EPA Seeks Comment on Fiscal 2008 Draft Water Program Guidance

EPA announced on March 8 the release of a draft document describing how federal and state agencies will work together to protect and improve the quality of the nation's waters.

The draft fiscal 2008 water program guidance discusses, in general terms, the work that needs to be done to reach the public-health and water quality goals identified in the EPA Strategic Plan. The National Water Program uses three types of measures to assess progress toward the goals in the new EPA strategic plan:

  • Measures of changes in environmental or public health.
  • Measures of activities to implement core national water programs.
  • Measures of activities to restore and protect large aquatic ecosystems and implement other water program priorities in each of the agency's regions.

The National Water Program will evaluate progress toward the strategic plan's goals using three key tools:

  • National Water Program Performance Reports: The Office of Water will use data provided by regions and states to prepare performance reports for the National Water Program at the mid-point and end of each fiscal year.
  • EPA Headquarters/Regional Dialogues: Each year, the Office of Water will visit up to four EPA regional offices and great waterbody offices to conduct dialogues on program management, grant management, and performance.
  • Program-Specific Evaluations: In addition to looking at the performance of the National Water Program at the national level and performance in each EPA region, individual water programs will be evaluated periodically under the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) program managed by the Office of Management and Budget. Additional evaluations will be developed by other offices or agencies, including the EPA Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.

Comments on the draft guidance are due by April 6. The draft guidance can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/ocfopage/npmguidance/index.htm. More information on the National Water Program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/water/programs/owintro.html.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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