2010 Maine Water Conference
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
Regional partnerships for Watershed Planning
Chairs: Brenda Zollitsch, BMZ Consulting; David Ladd, Maine DEP
Description: Water resource management at the regional and watershed scale extends across municipal, state and agency boundaries. For successful resource management on this scale, partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders, including agencies, volunteer groups, government, conservation groups, and the private sector are a necessity. This session shares the successes and challenges of such collaborative partnerships as they undertake planning projects. Talks in this session describe both specific projects and more general frameworks and strategic goals for successful planning and implementation. The session includes information about new tools and approaches to planning and supporting collaborative groups working on planning efforts in the State of Maine.
- Herding Cats: Insights and Challenges of a Collaborative Community-Based Approach for Restoring Long Creek
Tamara Lee Pinard, Stormwater Program, Cumberland County SWCD
Long Creek and its tributaries do not meet water quality classification standards and impervious cover, which exceeds 60% in some areas, has been identified as the primary cause of impairment. The 3.45 square mile watershed hosts one of the largest retail shopping and commercial areas in the state.
The Long Creek Watershed Management District (LCWMD) was recently developed through an interlocal agreement with the four watershed municipalities to provide stormwater management and compliance services to the urban Long Creek Watershed community of landowners in Southern Maine. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency exercised its Residual Designation. The approximately 120 landowners with greater than 1 acre of impervious surface within this watershed are required to retroactively comply with state stormwater standards or participate in a Watershed Management Plan developed to more cost-effectively implement prioritized actions towards watershed restoration.
The Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce described the plan development as a “breakthrough collaboration at the regional level driven by a diverse community of business, government and environmental interests coming together to find a practical, cost effective and environmentally superior solution to a persistent ecological problem in a way that transcends the command and control paradigm.”
While the plan appears to be a welcome alternative to individual permit requirements, the establishment of a quasi-municipal district dedicated to water quality improvements with an equitable fee structure brings unique administrative and legal challenges and requires extensive stakeholder engagement. This presentation will address the challenges of developing a public-private partnership focused on urban stream restoration.
- Getting it Done Before the Hammer Falls – Moving Beyond the Five Stages of Grieving
Wendy Warren, City of Bangor
Reaction to a new regulation can be compared to the grieving process one goes through over the loss of a loved one or a tragedy. The City of Bangor began its grieving process in 2005 with the announcement of the first Total Maximum Daily Load Report (TMDL) involving one of its’ five impaired streams. The process that staff worked through as a group seems to be reflective of the Five steps of grieving as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ in her book titled “On Death and Dying”.
City staff began with the first stage, which is Denial. In step with the denial state of mind, staff appropriately responded with (un-verbalized) thoughts such as, “They can’t do this to us!” We are now in the final stage which is Acceptance, which one might also term, “The Search for the Holy Grail”.
Our experience has helped us to be able to empathize with Stakeholders and help them through the grieving process. Although the private sector is not being forced into regulatory compliance at this time, the City believes that helping the private sector get into compliance (or at least plan for it) now, will save money, time, and pain in the long run. Part of our planning includes first being the messenger, and then assisting the “victims” to work through the grieving process, and hopefully help them to move to Acceptance. This presentation will focus on how the City has collaborated with the private sector and the lessons learned that will help the City achieve success in the future.
- Moving from Partnership to Integration: Lessons Learned from Developing and Implementing the First Shared Regional Storm Water Management Plan in the Greater Bangor Urbanized Area
Brenda Zollitsch, Bangor Area Stormwater Group
Since 2003, regulated entities in the Greater Bangor Urbanized Area have been working together to find more efficient and effective ways to comply with Maine’s Phase II storm water regulatory requirements. Early partnership activities focused on education, outreach, public participation, and staff training. In 2007, the regulated entities in the region formalized their partnership, becoming an incorporated organization and shortly thereafter a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. New activities included storm sewer mapping, shared inspections protocols, joint grant writing, and the development of a regional storm water management database.
In 2008, the BASWG’s 12 member MS4s (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) made the decision to take their partnership to a new level and develop the region’s first fully integrated storm water management plan (SWMP). This DEP-approved regional plan went into effect on July 1, 2009.
This session will share how moving from partnership to integrated compliance activities and reporting has differed from “business as usual” for the collaboration’s members. The session will outline the components of the BASWG’s shared plan and describe both the new capabilities the group found it needed to develop and the capacity building process the group has undertaken to meet these new needs. The session will conclude with thoughts about how the BASWG’s lessons learned can be used by other groups figuring out how to most effectively work together to develop and implement joint storm water and watershed management plans.
- AWWA Watersheds: Collaborative Cross-Boundary Watershed Protection Utilizing Unique Tools for Protecting High Quality Waters
Forrest Bell, FB Environmental Associates;
Linda Schier, Acton-Wakefield Watersheds Alliance; Sally Soule, NHDES; Jennifer Jesperson, FBE; Tricia Rouleau, FBE
The Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance (AWWA) recently completed a bi-state Watershed Based Management Plan (WBMP) through a high quality waters grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The project focuses on five high-quality lakes that comprise the headwaters of the Salmon Falls River which forms the border for much of southern Maine and New Hampshire. This stakeholder-driven and supported WBMP plan utilizes several traditional analytical techniques including pollutant load modeling, shoreline surveys and watershed surveys. The AWWA watershed assessment also included three unique tools for quantifying and predicting future pollutant loads:
(1) A build-out analysis was conducted to project potential phosphorus loads from future development using current town zoning data. The project staff used CommunityViz, a GIS-based software tool designed to help communities and regional planners quantify, visualize and better understand future land use development at the watershed scale. The results of this build-out analysis will allow AWWA and its partners to help make informed, efficient decisions about land use planning and resource management at the community level. Information generated from this analysis will help focus planning strategies on high priority areas within the watershed, and prevent adverse impacts to AWWA’s high-quality waters by balancing conservation and growth. Other tools included (2) a review of the current municipal ordinance and comprehensive plan structure as it relates to the current and future protection of water resources and (3) the development of a bi-state phosphorus threshold limit.
- Public and Private Utility Partnership to Preserve Drinking Water Resources in Southern Maine
Robert J. Williamson, P.E.; Jeffrey P. Musich, P.E., Wright-Pierce; Gary S. Lorfano, Southern Maine Regional Water Council
The Southern Maine Regional Water Council (SMRWC) was formed in 2005 between 6 public water districts and a private water company in an effort to promote regional water supply cooperation. In 2008, Wright- Pierce completed a Regional Water System Master Plan Study for the SMRWC which examined opportunities to preserve the long-term water supply sustainability for this most populous and growing region in the State of Maine.
A major focus of the study involved identifying existing and potential future sources of supply, as well as the risks and vulnerabilities to each of the identified sources. The study also projected public water needs in the region over the next 50 year period. The study concluded with an action plan for the protection of critical sources of water supply for future generations as well as identifying a plan to meet the regions water needs in the future.
The study was presented to the Governor of Maine in 2009 and other key state agencies and stakeholders interested in protecting water resources in the region. The SMRWC's goal is educate the public and the regions inhabitants of the need to protect and manage the water resources in southern Maine on an integrated and regional basis. The study may serve as a template for future regional protection efforts in other regions of Maine.
- Maine Camp Roads: Statewide Stakeholder Process and Partnerships to Address this Intractable NPS Issue
Wendy Garland, Division of Watershed Management, Maine DEP, Portland ME 04103
There are over 12,000 miles of private camp roads in watersheds of Maine’s Great Ponds. A great many of these roads are poorly maintained and eroding directly into lakes and their tributaries. What can be done to address this widespread, expensive and complex problem?
In 2008, the Maine DEP convened stakeholders from around the state to evaluate the problem and develop recommendations about ways to address runoff associated with lake camp roads. The resulting report to the legislature included 11 recommendations, including three pieces of legislation that were successfully enacted in 2009.
This session will provide an overview of the stakeholder process, a summary of the new camp road legislation and a preview of the DEP’s pilot outreach campaign and other available resources. The session will highlight the importance of the stakeholder process in helping craft solutions that would be politically-feasible at the state level and also translate to meaningful change at the local level. The process also helped build long term partnerships and support for DEP’s implementation efforts and sparked other independent initiatives to address camp road issues at the state and local level. Examples of these unexpected benefits and outcomes will be provided.
- Evaluating Groundwater Partnerships through a Mixed Method Social Science Approach
Jessica Leahy; Teresa Thornton, School of Forest Resources, University of Maine; Crista Straub; John Peckenham; Laura Wilson; John Jemison; Jean MacRae, University of Maine
Water resource professionals have long struggled with solving groundwater quality and quantity issues. In particular, the testing of private well water poses unique challenges because households, making the decision to test at the individual level, have little incentive to test and some types of contamination are the result of land use decisions made at the community-level. University-community partnerships may be one approach for encouraging individual and group behavior that leads to socially and environmentally sustainable drinking water sources. This presentation shares data from the Groundwater Education Through Water Evaluation & Testing (GET WET!) program that has been implemented in three different study sites in the New England region. Our objectives for this presentation are to talk about a two pronged, mixed method social science approach to evaluating the impact of the program and partnerships. First, we will describe the existing social network, plans to document changes in the social network after participation in GET WET!, and identify the attributes that contribute to the formation and sustainability of new relationships or ties. Second, we will talk about research related to intergenerational learning between youth and parents that participate in the program, with eye for predicting household behavior toward private well water testing. Our preliminary findings will be connected to recommendations for how water resource professionals can enhance existing and create new groundwater education partnerships, through shared groundwater learning experiences and programs like GET WET!.