Riverways News Notes #29- August 8, 2008
An electronic newsletter from the Massachusetts Riverways Program http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/river
CSI : Massachusetts Rivers ― Tracking the Sources of Bacteria
In this issue:
Support Land and Water Conservation with a "Land and Water" Specialty License Plate
Last But Not Least
Dear River Advocates:
August on the rivers! August can mean fishing, swimming, paddling, boating, hiking, birding, camping—and as always advocacy for the protection and restoration of our rivers, ensuring adequate seasonal flows, protection and restoration of habitat and continuity, providing for access, land protection and water quality improvements.
This edition’s lead article focuses on water quality—specifically bacteria problems—in our rivers and ways river aficionados can work with DEP and local governments to report and correct problems. From 1987 on, Riverways’ Stream Teams have had successes in cleaning up sewage in rivers by reporting leaking pipes and other sources of pollution. We invite all of you—Stream Teams, RIFLS groups, paddlers, anglers, hikers to join watershed associations and others and take note and report! See the article for more details on DEP’s Bacteria Source Tracking Program.
Our web page now includes Riverways’ 2007Annual Report, as well as 2007 Annual Reports for Riverways’ Adopt-A-Stream and RIFLS programs. Please take a look and see our—and your—partnership ventures on the rivers and streams across the state.
As always, the section on resources and grants provides timely information on grant opportunities by date from August to November, online resources and conferences. Please note MET ’s newest license plate that will be dedicated to water-based land conservation. This plate joins other MET license plates that fund grant opportunities (see listing below). Finally please note Riverways call for a list of your guides for river access to add to our new web page.
See you on—or in—the rivers!
Joan Kimball, Director
Riverways is planning to create a web page that compiles information on all printed and/or on-line canoe guides, river maps, books and other resources that inform paddlers, anglers and other users as to how to gain access to and enjoy the rivers and streams of the Commonwealth (click here for an example). If you have or know of any such printed or on-line materials, please pass the information along to Russ Cohen at (617) 626-1543, (617) 626-1505 (fax) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Land and Water Conservation with a "Land and Water" Specialty License Plate
Development near our lakes, ponds, rivers and coasts - and the fertilizer, storm water run-off and other non-point source pollution it brings - is the greatest single threat to Massachusetts waters. In response, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) is launching a new “Land and Water Conservation” license plate that will support the conservation of land critical to the protection of the Commonwealth’s water resources. Similar plates in other states have conserved tens of thousands of acres in recent years. This new tool for land conservation is needed here now more than ever. Proceeds from the new Land and Water Conservation license plate will be segregated in a separate fund dedicated to the acquisition, stewardship and restoration of land affecting 9,000 miles of streams and rivers, 1,100 lakes and ponds and over 1,500 miles of coastline.
NOTE: Due to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)s’ policy regarding specialty license plates, the new MET “Land and Water” plate will not become reality unless and until at least 3,000 people sign up for the plates. You are therefore strongly encouraged to reserve your new plate by sending in a check for $40 payable to Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles along with this form to: Massachusetts Environmental Trust Land & Water Plate, 100 Cambridge Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 . Once 3,000 checks are received, the MET will forward the checks to the RMV, and then you will be contacted to let you know what else is needed to finish the process of getting your new “Land and Water” specialty license plate. Show your support for Massachusetts land and water conservation by purchasing a Land and Water Plate! Click here or call the MET at (617) 626-1045 for more info.
The Mass. Watershed Coalition (MWC)’s “mwc-list” listserv is a great source of information on river- and watershed-related funding and job opportunities, upcoming events, recent articles and more. Many of the posted items are time-sensitive and can’t wait until the next edition of NewsNotes. You can access the mwc-list listserv at http://email@example.com, where you can subscribe to receive the posted messages to your e-mail address, or simply read them on-line. Highly recommended!
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CSI : Massachusetts Rivers ― Tracking the Sources of Bacteria
By Margaret Kearns, Mass. Riverways Program
A large number of Massachusetts’ waters today do not meet state water quality standards for bacteria and have been listed as Category 5 (Impaired) on the state’s Integrated List of Waters, a periodic water quality report to the U.S. EPA required by the federal Clean Water Act (click here and here for more details). As a response to these widespread impairments, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a Bacteria Source Tracking Program in 2006, locating two staff and a lab in each DEP regional office to track sources of bacteria contamination within targeted sub-watersheds and to recommend appropriate actions for remediation.
Most warm-blooded animals, including geese, cows, dogs and humans, are hosts to a suite of bacteria which are excreted in fecal matter. Thus, elevated bacteria counts in waterways can be the result of everything from wildlife that live near the river (including under bridges), trash being dumped in or near a water body, illegally connected sewer pipes, failing septic systems, pet waste, and more, making the job of identifying bacteria sources quite the detective project. The presence of certain groups of bacteria, such as fecal coliforms, while not usually directly causing disease themselves, can suggest the presence of disease-causing agents such as pathogens or disease-producing bacteria or viruses.
Bacteria can also be an indicator for other pollutants associated with fecal matter, such as nutrients and pharmaceutical products. When these waste products reach a river without natural or artificial treatment, they reduce the river’s ability to support ecological health as well as human uses of rivers, such as recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. For example, excess nutrient loads in rivers lead to increased plant growth and decay, causing low dissolved oxygen levels that can stress or even kill fish and other aquatic organisms. Trace levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in rivers have been linked to reproductive and developmental abnormalities in fish.
Because of this range of adverse impacts on human and riverine health, many state and federal programs are focused on identifying and adequately treating sources of bacteria. In fact, this is one of the primary reasons that the federal Clean Water Act was passed in the 1970’s. Since then, while many improvements have been made, particularly in cleaning up point sources, such as reducing bacteria levels in wastewater treatment plant discharges, many challenges still remain, often in the form of leaking sewer pipes, poorly maintained septic systems and non-point source stormwater runoff from livestock areas or areas with high concentrations of geese or dogs.
DEP’s Bacteria Source Tracking Program
The goal of the DEP’s bacteria source tracking program is to improve the water quality of rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters (including beaches) by finding and eliminating sources of bacteria pollution. The program mainly focuses on identifying human sources of bacteria, such as direct connections between the sanitary sewer and stormdrain systems, or areas where failing infrastructure has lead to exfiltrating (leaking) sewers, and illicit home or business connections. MassDEP staff then work with municipalities to do further source tracking if necessary, to enable them to schedule and implement the relevant infrastructure rehabilitation or removal of illicit connections. Much like the CSI television series’ forensic approach to solving crimes, a “toolbox” approach is used for bacteria source tracking work. Staff review historical bacteria data and GIS map resources, visit stream/river sections in preparation for the work, then collect samples and analyze them at each regional laboratory during the recreation season (April-October). Current “Toolbox” resources include:
- E. coli bacteria – a freshwater pathogen indicator,
- Enterococcus spp. bacteria – a saline pathogen indicator,
- ammonia and detergents – their presence implicates human sources of bacteria,
- optical brightener pads - cotton pads placed in streams and pipes which fluoresce after being exposed to laundry brightening agents, once again implicating that the bacteria found is from a human source; and
- Human Marker analysis - a suite of analyses performed by MassDEP's Wall Experiment Station, intended to distinguish human sources of bacteria from animal sources (limited number available).
How do you know if there is a bacteria problem in your river or stream?
If the river section, or segment, is listed as “Category 5” (Impaired) on the state’s Integrated List of Waters, at some point in the past, it has been tested and found to have high levels of bacteria. If a river or stream segment isn’t listed in any category by DEP on the Integrated List of Waters, that may not necessarily indicate that segment is pollution-free; DEP sampling records may simply not exist for that segment. However, many local watershed groups collect water quality data (see, for example, the Charles River Watershed Association’s webpage on this subject) and therefore may be a good alternative resource in addition to DEP-collected data for water quality information for specific river sections (click here for links to Mass. watershed groups).
There are at most two regional monitoring coordinators in each DEP office and many waterways in need of bacteria source tracking. Therefore, if you are out on or along a river or stream, as a part of Riverways’ volunteer efforts or otherwise, there are simple indicators of potential bacteria problems that you can look for:
1) cloudy water with a sewage odor
2) tissue paper/waste solids and/or grey color in the water
3) grey fungus on rocks in stream or below an outfall
4) water flowing out of a stormdrain pipe after several days of no rain
In river segments that haven’t yet been tested by DEP, where bacteria problems are suspected, due to investigative work by volunteer water quality monitors or otherwise, DEP’s regional monitoring coordinators can select target areas to sample during the recreation season (April-October) to attempt to track down and take steps to address bacteria problems.
Riverways Projects with DEP Bacteria Source Tracking
Riverways has worked with several local groups to track down sources of bacterial pollution in their rivers. In 2005-06, Riverways’ Adopt-A-Stream Program worked with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the Deerfield River Watershed Association to incorporate Stream Team surveys into sub-watershed assessments of three tributaries to the Deerfield River: North River, South River and Chickley River, each of which were listed as being impaired due to Non-Point Source pollutants. The assessment included GIS analysis, windshield surveys, Stream Team visual surveys, volunteer water quality monitoring and DEP bacteria source tracking.
High bacteria counts on the Chickley River were tracked to agricultural use occurring right on the river; cows in the stream were observed by Stream Team volunteers during their surveys. The groups are working on a plan to approach the farmers to discuss and help implement best management practices and techniques for keeping the cows out of the river.
Sources of high bacteria levels on the North River were a little bit more elusive. Some results indicated an upstream farm may influence bacteria levels, but at only certain periods of the year. Another potential source, the Colrain School septic tank, was also suspected. However, follow-up Bacteria Source Tracking tests conducted by DEP did not detect any ‘human’ markers in the bacteria, though some suspect these 'human' markers (i.e. caffeine, detergents and/or pharmaceutical drugs) would not likely be found in high concentrations at an elementary school. The hope is to go out again during low flow events this summer and try to bracket the site (i.e. sample upstream from and downstream of the suspected source) further.
The South River 's volunteer water quality monitoring and follow-up bacteria source tracking indicated one potential source was beaver activity at an upstream site, a discharge pipe near the center of Conway, and another unknown source near Murphy’s Hole, a popular swimming area. High concentrations at the swimming hole did result in beach closure until bacteria levels went down to acceptable ranges.
The Runnins River is a small river in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island where Riverways has been working with local groups to unravel the source of bacterial problems. A large inland tidal area called 100 Acre Cove, located a couple miles downstream in Barrington, RI, is a favorite shellfishing area for the locals, but bacterial pollution forced the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) to close the Cove to shellfishing in the 1990’s. Despite well over a decade of bacteria monitoring by the local watershed group, the Pokanoket Watershed Alliance, several intensive wet- and dry-weather studies by the RI DEM, a 604b water quality assessment grant to investigate possible bacteria sources, many brainstorming sessions and a TMDL (pollution remediation plan) completed by RI DEM, bacteria is still a conundrum for the Runnins River and its supporters.
In 2007, the Massachusetts DEP began bacteria source tracking on the Runnins River based on the long record of year-round data and the elevated dry weather bacteria counts consistently found by the groups monitoring the river. Two rounds of sampling were accomplished in 2007 and more are being done during the 2008 sampling season. This effort should be able to identify whether the bacteria in the river is of human origin and hopefully solve the two-decade-old question of where the bacteria is coming from. Once the sources are identified, Riverways will work with the enthusiastic folks in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island who are ready to solve the problem.
What can you do?
If you see indicators of bacteria problems in a river or stream near you, please contact your DEP Regional Monitoring Coordinator:
Southeast Region: Tracie Beasley, (508) 946-2787 or Jenny Sheppard, (508) 946-2701
Northeast Region: Katie Zink, (978) 694-3253 or Jenny Birnbaum, (978) 694-3234
Western Region: Mathew Poach, (413) 755-2128 ; Central Region: Terry Beaudoin, (508) 767-2742.
MA 2006 Integrated List of Waters (Category 5 are Impaired Waters)
Proposed 2008 Integrated List of Waters (Category 5 are Impaired Waters)
Directory of Massachusetts Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Groups, prepared by the Mass. Water Watch Partnership
Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards, 310 CMR 4.00 et seq – the freshwater bacteria standards are set out at 310 CMR 4.05 (3)(a)4.
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Resources and Grants
Grant, Fundraising, Contest and Award Opportunities
(presented in rough chronological order by application deadline)
Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are currently accepting applications for the 2008 Budweiser Renewable Energy and Wildlife Conservation Research Prize, which will recognize and support a single innovative project that advances new technologies or practices that contribute to making renewable energy a practical energy alternative. The $100,000 total prize will be awarded in consideration of a project’s ability to develop or evaluate new cost-effective renewable energy technologies for industrial application while demonstrating the measurable benefits such practices can have in advancing wildlife conservation. The application deadline is August 15th, 2008 – click here for more info.
The American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund provides funding to grassroots nonprofit organizations working toward establishing, protecting, and maintaining foot trails in America. Grants help give local organizations the resources they need to secure access, volunteers, tools, and materials to protect America 's public trails. The following types of projects will be considered: securing trail lands, including acquisition of trails and trail corridors; building and maintaining trails which will result in ease of access, improved hiker safety, and/or avoidance of environmental damage; and constituency-building surrounding specific trail projects. Preference is often given to projects with volunteer labor. Projects that have hikers as the primary constituency are preferred; however, all human-powered trail projects are eligible. The application deadline for grants in 2009 is August 15th, 2008. Click here for more info.
The Antioch University New England Advocacy Clinic based in the Department of Environmental Studies, is currently seeking project proposals for its Fall 2008 Docket, where second year Masters students provide pro bono advocacy work on behalf of Clinic clients (typically small grassroots environmental organizations). For more info and details about how to submit a project proposal, download the Request for Proposals or contact Clinic Director Abigail Abrash Walton at (603) 283-2344, (603) 357-0718 (fax) or Abigail_Abrash@antiochne.edu. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Thursday, August 28th, 2008.
The U.S. EPA is currently seeking nominations for its 2008 Water Efficiency Leader Awards in recognition of organizations and individuals for their leadership and innovation in water efficient products and practices. Water Efficiency Leader Awards are intended to help foster a nationwide ethic of water efficiency, as well as to inspire, motivate, and recognize efforts to improve water efficiency. This program enables EPA to document best practices, share information, encourage an ethic of water efficiency, and create a network of water efficiency leaders. The deadline for nominations is August 29th, 2008 - click here for more info.
The Ittleson Foundation supports innovative pilot, model and demonstration projects that help move individuals, communities, and organizations from environmental awareness to environmental activism by changing attitudes and behaviors. It particularly seeks to encourage and nurture environmental action through: supporting the present generation of environmental activists, whether professionals or volunteers through education, training and other activities; educating and engaging the next generation of environmentalists with a special interest in supporting the training of those who are teaching that generation; strengthening the infrastructure of the environmental movement with a particular focus on efforts at the grassroots and statewide levels; and activating new constituencies, particularly those focused on environmental equity issues. To apply, send a brief letter to the Executive Director describing the organization and the work for which funds are being sought, along with a budget and evidence of tax-exempt status. If the activity falls within the current scope of the Foundation’s interests, the applicant will be asked to supply additional information as required. Initial letters of inquiry must be received before September 1st. Inquiries should be addressed to: Anthony C. Wood, Executive Director, Ittleson Foundation, Inc., 15 East 67 Street, New York, NY 10021. Phone: (212) 794-2008.
Equestrian Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving land and access for horseback riding, and Breyer Animal Creations are offering funding for local conservation groups to protect land for equestrian use. Applications are available on January 1 and must be received by midnight September 1st, 2008 . Click here to apply or for more info.
The Cabot Family Charitable Trust makes grant awards to nonprofit organizations working in the arts and culture, education and youth development, environment and conservation, health and human services, and for the public benefit. Grant awards are made in Boston as well as communities where the Cabot family has philanthropic interests. Grant applications are reviewed at trustee meetings in May and November. Deadlines for grant applications are February 1st and September 1st. If those dates fall on a holiday (such as this year), applications are due the next business day. Click here or contact Nike F. Speltz, Executive Director, at (617) 451-1855 ext. 205 for more info.
The Washington, DC-based Arca Foundation is dedicated to the pursuit of social equity and justice. The Foundation makes grants in the areas of civic engagement, participatory democracy and investigative reporting that serves the public interest. The Foundation approves grants at its semiannual Board meetings, usually held in June and December of each year. Proposal deadlines are 5:00 pm on March 1st and September 1st for the spring and fall cycles, respectively. When deadlines fall on a weekend or holiday (as they do this year), the deadline will be the following business day at 5:00 pm. Click here for info on how to apply.
Trout Unlimited (TU)’s “Making Memories” Photo Contest invites you to submit your best photos of kids, families, fishing buddies, great and not-so-great anglers and anyone else enjoying our streams, rivers and lakes. Photos may be submitted on-line or via snail mail and you may enter as many times as you like. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, September 9th. Click here for the full contest rules or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need additional info.
The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation’s grant priorities include environmental and community building through urban community gardens and urban greenspace initiatives. The foundation’s area of activity is Greater Boston, defined as all communities within or bisected by the Route 128 circumferential highway. E-mails or telephone calls to Betsy Nichols, Program Officer, or Rashetta Ulness, Foundation Assistant, are recommended before applying, and are required for all new applicants. The process begins with a Concept Letter that includes the details of the proposed program along with the results of outcome measurements and evaluations. The trustees will review the Concept Letters and invite Proposals from a limited number of applicants. The next concept letter deadline is Tuesday, September 9th. Click here and here for more info.
Third Sector New England (TSNE)’s Capacity Building Fund recently announced a new round of funding for social change-oriented nonprofits and community groups that choose to collaborate to learn together and build capacity. To apply for a Planning Grant, at least five organizations must define why they want to learn together, what they want to learn, and to what greater end purpose they are engaging in the learning. They are asked to thoroughly review the guidelines for submitting a Letter of Intent. The Letter of Intent to Plan is due Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 12:00 p.m., with the awards announced by mid-November. Contact TSNE Capacity Building Fund Coordinator Phillip Davis at (617) 523-6565 if you have questions or need additional information. TSNE also offers Capacity Building Training Workshops; click here for more info.
Mass. DEP’s Municipal Sustainability Grants provide municipalities, schools and certain regional government entities with equipment, outreach materials, technical assistance and funding in support of waste reduction, water conservation, household hazardous waste and mercury diversion, and air quality initiatives at the local level. Applications are due on September 11, 2008. Click here or contact Tina Klein at (617) 292-5704 or Tina.Klein@state.ma.us for more info.
The Rappaport Institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (HKS) is currently seeking ideas for a project that a second-year HKS student would carry out as their Policy Analysis Exercise ( PAE ), which is the capstone project for students in the school's Master in Public Policy (MPP) program. In preparing their PAE, students work with both a client (usually a government agency or non-profit organization) and a faculty advisor to define a policy or management problem that needs to be addressed, posit strategies for addressing that problem, find and analyze information about the effectiveness, feasibility, and value of those potential strategies, use those analyses to make recommendations on how their client should proceed, and prepare an about 40-page document summarizing this work. Click here for more details. The deadline for submitting project ideasis Friday, September 12th(but feel free to submit them at your earliest convenience).
The mission of the Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation is to support curricula that empower and encourage students to become involved in solving environmental and social problems as informed decision makers through the emphasis and application of basic ecological principles. The Foundation provides grants of up to $1,500 to K-12 educators throughout the U.S. to develop environmental curricula that integrates field activities and classroom teaching while incorporating basic ecological principles and problem-solving. Applications are due September 27, 2008 – click here or write to email@example.com for more info.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based Chichester DuPont Foundation provides funding to environmental projects in the U.S. and will consider applications from §501(c)(3) organizations located in all fifty states. Grant amounts tend to range from $25,000 to $100,000. The Foundation’s web page states that “Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with the Foundation’s staff or board members either by telephone or in person…Organizations that develop an association and program understanding, with at least one trustee, experience the greatest likelihood of funding success”. The application deadline is October 1st. Click here or contact Foundation Secretary Gregory F. Fields at (302) 658-5244 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Massachusetts Environmental Trust ( MET )’s Unrestricted General Grants Program funds projects in two main categories. The Water’s Role in Ecosystem Health Program seeks to protect, restore, and improve the Commonwealth’s water resources as a strategic conduit for overall ecosystem health. The Human Health & the Environment Program seeks to support the work of communities in identifying, understanding, and addressing the public health and environmental issues associated with water resources. Clean water is intrinsically linked to ecological health and the overall well-being of the public. Prospective grant seekers must first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI - the submittal deadline is October 1st). Then, if you are invited to submit a full proposal, that is due by the following March 1st. Click here to download the MET RFR or contact Bill Hinkley, Program Coordinator, at email@example.com or (617) 626-1045 for more info. [NOTE: there’s a special MET -administered funding opportunity for “proposals that will promote protection of Mystic River water resources by enhancing public access to, stewardship of, and advocacy for the River and its watershed” with an application deadline of Tuesday, September 16th. Go to http://www.comm-pass.com, click on “Search for Solicitations”, enter ENV 09 MET 01 into the “Keywords” box, and then click on “Specifications” to download the RFR.]
The Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)’s Recreational Trails Program provides funding on a reimbursement basis for a variety of trail protection, construction, and stewardship projects throughout the Commonwealth. It consists of Massachusetts’ allocation of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds disbursed to each state to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. In Massachusetts, funds are administered by DCR in partnership with the Mass. Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB), and the Executive Office of Transportation. Click here for more details on eligible applicants and projects, matching fund requirements and a description of past funded projects. The application deadline for this year’s funding round is Monday, October 1st. Contact Paul Jahnige at (413) 586-8706 ext.20 or Paul.Jahnige@state.ma.us for more info.
The Canton, MA-based Tourism Cares’ Worldwide Grant Program distributes charitable grants to worthy tourism-related non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad for capital ("brick-and-mortar") improvements that serve to protect, restore, or conserve sites of exceptional cultural, historic, or natural significance, or the education of local host communities and the traveling public about conservation and preservation of sites of exceptional cultural, historical, or natural significance. Preference is given to organizations with projects or programs that allow grant funding to be leveraged to provide increased philanthropic support, through vehicles such as matching grants or challenge grants that have already been secured from an external source, are endorsed by the local, regional, or national tourism office, and/or demonstrate strong support from and involvement of the local community. While typical grants are $10,000, based on availability of funds, grants up to $100,000 will be considered. The next deadline for letters of inquiry is Wednesday, October 1st. Click on the FAQ page or contact Tourism Cares at (781) 821-5990, (781) 821-8949 (fax) or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Based in Somerville, MA, Resist gives small but timely grants and loans to grassroots groups engaged in activist organizing: collective action that challenges the status quo, demands changes in policy and practice, and educates communities about root causes and just solutions. High priority is given to groups that fall outside of mainstream funding sources because they are considered to be too “radical”. Click here for the 2008 grant deadlines (the next, and last, one is October 3rd ). Resist also serves as a resource center for those seeking information about other sources of funding. In support of this effort, Resist offers the fifth edition of Finding Funding: A Beginner's Guide to Foundation Research and media funding resources on-line. Contact Resist at (617) 623-5110 or email@example.com for more info.
The mission of BJ’s Charitable Foundation is the enhancement of community programs that benefit children and families in the communities where BJ’s Wholesale Clubs are located. The majority of the Foundation giving is focused on nonprofit organizations that promote the safety, security, and well-being of children and families; support education and health programs; provide community service opportunities; and aid in hunger and disaster relief. The next (and last) application deadline for 2008 is October 6th; click here for more info.
The Environmental Leadership Program (ELP)/New England’s Fellowship for Emerging Environmental Leaders seeks to build the leadership capacity of the environmental field's most promising emerging practitioners. Each year, ELP selects a new class of fellows to join its community of environmental professionals from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and areas of expertise. The year-long program offers unique networking opportunities, intensive leadership and skills training, support, and time for personal and professional reflection. Click here for more info and here to apply; the deadline to apply to be an ELP/New England Fellow is October 8, 2008.
Every community has its river heroes ― people whose commitment to caring for rivers helps improve the quality of life in his or her town as well. Tom's of Maine, the natural products company, is interested in highlighting the efforts of individual river-loving volunteers across the country. The Tom's of Maine River Stories Contest is calling for video entries of people working to take care of rivers. Tom's of Maine will share these stories to inspire other people to take action, and the winning entrant will win a new Toyota Prius Hybrid! It's easy to register for the River Stories contest ― just sign up on the Tom's website, then register at YouTube and join the River Stories group. You have until October 31, 2008 to upload your video.
The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor businesses that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations for projects that protect specific wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The Alliance directs its funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Since its founding in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $5.3 million to help organizations in their work to protect more than 35 million acres of land, stop or remove 26 dams, and preserve access to thousands of miles of rivers and several climbing areas. Before applying for funding, an organization must first be nominated by one of the Alliance ’s member companies (click here for the list). Members nominate organizations by completing and submitting a nomination form. The Alliance will then send each nominated organization a request for proposal (RFP) instructing them how to submit a full request for funding. The Conservation Alliance conducts two funding cycles annually. Deadlines are: Winter Cycle: Nominations due November 1st ; Proposals due December 10th . Summer Cycle: Nominations due May 1st; Proposals due June 10th. Grant requests should not exceed $35,000.
Temper of the Times Foundation provides nonprofit organizations with funding to underwrite advertising designed to promote conservation and restoration efforts. Grants may be used to fund the production of print, radio, or television ads; to pay for advertising space or airtime; or to produce or distribute pamphlets, books, videos, or press packets specifically promoting the conservation and restoration of native wildlife, plants, and ecosystems in the U.S. Grants generally range from $5,000 to $15,000. Applications must be received by November 8, 2008. Click here for additional application and eligibility information.
The RBC Blue Water Project, an initiative of the Royal Bank of Canada, will provide $50 million in grants over ten years to support programs that foster a culture of water stewardship in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom . Community Action Grants, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each, up to a total of $200,000 for 2008, are available to support local and community projects in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean that are dedicated to watershed protection. Click here to apply or for more info.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation provides support for the environment and for the decorative arts. Environmental grants include the topics of responsible mining and urban parks and land protection. The foundation has a new on-line process for submitting a letter of inquiry (have your organization’s IRS tax-exempt ID number handy). Contact the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or for more info.
The V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation (VKRF) was established in 1991 with funds derived from the VELUX group of companies, which were founded by Villum Kann Rasmussen (1909-1993) in Copenhagen , Denmark in 1941. The Foundation has chosen the environment as the principal focus of its grantmaking. The foundation also believes strongly in the power of collaboration among people, among institutions and across disciplines, and it reflects this in its grantmaking whenever possible. The foundation also believes that the public deserves to be as well informed as possible on environmental issues, and that corporations and institutions should address environmental issues in a responsible way. Organizations interested in applying for a grant to the Foundation should first submit a two-page letter by e-mail to email@example.com stating concisely the mission of the organization, the purpose for which funding is requested, and the amount to be requested. VKRF will then review that submission as soon as possible and advise if a more detailed Letter of Inquiry or Grant Proposal will be invited. Click here for more info or contact Martin S. Kaplan, Managing Director & Trustee, at (212) 812-4219 or
The mission of the Fieldstone Foundation (154 or 172 Harvard Road, Stow, MA 01775 ) is to provide support to those who are working to realize a vision for the future of the earth and its people. It is their belief that any vision for the future must balance the needs of the environment, communities, and individuals, and promote the evolution of a more peaceful and just world. Click here for a list of organizations and projects this foundation has supported in the past. The foundation does not have a web page, but you could try sending a brief letter of inquiry to either of the addresses above.
The Philanthropy News Digest, a service of the Foundation Center, provides up-to-date information on emerging grant opportunities and other funder-related news. Click here for News Digest stories falling into the Environment category.
The mission of the nonprofit Gifts In Kind International is to link donor resources to enhance, empower, and restore communities and people in need. Gifts In Kind receives donations from thousands of large and small companies, including half of the Fortune 100 technology, retail, and consumer corporations, and distributes those donations to more than 150,000 community charities across the United States and throughout the world. Click here if your organization might like to consider becoming a Gifts In Kind member and be eligible for donations through the program.
Looking for a great way to raise thousands of dollars for your organization? The EcoPhones Recycling Fundraiser pays up to $300 per item. There's nothing to buy and nothing to sell. Simply ask your members and others in your community to donate and recycle their used consumer electronics (Cell Phones, Ink Jet Printers, Cartridges, Laptop Computers, Apple iPods, Digital Cameras and Digital Video Cameras). Earn cash for every item guaranteed! EcoPhones even pays for damaged, non-working and non-listed models. In addition, EcoPhones provides free customizable marketing materials and free shipping from anywhere in the U.S. Call (888) 326-7466, e-mail Jennifer@green-recycling-fundraiser.org or click here for more info, where you can download and customize your own promotional materials, a guide to running a successful recycling fundraiser, posters, price lists, pre-paid shipping labels and everything else you'll need to get started. [See also the Let’s Go Green andEco-Cell fundraising websites.]
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The Environmental Business Council of New England is sponsoring a Water Forum: The Role of Water Reuse and Reclamation in Sustainable Systems on Tuesday, September 9 thfrom 7:30 AM – 10 AM on the second floor of the Saltonstall State Office Building, 100 Cambridge St in Boston . The forum is free and open to the public. Click here to register of for more info.
A workshop entitled “Getting Your Feet Wet with Social Marketing: A Workshop on Social Marketing” is being co-sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). This 9 AM – 5 PM workshop will be held on September 9, 2008 in Norwalk, CT. Registration for this workshop is $30. This workshop is designed to promote techniques that will help participants think strategically on how to engage the public in actively reducing polluted runoff. Click here for more info and here to register for this workshop.
The 16th National Nonpoint Source Monitoring Workshop will be taking place from September 14th -18th, 2008 in Columbus, OH . The conference is organized by Ohio State University 's Stream Restoration, Ecology, and Aquatic Management Solutions (STREAMS) program. Click here for more info.
An International Water Trails Conference will be taking place from September 16th-18th, 2008 in Port Townsend, Washington. The Washington Water Trails Association is hosting Opening Doors to Water Trails, a gathering of recreation advocates, planners, and volunteers from across North America. Participants will delve into the essentials of successful water trail projects: funding, planning, facilities, mapping, outreach, partnership and stewardship. Click here or contact the Washington Water Trails Association for more info.
World Water Monitoring Day is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. The month-long program kicks off each year on September 18th with a data entry deadline of December 18 th. Click here for more info.
Human transportation systems have fragmented wildlife habitats in ways that require planning, engineering, restoration, and mitigation. Hosted by the NH Department of Transportation, NH Fish and Game Department, Federal Highway Administration, The Nature Conservancy, and McFarland Johnson, the 2008 Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference is scheduled to take place from September 21st -24th, 2008 in Meredith, NH. The Conference will bring together biologists, transportation professionals, planners, and others to share their expertise and build partnerships. Topics include experimental crossing structures; field studies of wildlife-road interactions; modeling connectivity; crossing hot spots and “hot moments”; transportation-wildlife planning initiatives; and much more. Click here for more info; an early registration discount is available prior to August 21st.
Engineered Channel or Restored River: The Future of The Housatonic After PCB Removal; Five Approaches To River Restoration will take place on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield, MA. Click here or contact the Housatonic River Initiative at (413) 446-2520 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, and click here for related info.
Integrated Ecological Restoration of Rivers and Streams Including Design of Native Vegetation for Water Quality, in Floodplains, Riparian Zones and Waterways is the name of a workshop taught by John Munro and offered at the Humboldt Institute in Steuben, Maine from October 5th-11th. The workshop’s focus on vegetation and native plant community issues as they relate to waterway corridors, rather than on strictly mechanistic and engineering oriented channel design, makes this seminar unusual and better suited to well-defined restoration as a part of the ecological system. Participants will learn the vital relationships between the watershed land cover, vegetation, stormwater and the waterway, and how to design plans for the ecological restoration of the waterway corridor. While some bioengineering concepts will be included in the seminar contents, they are not the sole focus of the session. Problem areas or restored waterways will be subject of field trips. Click here or contact the Humboldt Institute at (207) 546-2821 or email@example.com for more info.
The Instream Flow Council invites you to FLOW 2008, an interactive conference scheduled for October 7-9, 2008, in San Antonio, TX . The increasing importance of our water resources to support a wide variety of societal and ecological needs, and the increasing complexity of issues and often contentious proceedings within which water management decisions are made, provide a challenging yet realistic backdrop for this conference. The conference’s goal is advancing the integration of instream flow science, policy, and public dialogue and improving the ability of diverse stakeholders to cooperatively solve instream flow problems in the U.S. and Canada. Click here to view the Conference agenda and here to learn about the three concurrent pre-conference workshops for technical skill-building.
Sponsored by Restore America's Estuaries, the 4th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration will take place fromOctober 11th -15th, 2008 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI . The five-day conference will explore the state-of-the-art in all aspects and scales of restoration, and will be comprised of field sessions, plenary sessions, expert presentations, special evening events, workshops, a poster hall, and a Restoration Exposition. Register before August 15th for a $100 discount. Click here to register or for more info. (Volunteers are needed to assist at the Conference and will have the opportunity to attend some of the conference sessions free of charge; contact Stephany Hessler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 272.3540 ext. 130.)
The Fall 2008 Conferences of the Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions are scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 18th at Mass. Bay Community College in Wellesley Hills and on Saturday, November 8 that the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield . This year’s topic is the Mass. River Protection Act and regulations. Click here for more info.
The Fourth Annual Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference, presented by the Marion Institute, will take place October 24-26, 2008 in the historic Downtown of New Bedford, MA. The conference is an internationally acclaimed annual gathering of environmental, industry and social justice innovators who have demonstrated visionary and practical models for restoring the Earth and its inhabitants. Click on the conference’s FAQ page for more info.
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Several months ago, the U.S. EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) released an on-line document to help communities, watershed organizations, and local, state, tribal, and federal environmental agencies develop and implement watershed plans to meet water quality standards and protect water resources. The Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters is designed to help anyone undertaking a watershed planning effort, but should be particularly useful to persons working with impaired or threatened waters. It contains in-depth guidance on quantifying existing pollutant loads, developing estimates of the load reductions required to meet water quality standards, developing effective management measures, and tracking progress once the plan is implemented. New materials were added to the Handbook including ways to protect important elements of the landscape and aquatic habitats within a watershed. Click here for more info, including a link to a related archived webcast, as well as how to order a free hard copy of the Handbook.
The EPA’s Water Quality Standards Academy has developed a multi-media, web-based training course on key aspects of the water quality standards program and other related Clean Water Act programs. This internet-based training program is an abbreviated version of the week-long, in-class Water Quality Standards Academy course, and includes the following modules: (1) Introduction to EPA and the Clean Water Act, (2) Waterbody Uses, (3) Water Quality Criteria, (4) Antidegradation, (5) Standards Submittal and Approval, and (6) Variances, Using Attainability Analyses, Mixing Zones and Other Flexibility Options. Each of the modules is designed to be completed in about 15 minutes. The modules present text-based information across a sequence of pages that include user interactions, links to further information and resources, brief video clips that expand on important points, and brief quizzes. Contact Bryan Goodwin at (202) 566-0762 or email@example.com for more info.
The EPA has launched a new Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) website that features an overview of the Clean Water Act section 303(d) program activities, highlights new resources, and provides easier access to program resources, such as EPA’s new Water Quality Assessment and TMDL Information (ATTAINS) website that provides state-reported information on water quality, impaired waters, causes and sources of impairment, and the status of actions to restore impaired waters. The site also features a TMDL Stormwater Resources page that hosts several stormwater-source TMDLs and case studies highlighting the innovative approaches states are using to address stormwater.
Developing a Sustainable Finance Plan, recently added to the list of EPA Watershed Academy’s on-line training modules, is designed to help watershed organizations develop and implement sustainable funding plans. Case studies are included throughout the module to provide real examples of finance strategies employed by nonprofit watershed organizations in the U.S. Click here for more info on this training module and here to access the complete set of on-line training modules, at least one of which will interest you and/or someone you know.
EPA/OWOW recently posted a Podcast entitledFrom Gray Funnels to Green Sponges, the first in a planned series of audio programs about smart growth and green development. The program features a discussion with experts on how to manage rainwater and snow melt where it falls in ways that can make great places, preserve water quality and restore our nation's waterways. Click here to access on-line copies of the EPA’s Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure newsletter. Last but not least: the EPA’s National Fish Advisory Program just released a new Fish Kids web page that uses interactive stories and games to teach kids ages 8-12 about contaminants in fish and fish advisories. Whether they catch their own fish, or buy it at a store, kids and their families can use this site to learn how to choose fish wisely!
Water budgets provide a means for evaluating availability and sustainability of a water supply. A water budget simply states that the rate of change in water stored in an area, such as a watershed, is balanced by the rate at which water flows into and out of the area. An understanding of water budgets and underlying hydrologic processes provides a foundation for effective water-resource and environmental planning and management. Human activities affect the natural hydrologic cycle in many ways. Modifications of the land to accommodate agriculture, such as installation of drainage and irrigation systems, alter infiltration, runoff, evaporation, and plant transpiration rates. Buildings, roads, and parking lots in urban areas tend to increase runoff and decrease infiltration. Dams can alter natural streamflow patterns and volumes. Water budgets provide a basis for assessing how a natural or human-induced change in one part of the hydrologic cycle may affect other aspects of the cycle. Water Budgets: Foundations for Effective Water-Resources and Environmental Management (Circular 1308), published late last year by the U.S. Geological Survey, provides an overview and qualitative description of water budgets as foundations for effective water-resources and environmental management of freshwater hydrologic systems. The latter part of the report presents a number of case studies that illustrate how water-budget studies are conducted, documents how human activities affect water budgets, and describes how water budgets are used to address water and environmental issues. To receive a hard copy of the report, call 1-888-ASK-USGS and ask to place an order with the USGS’s Denver office. [Click here for water budgets info for Massachusetts communities.]
Earlier this year, the USGS’s MA/RI office issued a report entitled Characteristics and Classification of Least Altered Streamflows in Massachusetts. The report was prepared by David Armstrong and Gene Parker of the USGS and Todd Richards of the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in cooperation with the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation and Mass. Riverways. The report looked at streamflow records from 85 streamflow-gaging stations at which streamflows were considered to be least altered were used to characterize natural streamflow patterns and volumes within southern New England. The report proceeded to classify these rivers into two broad groups: (1) base-flow dominated rivers, whose statistical properties indicated less flow variability and high magnitudes of low flow, and (2) runoff-dominated rivers, whose statistical properties indicated greater flow variability and lower magnitudes of low flow. A major purpose of this report is to inform efforts to restore more natural streamflow patterns and volumes to rivers and streams whose natural hydrology has been altered by water withdrawals, dams, impervious surfaces and other human activities. Click here to access this document on-line; a limited number of hard copies of the report are also available (click here for more info).
Also earlier this year, the Connecticut DEP produced and posted on-line an excellent document entitled Stream Crossing Guidelines, providing easily understandable photos and explanatory text on how to recognize and remove barriers to fish and wildlife movement in and along streams. Contact: Brian D. Murphy, Senior Fisheries Habitat Biologist, CTDEP Inland Fisheries Division Habitat Conservation and Enhancement Program at (860) 295-9523 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on the CT guide; click here for related info from Mass.
Massachusetts has been a leader in wetlands protection for 45 years, since the passage of the Jones Act, the first state wetlands protection act in the nation. Now, it is poised to expand its leadership through restoration. Over one-quarter of Massachusetts wetlands have been lost since colonial times, and many of our waterways are severely degraded and fragmented. The Aquatic Habitat Restoration Task Force, convened by the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs last year, has issued its report, Charting the Course: A Blueprint for the Future of Aquatic Habitat Restoration in Massachusetts. The report examines the benefits and values of Massachusetts wetlands and makes recommendations for accelerating the pace of restoration projects such as dam removals and upgrades of undersized culverts blocking fish passage. The Task Force also put together a four-page fact sheet to summarize the information in their report.
This past spring, the Mass. Office of Coastal Zone Management (MCZM) launched its new StormSmart Coasts program and web page, designed to help people working in coastal communities address the challenges arising from storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change, and provides a menu of tools for successful coastal floodplain management.
The Spring-Summer 2008 edition of Mass. DEP’s EnviroMatters electronic newsletter includes articles on DEP’s new stormwater management program, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in our water, and streamlining of groundwater permits to facilitate aquifer recharge and the effort to “keep water local”.
ast but not least: the Massachusetts Departments of Fish and Game ( DFG ) and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently re-issued a spiffed-up, updated version of their Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Map, a comprehensive compilation of fishing, boating, hunting, hiking and other outdoor recreational opportunities located within the Commonwealth. While the map is viewable on-line (via a large .pdf file) by clicking here, you’ll probably want at least one hard copy of the map to carry around in your backpack or glove compartment. Fortunately, free hard copies of the map are available at many locations, including the DFG and Office of Fishing and Boating offices in Boston, all MassWildlife offices and hatcheries, DCR properties across the state, and selected highway information centers. To obtain a map by postal mail, send a self-addressed 59-cent stamped business-sized envelope to: Outdoor Recreation Map, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westboro MA 01581.
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Non-government On-line Resources
(in rough alphabetical order)
American Water Resources Association (AWRA)
At the AWRA website you can access “RSS” feeds from a number of water resources-related news sources as well as download podcasts of some of the speeches delivered at the AWRA’s 2008 Summer Specialty Conference,Riparian Ecosystems and Buffers - Working at the Water's Edge, which took place in Virginia Beach last June.
The Boston Foundation (TBF)
The link above takes you to a press release for a TBF report released a couple months ago entitled Passion & Purpose: Raising the Fiscal Fitness Bar for Massachusetts Nonprofits . The report takes a hard look at the current somewhat precarious state of many of the grassroots and other modest-sized organizations located in the Commonwealth and makes recommendations for how those groups can get on a more financially sound and sustainable footing. Click here to download the full report (warning: it’s a large 8+MB .pdf file).
Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN)
A project of Earth Force, which seeks to engage young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future, GREEN empowers young people to learn more about the watersheds they live in and use their findings to create lasting solutions to pressing water quality issues. To do so, educators use an award-winning curriculum, Protecting Our Watersheds, and rely on the support of GREEN staff to correlate these experiences to required learning standards. GREEN also works to connect educators to outstanding local partners to assist with water quality monitoring, classroom support, community connections and event coordination.
Is the high cost of gasoline making it more difficult for your organization to recruit volunteers for conservation projects and participants at your events? Wish there were an easy way for people to coordinate carpooling? The Cambridge, MA-based GoLoco may have the answer for you. GoLoco is a free service that helps people and communities create their own personal public transportation network. Your cars, your friends, your trips, your expenses -- GoLoco puts them all together for a seamless way to share travel and expenses. Join now and turn your social networks into travel networks. [N.B.: Some transportation expenses relating to volunteer work may be deductible from federal income taxes - see, e.g., http://tinyurl.com/6fjs7n, http://tinyurl.com/6f8gfu, http://tinyurl.com/66vydy and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf (see esp. Table 2). The general rule is that you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to getting to and from the place where you are performing volunteerwork, as long as the organization is a governmental or other public entity, or a qualified 501(c)(3) private non-profit charitable organization. If you do not want to figure your actual costs, you can deduct 14 cents for each mile.]
Google for Nonprofits
This website provides information on how nonprofit organizations can use free Google tools to promote their work, raise money, and operate more efficiently. Some of the resources include Gmail (free Google-hosted email), Checkout (collect on-line donations), Docs (create and edit documents collaboratively), Calendar (organize schedules and publicize events), and Analytics (understand how people interact with websites).
Those of you engaged in river and stream protection and restoration know how valuable aerial photos can be in understanding how rivers interact with the surrounding landscape. Google Earth offers (for PC or Mac computers with broadband or similar high-speed Internet connections) a user-friendly means for obtaining high-quality aerial photo images taken by satellites and aircraft sometime in the last three years, updated on a rolling basis. If you're looking for a specific address, type it into the “Fly To” box and click on “search”. You can also enter the intersection of two streets, a city/town, a state, a zip code, or just a country. Tilted (oblique) views are also available. Google Earth also allows you to print, save and e-mail images. Google Earth serves as the platform for the Sierra Club’s Wild Legacy report, a Paddler’s Guide to the French River, and River Network’s IMRivers interactive mapping service as well as being used to keep track of the Housatonic Valley Association’s water quality monitoring locations and data and participants in the Boston Museum of Science’s “Firefly Watch” initiative. [See also Google Earth Outreach, which shows how non-profit organizations can benefit from Google Earth].
International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
ICMA is a non-profit organization that serves the local government management community. The link above will take you to info on ICMA’s Balancing Water Quality and Smart Growth Toolkit. This CD-ROM toolkit includes more than 50 resources, including webcasts, presentations, fact sheets, publications, case studies, and Web links to on-line resource collections and news articles and sources (click here to see what’s on the CD). To order your free copy of the CD-ROM, send a request by e-mail to email@example.com. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number. Please reference "Balancing Water Quality and Smart Growth Toolkit" in your subject line.
Microsoft NGO Connection
The Microsoft NGO Connection website has been launched to provide nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) a place to go to learn how to use technology more effectively and to access the resources Microsoft and its partners offer. The website provides free or discounted software applications, training and certification information, and NGO discussion forums. The goal of the website is to help NGOs achieve their organizational goals more efficiently.
Nonprofit Finance Fund ( NFF )
NFF is a national leader in financing nonprofits, strengthening their financial health and improving their capacity to serve their communities. With NFF ’s help, nonprofits build and renovate facilities, fund growth needs, and expand and sustain operations over time. NFF serves both nonprofits and their funders, offering an integrated package of financial and advisory services, including facilities and working capital loans and lines of credit; asset-building programs; intensive workshops; Nonprofit Business Analyses, and other consultations to help nonprofit management understand the impact on their finances of management and program decisions. A newly launched entity, NFF Capital Partners, helps nonprofits attract equity-like growth capital. Click here for more info on the services provided by NFF’s Boston office to non-profit organizations in New England.
There are several new resources available at River Network’s recently re-designed Web page: a link to an on-line course entitled Understanding the Clean Water Act; a link to River Network’s new Water, Energy and Climate Change web page, which explains how saving water saves energy and how saving energy saves water; and a call for workshop proposals for River Rally 2009, which will take place in Baltimore, MD from May 29th to June 1st.
Runoff Reduction Method Technical Memo
The first official collaboration between the Center for Watershed Protection and Tom Schueler’s post-Center venture, the Chesapeake Stormwater Network (CSN), the Runoff Reduction Method Technical Memo determines the ability for a BMP to reduce the overall volume of runoff in addition to pollutant removal. The BMPs presented include both conventional and innovative practices (e.g., pervious parking, sheetflow to open space, green roofs, downspout disconnection). The method also incorporates built-in incentives for environmental site design, such as preserving forests and reducing soil disturbance and impervious cover.
Using Rainwater to Grow Livable Communities: Sustainable Stormwater Best Management Practices
U.S. communities are poised to take advantage of the perfect storm. Landowner awareness of the need for water-smart landscaping practices is intersecting with government planning requirements to manage stormwater—and everyone can benefit from innovative ideas on how to use rainwater to grow livable communities. The website above, recently launched by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), gives landscape architects, designers, engineers, stormwater managers, elected officials and the public creative new ideas on sustainable stormwater practices. Even better, the site goes beyond the idea stage and provides practical tools, frameworks for implementation and planning aids that can be adapted to your community or project.
“We All Live Downstream” Weblog
This weblog, established earlier this year, hosts weekly postings by John DeCock, President of Clean Water Action, on a variety of clean water and related environmental topics, as well as the opportunity to read others’ comments as well as post your own. Past postings have been on the subjects of pharmaceuticals in your drinking water, the economic and environmental downsides of bottled water, and the proposed federal Clean Water Restoration Act (go to http://www.savethecleanwateract.org for more info on that latter issue).
Your Water. Your Decision.
The Source Water Collaborative (SWC), a group of 16 national organizations and three federal agencies including EPA formed in February 2006 to further the goal of protecting sources of drinking water, recently launched its Your Water. Your Decision. campaign to help local decision-makers take advantage of opportunities to protect sources of drinking water, understand the costs involved, and consider ways to pay for it. As part of this initiative, the SWC has developed a guide for community leaders and a toolkit for using the guide. The “Your Water. Your Decision.” guide is intended as a quick source of key information on local options for protecting drinking water, including development, stewardship, and budgeting. Using the theme, “how you govern can determine what you drink,” the guide was developed as a tool to enable local officials to take action within their communities and with neighboring communities.
