USDA will spend $462M to improve rural water systems | Minn. project slows water flow to curb erosion | Funds awarded for Canadian habitat preservation
August 6, 2020
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USDA will spend $462M to improve rural water systems
The USDA is directing $462 million to 161 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects in rural parts of the US through its Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. "Upgrading the infrastructure that delivers safe drinking water and modern wastewater management facilities will improve public health and drive economic development in our small towns and cities," USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said.
Full Story: Alabama Political Reporter (8/4) 
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Erosion/Sediment Control
The Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District in Minnesota and Erickson Excavating have built an earthen berm about a mile south of Lake Minnewaska as part of an ongoing program to keep erosion from entering the lake. The berm, which will be a maximum of 8 feet high, incorporates a 30-inch metal culvert.
Full Story: Pope County Tribune (Glenwood, Minn.) (8/3) 
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Canada's Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority plans to help property owners preserve the Ausable River watershed using $132,000 awarded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Projects would be aimed at curbing sediment flow with cover crops, tree plantings or other methods.
Full Story: Blackburn News (Ontario) (8/2) 
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Stormwater Management
Arup and BDP have designed the new West Gorton Community Park in Manchester, England, to act as a sponge that absorbs stormwater to curb flooding. The park includes permeable paving, infiltration ponds and vegetation.
Full Story: New Civil Engineer (tiered subscription model) (8/5) 
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Wetlands & Coastal Restoration
Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock has signed on to provide ongoing beach renourishment on New Jersey's Absecon Island. Sand will be dredged offshore and from the Absecon Inlet and pumped to the beaches, with a start date yet to be determined.
Full Story: WHYY-TV/WHYY-FM (Philadelphia) (8/3) 
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Mounting sands are threatening the Federal Navigation Channel in Illinois' Waukegan Harbor, but those sands can be used to replenish narrowing beaches north of Chicago. The US Army Corps of Engineers has developed a dredging plan that would accomplish both purposes.
Full Story: Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (8/3) 
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Policy & Regulation
Almost 880 hazardous waste sites subject to the Superfund Enterprise Management System are in danger of flooding if sea levels increase even slightly over the next two decades, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Resiliency measures must be put in place now," the group's researchers wrote, noting that flooding at SEMS sites could cause contaminants to be released into the environment.
Full Story: The Hill (7/29) 
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President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday the Great American Outdoors Act, which dedicates funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to maintenance backlogs at national parks and other sites.
Full Story: PBS/The Associated Press (8/4) 
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From Around the World
The social enterprise Mountain Hazelnuts in Bhutan is one example of organizations working across Asia to stem erosion caused by overgrazing, deforestation and other factors that threaten local livelihoods. In Bhutan, the organization tracks soil health while working with women and poor farmers to provide saplings and technical assistance.
Full Story: Reuters (8/4) 
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The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) is the world's oldest and largest non-profit, member organization that provides education, resource information and business opportunities for professionals who specialize in natural resource protection. For more information about IECA, please visit
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