A recent Clean Water Act case in northern Virginia has been capturing attention because it deals with the regulation of stormwater pollution. The case, Virginia Department of Transportation versus Environmental Protection Agency (PDF), is broken down nicely by AWS colleague Jon Devine of the Natural Resources Defense Council on their Switchboard blog:
At its core, the decision said that the Environmental Protection Agency couldn’t use stormwater volume as a proxy for sediment pollution when developing a cleanup target (known in Clean Water Act jargon as a “total maximum daily load” or “TMDL”) for Accotink Creek, a tributary to the Potomac River.
By Alex Galbreath, AWS Fall Stewardship Intern
AWS is in the process of constructing a bioretention area and installing permeable pavement at its headquarters, the George Washington House. The project is part of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. The aim of the project here at the GW house is to reduce runoff and erosion while capturing rainwater for irrigation purposes.
View of the Anacostia River under the South Capitol St Bridge.
By Michael Schramm, Stewardship Intern
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that it is likely that a current 1-in-20-year annual maximum daily precipitation amount will become a 1-in-5 to a 1-in-15-year event by the end of the 21st century. The Mid-Atlantic region is anticipated to face less frequent but more intense precipitation events as a result of increased air temperatures, which in turn increase the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. We can expect longer dry periods, with more intense and extreme rainfall between those dry periods by the end of this century.
During Earth Month AWS released the second annual State of the Anacostia River report card. The river received an overall water quality score of C- based on the parameters we assessed. But what does that really mean?
Gov. Martin O'Malley takes the stage to address the crowd.
Organized by Clean Water, Healthy Families (a coalition of environmental organizations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, of which AWS is a member), on March 28, 2012, more than 100 people gathered in front of the Maryland State House (an area known as the Lawyer’s Mall) advocating for clean water legislation. Currently there are 3 bills moving through the Maryland General Assembly that would protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, helping to make them safe to swim and fish in, create jobs, reduce stormwater runoff, and protect public health:
A "sediment beach" at Bladensburg Waterfront Park that appears during low tide on the Anacostia River.
Soil is one of our most basic natural resources; it is the sustenance of biodiversity and our food. And, without biodiversity, there is no clean water! As you all know, the loss of top soil caused by water erosion -- caused by poor land management -- is one of the main reasons why the Anacostia River is in the shape it's in. Check out this cool video, and more related videos can be found here.
Co-sponsors: Clean Water Action, Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, Anacostia Watershed Society
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The words of Volume and Velocity penetrated into environmental and other conservation communities as keywords to restore our streams. However, here is another keyword that is still not yet well-known.
The word is Frequency.
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