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April Showers Bring May Flowers

With Spring around the corner, warmer weather is on our minds. But as the adage goes, warmer weather also brings rain. Stormwater management practices are a staple of local governance; but they can be costly, sometimes ineffective, and poorly maintained. Rather than traditional impervious landscapes, in our SNEP Chat segment, and in preparation for our April webinar from 1-2:30, we explore how green infrastructure (GI) can provide the same function in channeling stormwater while also offering local communities increased access to green space. If designed well, GI can lessen the effects of urban heat, improve mental and physical health, and increase neighborhood pride and community. GI can also serve as one way that EPA can better promote equity given that community-designed GI can positively impact underserved and overburdened communities and help to address the effects of historical environmental inequality. We also revisit the local benefits of community aquaculture in an article that follows-up on our most recent SNEP webinar. 

Follow-up: The Nexus of Restoration and Economy for Local Aquaculture

On February 11th SNEP hosted a virtual panel discussion on the Nexus of Restoration and Economy for Local Aquaculture in Southeast New England with panelists Scott Soares of the Massachusetts Aquaculture Association, Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster farms, Chris Schillaci of NOAA, Steve Kirk of The Nature Conservancy, and Jen Bender of the School for the Environment at UMass Boston. The panelists discussed the opportunities for aquaculture through the lens of restoration and local economic benefits. This is a continuation of that discussion.

Keep reading.... 

Project Spotlight

In this issue, we discuss the importance and challenges associated with retrofitting older stormwater management systems and highlight a project that the SNEP Network is leading to begin addressing these challenges. We also highlight an ongoing SNEP-funded project by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which aims to address long-standing environmental issues through an environmental justice and community-centered lens. 

Retrofitting Historic Urban Development to Reduce Stormwater Runoff 

Applying stormwater controls to existing developments is a difficult task and can often be costly. Many urban centers in New England are historic dating back to the industrial revolution and even earlier. Municipalities that want to make improvements to reduce stormwater runoff are faced with the challenge of dealing with old (sometimes degraded) developments that require custom approaches and do not typically accommodate standard designs for stormwater management.

Keep reading… 
Re-Zapping the Blackstone: Keeping the River Recovery Going! 

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, with funding from SNEP, is working to finalize a needs assessment for the Blackstone River watershed. As the birthplace of the American industrial revolution, the Blackstone River played a significant role in the development and prosperity of the southeast New England region. But however prosperous it was for communities, the century or more of intense industrial development altered the hydrology and ecology of the river and its watershed.

Keep reading…
SNEP Chat with James Houle:
UNH Stormwater Center

We interviewed James Houle, director of the UNH Stormwater Center. The UNH Stormwater Center is a SNEP Network affiliated partner and advances the Network's mission by leading the collaborative effort with Massachusetts and Rhode Island state environmental officials to develop a regional Stormwater Retrofit Manual. We spoke with James about opportunities for incorporating green infrastructure into stormwater management best management practices.  

On The Horizon 
  • SNEP Pilot Watersheds RFA is now live! The goal of the Initiative is to demonstrate the effectiveness of concentrated, collaborative efforts and holistic (watershed scale) planning to address common environmental challenges in the SNEP geographic boundary, and ultimately to support SNEP's goals and priorities as set forth in SNEP's Five-Year Strategic Plan. EPA plans to award up to four cooperative agreements under this announcement. Applications will be expected to include all the documentation necessary to respond fully to evaluation criteria described in this RFA and to serve as a grant application. We expect to select and notify applicants in mid-2021 and fund up to four awards by October 1, 2021.
  • The 2021 EPA EJ Small Grants and EJ Collaborative Problem-Solving funding opportunity deadlines have been extended. Applicants interested in either opportunity must submit proposal packages on or before June 1, 2021 to be considered for the available funding. The next pre-application assistance webinar is scheduled for April 26, 2021.
  • The EPA 2021 Healthy Communities Grant Program is now live. Applications are due May 20, 2021.
  • EPA is in the process of accepting applications for a single entity to serve as our next SNEP passthrough organization, responsible for managing our SNEP Watershed
    Implementation Grants across the entire SNEP region.

  • The RFR for this year’s 319 Nonpoint Source Grants is now posted. Projects in MS4 areas are eligible provided the work will not be required by present or future MS4 permits; you’ll find more advice about that in the RFR. Proposals are due June 30.
In Case You Missed it
Looking Ahead, Looking Around
Worth a Read
Program Updates 
  • The SNEP website has a new feature! All past newsletter articles, project highlights, and videos are now archived on our website. These articles can be searched by keyword or topic using the included search tool. We also have a new page for our SNEP Chat videos, which can be found here.
  • Narragansett Estuary Program: Several prior SNEP-funded projects in RI have recently received additional funding from the Rhode Island infrastructure bank. These projects include: wetland restoration for flood mitigation and water quality benefits at Bristol Golf Course (Bristol, RI), three green infrastructure projects for stormwater management and coastal erosion control at South Beach, Town Way, and John Dyer Road (Little Compton, RI), meadow restoration for stormwater management and water quality benefits at Sprouting Rock Drive (Newport, RI), infrastructure upgrades, green infrastructure, and tree planting in the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) District for stormwater management, water quality, air quality, and heat reduction benefits (Pawtucket & Central Falls), and bioretention system and coastal embankment for stormwater management, water quality improvement, and erosion control at Oakland Beach (Warwick, RI).
SNEP Newsletter Subscription
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About SNEP

The Southeast New England Program (SNEP) is supported by U.S. EPA to foster environmental action, collaboration, and innovation to protect and improve the health of the coastal watersheds of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter, SNEP News, or find us on Facebook for the latest information and to find out how you can be involved.

For additional information:  
EPA's Southeast New England Program Website
SNEP Grants
SNEP Network Website

Ian Dombroski
SNEP Coordinator,
EPA New England

Martha Sheils
SNEP Network
New England Environmental Finance Center

Tom Ardito
SNEP Grants Program Coordinator,
Restore America's Estuaries

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Southeast New England Program · 34 Bedford St · Portland, ME 04101-1909 · USA

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