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Elizabeth Royte’s latest book, Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale and Why We Bought It, is an incisive, intrepid, and habit-changing narrative investigation into the commercialization of our most basic human need: drinking water.Elizabeth Royte does for water what Eric Schlosser did for fast food: she finds the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that bring it from nature to our supermarkets. Along the way, she investigates the questions we must inevitably answer. Who owns our water? What happens when a bottled-water company stakes a claim on your town’s source? Should we have to pay for water? Is the stuff coming from the tap completely safe? And if so, how many chemicals are dumped in to make it potable? What’s the environmental footprint of making, transporting, and disposing of all those plastic bottles?Bottlemania(256 pp., $24.99) has received accolades from reviewers and readers (click here for a good compilation of book reviews and interviews with the author and click here for an excerpt from the book). [Click here to read “Bottled Water Backlash from E – The Environmental Magazine and click here for a good list of alternatives to purchasing bottled water compiled by the Center for a New American Dream.]
Debit or credit? Paper or plastic? Lease or buy? Public or private school? Have you made the right choices? Probably not, according to the important new research on the science of choice. In clear and entertaining style, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness provides a crash course on how and why humans are prone to make bad choices, and what we can do about it. Through dozens of eye-opening examples, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein demonstrate how “choice architecture”--a fancy term for the particular scenario or context in which we are asked to make a decision--can actually nudge us toward making better decisions. More importantly, the authors show that by putting the right “nudges” in place, choice architects (who range from cafeteria managers to divorce lawyers) can substantially improve just about everything important to us, from our retirement savings to the health of our planet, without removing our range of options. Nudge (304 pp., $26.00) can be ordered directly from its publisher, Yale University Press, by clicking here or by calling (800) 405-1619 . [Click here to read a review of the book published in Time Magazine.]
Initiated by architect and artist Fritz Haeg on Independence Day, 2005, the Edible Estates project proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn with a highly productive edible landscape. A book documenting this project, Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn (128 pp. $24.95) provides personal accounts written by the owners of lawn-to-edible-garden conversions, garden plans and photos illustrating the creation of the gardens--from ripping up the grass to harvesting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Essays by Haeg, landscape architect Diana Balmori, garden and food writer Rosalind Creasy, author Michael Pollan and artist and writer Lesley Stern set the Edible Estates project in the context of larger issues concerning the environment, global food production and the imperative to generate a sense of community in our urban and suburban neighborhoods. The book also includes reports and photographs from the owners of other edible front yards around the country, as well as helpful resources to guide you in making your own Edible Estate. [See also the “Food Not Lawns”book and website].
Today's urban riverfronts are changing. The decline of river commerce and riverside industry has made riverfront land once used for warehouses, factories, and loading docks available for open space, parks, housing, and non-industrial uses. Urban rivers, which once functioned as open sewers for cities, are now seen as part of larger watershed ecosystems. Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers examines urban river restoration efforts across the U.S., presenting case studies, as well as analyzes the roles of the federal government (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in particular) and citizen activism in urban river politics.
Each case study in Rivertown considers the critical questions of who makes decisions about our urban rivers, who pays to implement these decisions, and who ultimately benefits or suffers from these decisions. In each case, authors evaluate the ecological issues and consider urban river restoration projects in relation to other urban economic and environmental initiatives in the region. Rivertown (232pp., $22) is available from its publisher, MIT Press, by clicking here or by calling (800) 405-1619.
Local stormwater managers across the country are exploring innovative approaches to managing runoff, but are also facing an array of challenges, such as adopting a local ordinance, securing funding, and operating a maintenance program. Managing Stormwater in Your Community: A Guide for Building an Effective Post-Construction Program, recently produced by the Center for Watershed Protection, provides practical tips, and also features a series of downloadable tools that are designed to be modified by local programs to assist with program implementation. Click here to download or for more info.
The upland area surrounding a wetland – the wetland buffer – is essential to the wetlands’ health and function. Healthy wetlands and buffer areas help to control flooding, protect water flows, conserve native plants and wildlife, and support nature-friendly land use and development. Local governments are often better situated than state and federal environmental authorities to control activities on the lands that surround wetland resource areas, because they are not just concerned with wetland functions, but also with surrounding land uses and the benefits wetlands provide for their communities. Based on the Environmental Law Institute’s detailed examination of more than 50 enacted wetland buffer ordinances around the nation and nine model ordinances, as well as several hundred scientific studies and analyses of buffer performance, ELI ’s Planner's Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments identifies both the state-of-the-art and the range of current practice in protection of wetland buffers by local governments. Click here to download a free copy of this document.
Freshwater Mussels and the Connecticut River Watershed , by Amherst-based naturalist and illustrator Ethan Nedeau, covers the 12 species that occur in the Connecticut River watershed, which also happen to be most of the freshwater mussel species that occur in Atlantic coastal drainages from the mid-Atlantic to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. This 150-page full-color book is extensively researched, written for a non-technical audience, and beautifully illustrated. The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is offering single copies of the book for free to anyone willing to pick up their copy at the Greenfield (MA) or Middletown (CT) offices. A shipping fee of $5.00 is charged for any mailed copies; CRWC will mail a single copy to each requester and those wishing to obtain additional copies should make a special request. Please contact CRWC at www.ctriver.org or (413) 772-2020 ext. 207 to request a copy.
The Land Trust Alliance(LTA), a national association of private non-profit land conservation associations, recently morphed its Exchange magazine into Saving Land to cover a broader range of land conservation and nonprofit organization topics to appeal to a wider audience. While you may need to be an LTA member to receive future editions of Saving Land, the inaugural issue is accessible on-line and contains several articles that should be useful to all nonprofits, such as ten tips for building a strong Board of Directors and eight tips for grantseekers.
A new, hour-long movie produced by Freshwaters Illustrated, RiverWebs takes a close look at an international group of river ecologists who share a story of tragedy, growth, and recovery. Across Eastern and Western cultures, this unlikely circle of friends shows us a very human side of science, while demonstrating how the process of discovery works. The inspiring lives and experiences of these scientists build a rich story of hope and interconnectedness, while providing a personal window through which to view rivers, ecology, and conservation. Click here for more info.
Water, the quintessence of life, sustains every creature on Earth. The time has come when we can no longer take this precious resource for granted. Unless we effect global change, impoverished nations could be wiped from the planet. Roused by a thirst for survival, people around the world are fighting for their birthright. FLOW: For Love Of Water, a new documentary film by Irena Salina, is an inspired, yet disturbingly provocative, wake-up call. The future of our planet is drying up rapidly. Focusing on pollution, human rights, politics, and corruption, filmmaker Salina constructs an exceptionally articulate profile of the precarious relationship uniting human beings and water. Click here for more info on the film, including video clips and upcoming theatre release dates.
Last But Not Least
Does your car have an environmental license plate?
The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) provides funding to many river and other water resources protection and restoration projects throughout the Commonwealth. A major source of MET ’s funding comes from the sale of environmental license plates. Besides the “whale” plate, sale of the “FW” (“fish and wildlife”) and “BV” (“Blackstone Valley”) plates also help fund MET ’s grant-making programs. While these three are the only Mass. specialty license plates currently available that exclusively fund environmental programs, there’s a proposal for a new MET “Land and Water” plate (see image above) that (if 3,000 pre-paid plates are sold) will fund land conservation that helps protect water resources (click here or call (617) 626-1045 for more info). Getting an environmental plate is easy and can be done on-line at http://www.mass.gov/rmv or at your local Registry of Motor Vehicles office.
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Visit the Riverways Staff page