Happy New Year! To begin, I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Madeline Urbish, but please feel free to call me Maddy, and I am the new Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. I am very excited to be working with and for the Coalition! I have had an opportunity to meet some of you and look forward to meeting more of you at our Annual Meeting next month. Kim has worked with me to pass on her invaluable knowledge of the great work CDRW has done thus far, and I cannot say enough how much I appreciate her dedication to this Coalition and seeing it’s continued success.
Just to give you a little background, I am a New Jersey-native originally from Bergen County. I attended The College of New Jersey for my undergraduate education, during which time I worked in then-Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s legislative office. Shortly after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I transitioned from the 15th Legislative District to working full-time at The College of New Jersey’s Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research. During my three and half years at the College, I worked with coalitions in the greater Trenton area. During this period I also earned by Master in Public Administration at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. Upon finishing my Master’s degree, I left the College to move to Washington, DC. For the past year in Washington I worked briefly in Congress for a Representative from California, and most recently worked for a boutique consulting firm that represented local governments with beach projects through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I am so very happy to be back in my home region and to be working with such a wonderful group of organizations! As a new resident of Stockton, NJ, I am only feet away from the Delaware River, and I am excited to work with all of you to promote the protection and restoration of the basin and raise the profile of the Delaware River Watershed.
Now down to some business:
Please join me in welcoming two new organizations to the Coalition:
Beaver Valley Preservation Alliance
French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust
We are excited about the continued growth of the Coalition!
Next, please look for an official invitation for our members-only Annual Meeting. We have tentatively scheduled the meeting for February 10th in Trenton, NJ and are just waiting for a final confirmation. Among other business, we will be voting to set our policy priorities for 2016. We are excited to have received nine nominations and will be sending out a description of each to you along with a schedule for opportunities to ask questions and learn more about the proposals in January. Stay tuned for this and an invitation to the Annual Meeting!
Below you’ll find some updates, information, and resources. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or have an issue you’d like to discuss – my contact information can be found at the bottom of this email. Again, I am very excited to be working with all of you and can’t wait to get to know you over the next several months!
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting in February!
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The Clean Water Rule – Good news! We have been involved in several successful efforts in protecting the Clean Water Rule, including: rejection of the Barasso bill (S.1440), rejection of the Congressional Review Act attempt to nullify the rule, and prevention of policy riders blocking the rule in the Omnibus spending bill. It appears (knock on wood) that in working with many partners at the national level, we have helped to get through all of the legislative challenges to the Clean Water Rule. That being said, the rule is being challenged in the courts, and we will continue to keep an eye on the court challenge and update you as things change, but overall, we are very proud of the work our members and partners did in advocating for the rule with Congress. Thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out to their Representatives and Senators!
Delaware River Basin Commission One-Project One-Permit Rule – The Coalition submitted comments on the DRBC’s proposed One Process/One Permit rule. The rule would allow a single permit for projects that are subject to review by both the DRBC and a state agency (this would include meeting all applicable requirements from both the state and DRBC). CDRW submitted two comments regarding the rule: one addressing concern over the need for clear and adequate public notice for permit applications, and one requesting a demonstration program evaluation prior to implementation of the rule. We are pleased that the DRBC responded fully to both of our comments, and incorporated changes to its proposed One Process/One Permit program to explicitly require the state agencies supply it with a list of applications they receive on a monthly basis. The DRBC also revised the rule to state that it will maintain a list of all applications pending under the program on its website, along with any information for interested parties to locate notices of comment opportunities and final actions on the state agencies’ websites. Thank you for the 19 organizations that signed on to our comment!
Delaware River Basin Conservation Act – We’d like your help in compiling a database of example projects – recently completed or pending - that would benefit from passage of the DRBCA. This type of information is extremely helpful when we reach out to Congressional offices, respond to inquiries from the media, etc. No need to go into exhaustive detail; just a brief description of the work, partners, costs (actual or estimated), and Congressional district that the project is located in. The scope of the DRBCA is broad: projects that could be eligible for competitive grants include water quality and habitat improvements, flood mitigation efforts, public access enhancement, resiliency planning, education and outreach programs, and monitoring. An updated fact sheet is attached with more details; please send your descriptions to Madeline Emde at email@example.com.
Common Waters Partnership Call – Common Waters will be holding a quarterly meeting via conference call on Thursday, January 7th from 10:00am-11:30am to provide updates on the Delaware Basin RCPP and other NRCS-related work. The dial in number is 641-715-3294 and passcode is 476692#.
Abbott Marshlands 2016 Walk & Reception – The Friends for the Abbott Marshlands is hosting Quiet Months: An Exploration of Winter, a walk around the Abbott Marshland followed by a reception at the Tulpehaking Nature Center on Sunday, January 10th from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea will be provided to warm cold fingers, and a reception will be held in the nature center after the walk where attendees can meet exhibit photographers. Bring your camera! For more information, visit http://abbottmarshlands.org/calendar/?entry=208&display=month or contact Kelly Rypkema at 609-888-3218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DRB 2070 Workshop Series – Shippensburg University is hosting a series of Watershed Identity and Scenario Development workshops in January. The first workshop will take place on January 13th at The Nature Place at Angelica Park in Reading, PA. The second workshop will take place on January 14th at the Merrill Creek Reservoir in Washington, NJ. These workshops are targeted to professional with an interest in land use in the Delaware River Basin. Travel reimbursement is availalable and lunch will be provided. For more information and to register, visit http://drbproject.org/workshops/or contact Antonia Price at email@example.com.
Professional Leadership Institute - Are you looking to grow your institution, network with colleagues, prepare for challenges and focus your vision? Delaware Nature Society’s Professional Leadership Institute covers a range of relevant topics, including funding, volunteer, board, advocacy, and administrative issues. The Institute will be held on January 12–16, 2016 at Ashland Nature Center, Hockessin, DE; click here for more details.
Clear Choices, Clean Water Website – The Clear Choices, Clean Water: My Delaware River campaign has launched its website to raise awareness around protecting the Delaware River. You will find new ideas for conserving water, plans and information for designing rain gardens, or tips for caring for your lawn in an eco-friendly way, as well as volunteer opportunities. Visit the website athttp://www.MyDelawareRiver.ClearChoicesCleanWater.org. Sponsors of the campaign include Delaware Highlands Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlands Conservancy, Brodhead Watershed Association, GoPoconos, Pocono Heritage Land Trust, and the Pocono Environmental Education Center.
Schuylkill Action Network Survey – The Schuylkill Action Network is working on developing a 5-year strategic plan to improve the Schuylkill River watershed, and is seeking input through a short survey. The Schuylkill Action Network is a collaborative network of over 100 organizations, federal, state, and local governments, academia, and more, all working to protect and restore the Schuylkill River watershed. To take the survey, visit this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RTBWP7L. Please feel free to share it with you network as well!
USDA NRCS Work Lands for Wildlife Initiative for Federally Threatened Bog Turtle – Through the Working Lands for Wildlife, USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service has an initiative to assist private landowners combat habitat fragmentation and degradation to restore bog turtle populations in seven states (including DE, NJ, NY, and PA), and increase landowner confidence that the conservation practices they volunteer to implement will not harm the species or its habitat. America’s smallest turtle, the Bog Turtle, is federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Bog turtles can be an indicator of water quality and wetland function. The majority of bog turtle habitat is controlled by private landowners in agricultural areas. Proper grazing management conserves habitat by slowing natural plant succession and minimizing encroachment of invasive species, while heavy grazing may destroy bog turtle habitat. For more information, contact Galon Hall, Working Lands for Wildlife Coordinator at (202) 690-2196 or visit the initiative’s website by clicking here.
