WatershedBriefs: DWR's 'Water Awareness Month' sets stage for June water plan hearings

In other new: CARE supports Churia watershed management; Students in eight states, Canada test waters; WEF chapters name U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Price winners; EPA celebrates Wetlands Month; Everglades restoration named best national engineering achievement; Campaign aims to uproot lawn pesticides; Calif.'s fastest developing area reaches watershed deal; AWRA says government must act on water problems...

In other news below, see (May 9, 2005):
-- Churia watershed management project gets CARE support
-- Thousands of students in eight states, Canada turn out to test waters
-- U.S. statewide Stockholm Junior Water Price winners named by WEF chapters
-- EPA Action: America celebrates Wetlands Month
-- Everglades restoration named best national engineering achievement of 2004
-- Lawn pesticides uprooted amidst new lawn season
-- Watershed deal reached for Calif.'s fastest developing area
-- AWRA: Water problems challenge the nation -- Government must act now

DWR's 'Water Awareness Month' sets stage for June water plan hearings
SACRAMENTO, CA, May 9, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- California's traditional May observance of Water Awareness Month this year serves as a prelude to public hearings in June on the newest California Water Plan Update. The 2005 Update is an expert, comprehensive water planning document prepared by the Department of Water Resources to help Californians gauge supply and demand, and plan intelligently to meet future water needs. The newest California Water Plan, Bulletin 160-05, was produced with broad public and stakeholder input, including a 65-member advisory committee. It will be up for public discussion at 11 regional hearings starting June 6...
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-- In related news, see: "DWR releases California Water Plan for public review".

Churia watershed management project gets CARE support
CHURIA, Nepal, May 8, 2005 -- The Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management and CARE Nepal jointly implemented Churia Watershed Management Project in Churia range of Mahottari and Sarlahi districts. The project is entirely implemented by partner agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, with the support of a core technical team based in the project office. Gender and diversity concerns is well integrated. The project builds on a philosophy of ongoing project refinement and learning's. The project operates in the Churia Hills, Bhabar and down stream regions of Mahottari and Sarlahi districts of central Tarai. It consists of 14 sub watersheds within 17 VDCs. The main target groups of the project are 25,600 households through community based organizations and NGOs of Sarlahi and Mahottari district. The project aims to enhance the livelihood security of communities by improving forestry practices, soil and water conservation, sustainable management of natural resources, and agricultural production. It supports decentralization by building the institutional capacity of its partner organizations and monitors the implementation of government policies, strategies and practices for the effective management of resources in the Churia Hills.

Watersheds provide essential services to several key sectors of Nepal's economy. Nepal's economic development is heavily dependent on a healthy agriculture sector, which in turn depends on efficient utilization of available soil and water resources. The natural resources sector provides the livelihood for approximately 80% of the economically active population. The Churia Hills are the southern-most range of hills in Nepal, rising abruptly from the Terai plains that border with India. Many areas in Churia Hills have been degraded due to unsustainable cultivation practices, over-grazing of pastures, and poor forest management. Degradation of watersheds causes soil erosion, sedimentation, flash flooding and shortages of water for domestic use and irrigation of crops during the dry season. These in turn result in serious downstream problems of loss of crops and agriculture land, and damage to valuable infrastructure such as hydroelectric systems, irrigation canals, roads, and drinking water systems.
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Thousands of students in eight states, Canada turn out to test waters
LORDSTOWN, OH, May 3, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Thousands of students across eight states and Canada are turning out to test the quality of their local watersheds this month as part of the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) program, Earth Force President Vince Meldrum announced today. The events, sponsored by the General Motors Corporation, are an example of outstanding public/private partnerships to engage America's youth in hands-on learning experiences, and provide opportunities for young people to understand, improve and sustain the watershed in their community. Across the country students will be testing the water in Michigan, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and Virginia...
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U.S. statewide Stockholm Junior Water Price winners named by WEF chapters
ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 2, 2005 -- The Water Environment Federation (WEF) proudly announces the 2005 U.S. state winners of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) -- the most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. WEF Member Associations selected and will sponsor state winners to enter the national competition in Portland, Ore., June 16-18...
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EPA Action: America celebrates Wetlands Month
WASHINGTON, DC, April 29, 2005 -- During the month of May, the nation will celebrate the 15th annual American Wetlands Month. This year's theme is "It Pays to Save Wetlands" and focuses on the economic benefits that wetlands provide. In addition to replenishing and cleaning water supplies and reducing flood risks, wetlands are important spawning grounds for the fishing industry, essential habitat for many wildlife species and provide places for recreational activities like birding, canoeing and hunting...
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-- In related news, see: "EPA to participate in White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation".

Everglades restoration named best national engineering achievement of 2004
WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- A 26.5 square-mile wetlands designed to save the Florida Everglades ecosystem was named Monday as the most significant U.S. engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies' 39th annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)...
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Lawn pesticides uprooted amidst new lawn season
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Today, 20 consumer and environmental groups from across the country asked the national headquarters of Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement, two of the largest home and garden retailers, to carry a full range of organic, non-toxic lawn care products to protect the health of children, families, pets and the environment and to reconsider the sale of "weed and feed" due to its hazards and environmental pollution. Recent surveys show almost half of all households buying lawn care products are seeking non-toxic alternatives.
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Watershed deal reached for Calif.'s fastest developing area
SACRAMENTO, CA, April 11, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Defenders of Wildlife and Butte Environmental Council announced an agreement with federal agencies and local developers that will ensure extensive protections for increasingly rare vernal pool wetlands within Placer County. The settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and development companies 1600 Placer Investors and Roseville/Fiddyment Land Ventures sets an important precedent for construction projects within California's rapidly urbanizing Central Valley and is an encouraging example of what can be accomplished when developers and conservation groups work together to address common problems...
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AWRA: Water problems challenge the nation -- Government must act now
MIDDLEBURG, VA, March 28, 2005 -- In letters to President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), key members of Congress and governors of all 50 states, the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), on behalf of a recently conducted Second National Water Policy Dialogue, calls on the Administration, Congress and Governors to address the growing challenges in the management and protection of the nation's water resources and urges the establishment of a National Water Commission to chart a path for the future...
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