Restoration and protection of wetlands is one of the four core elements of a wetland program, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some restoration and protection takes place through wetland regulatory activities, such as during the 401 certification of a development project that disturbs a wetland. In other cases, wetland restoration and protection is voluntary—restoring and protecting the wetland is not tied to a specific regulatory activity but is desired to achieve overall water quality goals. If that wetland is on public land, the unit of government that owns the land can, if funds are available, protect it.
But what about wetlands and other water quality features that are on private property? How can a unit of government encourage the voluntary protection of those crucial water quality features?
Glenn Barnes is a senior project director at the Environmental Finance Center at The University of North Carolina and is director of the Sustainable Finance for Wetland Programs project.
EPA is encouraging all states and tribes to create wetland program plans. These plans lay out the activities that each state or tribal program plans to undertake over the next few years in each of the four core elements of wetland programs: regulation, monitoring & assessment, restoration & protection, and water quality.
David Tucker is a Project Director for the Environmental Finance Center.
Texas, the Lone Star State, is the second largest state in the union, and the second most populous. That means a lot of thirsty Texans when those hot summers roll around! As such, Texas has a great many water and wastewater utilities to serve the needs of its residents. Drawing on rates data from the Texas Municipal League, finance data from the Texas Water Development Board, and affordability and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and with funding assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Water Research Foundation, the Environmental Finance Center has created the 2012 Texas Municipal Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, representing 702 municipal water and/or wastewater utilities in the Lone Star State.
Images courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Texas_flag_map.svg and http://www.koraorganics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/water1.jpg.
Jen Weiss is a Finance Analyst at the Environmental Finance Center.
Quick … what do you think of when you hear the word “revolving?” A revolving door? A revolving restaurant? Perhaps a revolving credit card?
In the environmental finance world, the term “revolving” is being paired up with the equally unassuming term “green” to create an effective energy efficiency and renewable energy financing tool called a green revolving fund. At its core, it is a revolving credit instrument, operating much like a credit card which, according to Merriam-Webster, is a pretty straight forward financial tool: “a credit which may be used repeatedly up to the limit specified after partial or total repayments have been made.” But a green revolving fund is not your everyday Visa or Mastercard with a $5,000 upper limit. It is the more sophisticated older sibling of the credit card, the sibling that has grown up and gone off to college. And while it is there, it is making a significant contribution to the bottom line.
Caroline Simpson is a graduate student with the UNC School of Information and Library Science and works as a Research Assistant with the Environmental Finance Center.
Utility managers may find new perspectives on water system managerial capacity in an unfamiliar place. Last March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with a national Managerial Capacity Workgroup, which included the EFC’s Shadi Eskaf, published the Assessing Water System Managerial Capacity Guidebook (pdf). Aimed at aiding the state primary agencies’ Capacity Development Programs in crafting approaches and choosing indicators to monitor and measure water systems’ managerial capacity, this guide offers many concepts and ideas from a broader state-level outlook that utility managers may find insightful and relatable. “Managerial capacity” is defined in the document as the water system’s institutional and administrative capabilities that enable a water system to conduct its affairs in a manner enabling the system to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements.