A Brief Overview of Green Infrastructure Research & Activities at EPA. James (Jim) Wickham [email protected] US EPA Office of Research & Development Research Triangle Park, NC. Pinch-hitting for … Matt Nicholson US EPA, Region III Philadelphia, PA. GI Activities at EPA.
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A Brief Overview of Green Infrastructure Research & Activities at EPA
James (Jim) Wickham
Office of Research & Development
Research Triangle Park, NC
Pinch-hitting for …
US EPA, Region III
Clean Water Act33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972) – First major legislation established following formation of EPA in 1970.
Safe Drinking Water Act42 U.S.C. §300f et seq. (1974) – The Act authorizes EPA to establish minimum standards to protect tap water and requires all owners or operators of public water systems to comply with these primary (health-related) standards.
Clean Air Act (1970) – This legislation authorized the development of comprehensive federal and state regulations to limit emissions from both stationary (industrial) sources and mobile sources.
In operation since ~ 1995
A successful bottom-up e-government initiative to provide digital land-cover data for
nation. Includes almost all federal agencies (USGS, NOAA, USFS, EPA, USDA, OSM, Census, DOT, NASA, NPS, USFWS).
Developing into a land-cover monitoring program (change detection)
Wickham J, Homer C, Fry J, Vogelmann J, Mueller R, Herold N, Coulston J. in review. The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium – 20 years of development and integration of U.S. national land cover data. Remote Sensing of Environment.
Forest-wetland networks in US by number of core (hub) areas in network
Wickham, Riitters, Wade, Vogt (2010) A national assessment of green infrastructure … using morphological image processing. Landsc. Urban Plann. 94:186-195
Uses GI maps and other ecological models to “optimize” financial resources allocated for conservation.
Weber, T., Sloan, A., Wolf, J., 2006. Maryland’s green infrastructure assessment: development of a comprehensive approach to land conservation. Landscape Urban Plan. 77, 94–110.
Weber, T., 2004. Landscape ecological assessment of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Environ. Monit. Assess. 94, 39–53.
Clean Water Act (“water” infrastructure)
Sections 305(b) and 303(d) – ‘engine’ of CWA reporting; states submit biennial reports of waterbody condition [305(b)] of which some are impaired [303(d)]
TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) – a assessment of the factors causing impairment and the maximum levels (loads) that can be allowed while still meeting water quality standards)
It is easier to detect impairment than restore functionality and thus there are about 40,000 identified impaired waters (303(d)).
Little guidance on prioritization of impaired waters
Norton DJ, Wickham J, Wade TG, Kunert K, Thomas JV, Zeph P. 2009. A method for comparative analysis of recovery potential in impaired waters restoration planning. Environmental Management 44:356-368.
Blue = ongoing or completed projects
Recovery potential – comparative site analysis (conducted by states) to identified the set of impaired waters mostly likely to recovery if restoration was implemented.
Clean Water Act (overall mission) – Restore and protected the nation’s waters
EPA – Healthy Watersheds Initiative
EPA 2011. Healthy Watersheds Initiative: National Framework and Action Plan. EPA, Office of Water, EPA 841-R-11-005
Drinking water resources are protected by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA)
(EPA = regulatory authority; states = implementation and enforcement)
Source: Tiemann (2008) Congressional Research Service, Order Code RL31243
1996 amendments co-occurred with shift toward protection & conservation
1 Ernst C, Gullick R, Nixon K (2004) Protecting the source: conserving forests to protect water. Opflow 30:1–7
2 Postel SL, Thompson BH Jr (2005) Watershed protection: capturing the benefits of nature’s water supply services. Natural Resources Forum 29:98–108
3 Dudley N, Stolton S (2003) Running pure: the importance of forest protected areas to drinking water. World Bank/
World Wildlife Fund International. www.worldbank.org
4 WRI(2013) Natural infrastructure: Investing in forested landscapes for source water protection in the United States. World Resources Institute
Wickham J, Flather CH. 2013. Integrating biodiversity and drinking water protection goals through geographic analysis. Diversity and Distributions 19:1198-1207.
Wickham J, Wade, T, Riitters K. 2011. An environmental assessment of US drinking water watersheds. Landscape Ecology 26:605-616.
Are local, stakeholder-driven conservation efforts accounting for a national perspective and how green infrastructure might be changing?
Are local, stakeholder-driven conservation efforts taking Clean Water Act information (e.g., impaired waters, state revolving fund) into account?
Are local, stakeholder-driven conservation efforts taking Safe Drinking Water Act information (drinking water intakes, drinking water state revolving fund) into account?
Are local, stakeholder-driven conservation efforts contacting EPA Healthy Watersheds Initiative personnel (they’d like to know about it, and may be able to help)?
Matt Nicholson (nicholson.matt) [EPA, Region III]
Doug Norton ([email protected]) [Recovery Potential]
Laura Gabanski ([email protected]) [Healthy Watersheds Initiative]
Anne Neale ([email protected]) [EnviroAtlas]