EPA, USDA Stress Engagement, Local Solutions in Nutrient Letter
(December 11, 2018) - David Ross, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, and Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), sent a letter to state water and agriculture leaders on December 4 in an effort to reinvigorate work to address nutrient pollution.
Ross has previously stated that reducing nutrient-related water quality impacts is a priority for him and the letter marks his office’s first major action on the issue.
EPA’s website notes that the Agency and USDA will work with other federal agencies, as well as “states, tribes and stakeholders such as agricultural producers, wastewater and drinking water service providers, and conservation organizations, to develop solutions tailored to the needs of specific communities and watersheds.”
The letter stresses that “at the end of the day reducing excess nutrients in watersheds will require local solutions.”
NACWA is encouraged by the letter and continues to discuss the issue with Mr. Ross and his Deputy Assistant Administrator Anna Wildeman, who was brought to the Agency to focus on nutrients and identify ways to incentivize more partnerships between clean water utilities and agricultural producers -- including how to ensure that utilities can get credit toward current or future requirements to address nutrients.
NACWA members also met with Northey earlier this year during Water Week to discuss ways to improve implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.