Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program 2015 Request for Proposals

Applications Due: February 3, 2015
Eligible Entities: state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions, non-profit 501(c) organizations

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is making available funding to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships for stormwater management, wetland, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration, urban wildlife conservation, as well as outreach, education and stewardship. Eligible projects include increasing tree canopy, bio swales, permeable pavers, bio retention, green roofs, downspout disconnection, installation of native vegetation and other proven practices for water quality, habitats, and species.

More information: http://www.nfwf.org/fivestar/Pages/2015RFP.aspx#.VL_ySUfF8-I

Building Sponge City: Redesigning LA For Long-Term Drought

Rather than building aqueducts and sending rainwater to the ocean, the Arid Land Institute advocates building bioswales and using permeable pavement to catch and store rainwater for use by residents. NPR has the story from KQED.

EPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center today to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing and by building resilience to climate change. The center was announced as Vice President Biden and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy toured the construction site for a tunnel to reduce sewer overflows into the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. by 98 percent. The center is part of the White House Build America Investment Initiative – a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate, expand public-private partnerships, and increase the use of federal credit programs.

“Infrastructure is central to the President’s plan to build on the progress the U.S. economy is making by creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By modernizing the nation’s infrastructure we can protect our drinking water sources and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change by avoiding financial and water supply losses from leaking pipes and reducing pollution from sewer overflows and wastewater discharges.”

Key Points

  • EPA’s center will serve as a resource for communities, municipal utilities, and private entities as they seek to address water infrastructure needs with limited budgets.
  • EPA will help explore public-private partnerships and innovative financing solutions.
  • Aging and inadequate water infrastructure hinders the ability of communities to provide clean drinking water, manage wastewater, reduce flooding, and provide recreational waters that are safe to swim and fish in.
  • Impacts of climate change — including intense and frequent storms, drought, floods, sea-level rise and water quality changes — create challenges for communities as they prepare water infrastructure that can withstand these impacts.

By the Numbers


Administrator McCarthy discusses EPA’s new center:



The Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center will:

  • Explore innovative financial tools, public-private partnerships, and non-traditional finance concepts to better leverage federal funding programs. The Center will build on the highly successful State Revolving Fund and other programs of EPA and its federal partners.
  • Explore ways to increase financing of climate-resilient water infrastructure projects that integrate water efficiency, energy efficiency, water reuse and green infrastructure.
  • Support communities to develop sustainable sources of funding, particularly for stormwater activities.
  • Build upon existing work to support small community water systems to build technical, managerial and financial capacities through collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Closely coordinate with the EPA-supported Environmental Finance Centers and consult with the Agency’s Environmental Finance Advisory Board.

Water infrastructure includes the pipes, drains, and concrete that carry drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. It includes industrial wastewater pretreatment facilities; wastewater treatment plants; municipal separate storm sewer systems; decentralized, onsite and septic systems; public drinking water systems; and private wells. It also includes green infrastructure, which uses natural land cover to capture rain where it falls, allowing it to filter through the ground.

More Information

New Anchorage Housing Development Will Produce More Energy than It Uses

Read the full story in FutureStructure.

An Alaska design and architectural firm is partnering with a nonprofit housing agency to design and erect a building that gives more than it takes.

The building, planned for 2 acres on Muldoon Road near its intersection with the Glenn Highway, would be home to 20 apartments for low-income families and residents with disabilities. If the architect and designers have their way, the multifamily housing unit will produce more energy than it consumes and use on-site water and sewer reclamation systems.

A Low-Tech System Gives Your Dirty Shower Water A Second Life

Read the full story in Fast Company.

In countries with water shortages, saving every drop is essential. Alberto Vasquez‘s simple method: a low-tech collector that sits on the floor of a shower.

The Gris is made up of four interlocking cells that slope gently down to the center. Water is funneled into one cell at a time, filling each successively. When needed, the cells unhinge so they can be carried away for another use—say, to flush a toilet or irrigate some plants.

Now Is the Time for National Water Resource Policy

Read the full commentary in the Huffington Post.

Water is our most precious natural resource and, yet, we abuse it and fail to effectively manage it.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that focuses on sustainable cities, estimates that the loss of water from our municipal distribution systems approaches 2.1 trillion gallons per year. Just this past summer, part of Southern California experienced the classic failure of a 90-year-old water main on Sunset Boulevard that flooded the UCLA campus with 2 million gallons of water. This represented a major breach in our nation’s water distribution system. However, there are thousands of less-publicized breaks that happen on a weekly basis. This is not sustainable.

Iowa’s Largest City Sues Over Farm Fertilizer Runoff In Rivers

Read the full story at NPR.

Des Moines, Iowa, is confronting the farms that surround it over pollution in two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Des Moines Water Works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. It’s a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated.