Friday, September 30, 2011

2012 Environmental Education Grants Available for Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Education Programs

In tomorrow's PA Bulletin, Oct. 1, 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection announces the availability of applications for the 2012 Environmental Education Grant Program, beginning October 3, 2011. The 2012 Grant Program will include a grant for Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Education programs promoting the reduction of non-point source pollution, like sediment and nutrient loads. Additionally, Chesapeake Bay programs may address abandoned mine drainage, and water conservation.

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Pennsylvania Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that 5% of pollution fines and penalties collected by the Department, be set aside for environmental education within the State of Pennsylvania. Grant awards are limited to $7,500 and applications must be postmarked by December 16, 2011.

Access the Grants Manual and Application Forms here.

Posted by Tanya J. Cramoy, Research Assistant

Friday, September 23, 2011

Live Public Webinar Demonstrating New Web-Based Bay Clean-Up Tool

The Chesapeake Bay Program will be hosting a live, public, two-hour webinar demonstrating the new Chesapeake Assessment and Scenario Tool (CAST).  CAST is a web-based program intended to assist municipalities, states, federal agencies, and others in their assessment of pollution reduction strategies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The program is aimed at helping users meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) allocations.  Rapid estimates are generated to indicate the combination of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will provide the greatest reductions in nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment.  The estimates are designed to help users select the BMPs for their Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).  The webinar will run from 10:00am to 12:00pm on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

Register for the webinar here.

Read the CAST Fact Sheet here.

Posted by Tanya J. Cramoy, Research Assistant

Thursday, September 15, 2011

GAO Recommends Common Federal and State Goals, and Common Assessment Approach in Chesapeake Bay Restoration

On September 15, 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), under direction of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, has conducted its first performance assessment of the progress made on Chesapeake Bay restoration. An EPA-led Federal Leadership Committee was directed, in May of 2009, to issue a strategy to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay ("Strategy") by May of 2010.  The GAO's first assessment of progress examined:

"(1) the extent to which the Strategy includes measurable goals for restoring the bay that are shared by stakeholders and actions to attain these goals; (2) the key factors, if any, federal and state officials identified that may reduce the likelihood of achieving Strategy goals and actions; and (3) agency plans for assessing progress made in implementing the Strategy and restoring bay health."

In light of its findings, the GAO has made several Recommendations for Executive Action aimed at improving the likelihood that Chesapeake Bay restoration is achieved. They recommend that the Administrator of the EPA "work collaboratively with federal and state bay restoration stakeholders" to: (1) develop common goals to help ensure stakeholders, federal and state, are working toward the same goals; (2) establish benchmarks to measure progress toward goals for the entire restoration project; (3) develop an "adaptive management process" that will allow stakeholders to adjust actions based on evaluated progress; and (4) identify indicators for assessing progress in the improvement of bay health and clarify how those assessors will coordinate their efforts.

Read the Full Report here (59 pages).
Read the Highlights Page here.
Read the Summary and Recommendations here.

Posted by Tanya J. Cramoy, Research Assistant

Saturday, September 10, 2011

DEP Announces Phase 2 Watershed Implementation Plan Meeting

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection published notice, 41 Pa. Bull. 4911 (Sept. 10, 2011), of a September 29, 2011 meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) Management Team. The meeting will address Pennsylvania's Phase 2 WIP, a draft of which is due to the EPA on Dec. 15, 2011; the Final Phase 2 WIP is due March 30, 2012. Phase 2 WIPs use revised nutrient and sediment allocations for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which were set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency on August 1, 2011 as a result of the EPA's development of a revised Watershed Model. The states are expected to subdivide loads by local area, with local implementation efforts focusing on existing rule and regulation compliance as well as on finding "opportunities for additional management actions."

Read the published Notice here.
Access past posting: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Holds Phase 2 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Summit (Aug. 3, 2011).
Access past posting: Recordings and Documents From PA Phase 2 WIP Summit Now Available Online (Aug. 16, 2011).

Written/Posted by Tanya J. Cramoy, Research Assistant