 1: The Watershed Approach

Posted on March 16th, 2010 - 11:37 AM
EPA has long focused on identifying impaired waters and restoring their water quality.  Recently, EPA has begun efforts on the protection and conservation of healthy, functioning watersheds, which provide the ecological support system essential for achieving water quality restoration. Our challenge is to weave a range of voluntary programs, regulations, and strategies into an effective method of protecting whole geographically based drainage areas.
•    If you have experience with protecting watersheds, what has worked and what hasn’t?
•    How can we protect and improve watersheds given the challenges of various sources of pollution?
•    What examples of effective practices and strategies can be “scaled up” to State and national levels for greater effectiveness and broader use?
For more detail about why and how conference participants will be approaching this topic, please see the Discussion Document at right.

Topic 2: Managing Pollutants from Nutrients

Posted on March 16th, 2010 - 11:35 AM
Excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous entering the nations waters create pollution that is hard to track, contain, and control. Nutrient pollution is as damaging to our waters as it is complex, so finding effective ways to address it is critical. EPA and State agencies have used various approaches to tackle the problem but much more is needed to protect water bodies from these pollutants.
•    What critical elements need to be included in an effective nutrient strategy?
•    How should the strategies differ for protecting healthy and functioning watersheds versus those that need to be significantly restored due to previous pollution?
•    What has worked for your organization, state, or tribe in controlling nutrient pollution? What hasn’t?
For more detail about why and how conference participants will be approaching this topic, please see the Discussion Document at right.

Topic 3: Stormwater Pollution

Posted on March 16th, 2010 - 11:34 AM
What, where, and how communities build will affect their residents’ lives including access to clean water. More pavement and non-porous surfaces mean less area where water can soak into the ground, where it recharges our water supplies and nurtures ecosystems. Stormwater that isn’t absorbed runs over these developed areas, picking up contaminants and sediments that eventually flow into rivers and streams.
•    In light of the principles of smart growth, including green infrastructure, what practices or approaches have you seen in urban settings that have been effective in supporting achievement of the CWA goals?
•    What additional practices or approaches do you believe hold potential to support achievement of CWA goals?
•    What actions can EPA and others take to promote these practices or approaches in support of achievement of CWA goals?
For more detail about why and how conference participants will be approaching this topic, please see the Discussion Document at right.

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