Open Comment Periods
DVRPC Draft FY 2017 Planning Work Program – The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission opened a public comment period for the Draft FY 2017 Planning Work Program. The document outlines all of the federally funded planning projects slated for the nine-county region from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. The listing includes DVRPC projects, as well as projects planned by member governments and transit organizations. The Work Program is developed annually by the DVRPC Board with its planning partners to reflect the region’s short-range planning needs. To read the draft document, visit http://www.dvrpc.org/WorkProgram/. The public comment period is open through close of business (5pm) on January 12, 2016. All written comments can be sent to Mr. John Griffies via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, mailed to, DVRPC, 190 N Independence Mall West, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106, or faxed to 215-592-9125.
Delaware Watershed Research Fund (DRWF) – This is a new opportunity for research funding intended to complement the broader watershed protection work of the William Penn Foundation. The Fun will build on the goals of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) to ensure water quality in the Delaware River Basin through restoration, protection, and monitoring of watersheds. Total individual grant amounts over three years are expected to be between $300,000 and $500,000. Funding is provided by the William Penn Foundation and will be administered by the Academy of Natural Sciences. The DWRF is designed to address key research needs that have been identified in relation to the Delaware River Watershed and the study of watershed processes. Prospective applicants should be researchers from academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and public agencies that allow the use of external funds. Letters of intent are due by February 16, 2016; Invitations for Proposals will be issued on March 1st; Formal proposals will be due by April 15th. For more information, click here. You can also contact email@example.com with any questions.
Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants – The EPA is providing funding to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field, with a focus on solid and hazardous waste remediation, environmental health and safety, integrated pest management, and wastewater-related training. For more information, click here. Proposals are due by January 14, 2016. For questions, contact Joseph Bruss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-326-5874.
Community Forest Program – The Forest Service is requesting application for the Community Forest Program and Open Space Conservation Program, a competitive grant whereby local governments, qualified nonprofits, and Indian Tribes are eligible to apply for funding to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provided community and environmental benefits. For more information, click here. Applications are due by January 15, 2016.
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has an RFP out for this public-private partnership grant program, funded in part by the EPA’s Wetlands and Urban Waters Programs, along with the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. About $2.4 million in combined total funding will be available to support projects such as stormwater management, addressing water scarcity, water quality protection, restoration, and source water protection including wetlands, riparian, forest, and water quality protection. The grant program will give special consideration to projects in the 19 Urban Waters Federal Partnership designated locations. For more information on the priority areas, click here, and for more information on the grant program, click here. Applications are due byFebruary 3, 2016.
Environmental Literacy for Community Resilience grants – NOAA is providing grant funding to strengthen the public’s and/or K-12 students’ environmental literacy to enable informed decision-making necessary for community resilience to extreme weather events and other environmental hazards. Projects should build the environmental literacy necessary for community resilience by focusing geographic awareness and an understanding of Earth systems and the threats and vulnerabilities that are associated with a community’s location. Proposed projects must be between 2 and 5 years in duration and have total federal requests of $250,000 to $500,000 for all years of the project. For more information on how to apply can be found here. The deadline to apply is February 8, 2016. You can also contact Carrie McGouall, John McLaughlin, Sarah Schoedinger, or Christopher Nelson by emailing email@example.com.
Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants – EPA is providing a total of $1.2 million in Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (EJPCS) cooperative agreements aimed at addressing local environmental and public health issues within an affected community, with a focus on helping communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Cooperative agreements will be awarded to local communities through collaboration with other stakeholders, such as state and local governments, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations. For more information on the grant program, click here. Applications are due byFebruary 12, 2016.
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program – The PFW Program is a voluntary, cost-share program that provides direct technical assistance and financial assistance in the form of cooperative agreements to private landowners to restore and conserve fish and wildlife habitat. The program helps: restore habitats of federal trust species on private lands, including tribal, county, and municipal lands; restore wetlands, riparian, in-stream, and native upland habitats; remove barriers to fish passage; and, leverage funds and resources through efficient state, federal, and private partnerships. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016. More information on how to apply can be found here. If you have any questions, contact Michael Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-358-2031.