As directed by the National Water Program, the Mid-Atlantic Water Program's (MAWP) mission is to "create and disseminate knowledge that insures a safe and reliable source of water, of the appropriate quality, to meet the needs of (1) food and fiber production; (2) human health, use, and economic growth; and, (3) maintenance and protection of natural environmental systems throughout the United States and its territories" (CSREES). <P>By disseminating this knowledge through science-based support programs that integrate research, education, and extension, the MAWP ultimately aims to facilitate change in public policy, industry practice, and individual behavior to improve water quality. <P>To achieve this goal and address the interests of the national themes established by CSREES, the Mid-Atlantic Water Program has identified the following set of objectives: <OL> <LI>National Theme: Water Policy and Economics <BR>Regional Goal: To incorporate the best available science into policy/program development and implementation through knowledge/skill/ability transfer to agency staff and leadership; <LI>National Theme: Animal Waste Management / Nutrient and Pesticide Management <BR>Regional Goal: To facilitate the adoption of the best available science into industry practices and standards through knowledge/skill/ability transfer to businesses, farmers, and technical assistance providers; <LI>National Theme: For Drinking Water and Human Health<BR> Regional Goal: To ensure proper maintenance of private well and septic systems by educating and empowering homeowners with the ability to care for their systems. <LI>An underlying objective cutting across all of the themes is: To build capacity and leverage expertise, funding, and audiences by developing and nurturing new and existing partnerships with regional universities, government agencies, and other organizations.
Non-Technical Summary: Like most water bodies in the U.S., the critical water quality issues in the Mid-Atlantic include nutrient enrichment, sediment overload, and chemical and bacterial pollution. Such contamination has impaired estuarine and riverine systems throughout the region leaving aquatic habitats incapable of maintaining healthy ecosystems, threatening the economic stability of industries reliant upon these natural resources, and jeopardizing the safety of drinking water for citizens. The sources of this pollution can be tracked back to agricultural nutrient and waste management, rural and suburban homeowner water and waste management, and insufficient integration of meaningful scientific and economic information into public policy development. The Mid-Atlantic Water Program (MAWP) has been addressing these areas for the past six years, and proposes to continue this focus by continuing to provide a strategic, coordinated, science-based educational effort. This program will continue to enhance and integrate the water quality programs of the six 1862 and three 1890 land grant universities in the Mid-Atlantic, and bring the resources of these universities to bear so as to support government agencies, industry, and homeowners in their quest to reduce water quality impairments in the Mid-Atlantic region. Regional efforts will include the development and implementation of multi-state training and educational programs, conferences, publications, tools, and a regional website that will serve as an electronic clearinghouse for informational and educational materials. These efforts will be led by project teams that will focus on: drinking water education for well-owners and K-12 education systems; dairy feed management certification; environmental management systems for animal wastes; performance enhancing policies based on market forces; water quality and quantity education and management; and improvement of nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies. The Regional Liaison will communicate with regional agencies and organizations to assess regional and/or organizational needs, raise awareness of the MAWP's resources, and identify potential tools, resources, and partnering and leveraging opportunities that will assist these organizations in advancing their processes. In developing these opportunities, the Liaison will aim to build bridges across the region by utilizing the spectrum of resources at hand and inviting participation not only from within the MAWP, but also from the Cooperative Extension of each partnering institution, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the EPA, state agencies, and academic and non-governmental organizations, as necessary. The aim of all these efforts are to build capacity, advance policy/programming processes, improve industry practices, and enable the public with the ability to protect their drinking water. Achieving these goals will result in greater capacity to address nutrient pollution and water quality need, the development of policies and regulations based on scientific merit, and an empowered public who understand the need for clean water and have the ability to maintain it. <P> Approach: As was done in the past, our approach is to be state anchored, regionally organized and nationally responsive. We propose to maintain the management structure that we have utilized for the past six years, as it has provided an effective means of facilitating regional coordination and programmatic progress. The Regional Coordinator will have primary responsibility for the day-to-day management of the program. The Regional Liaison will assist the Coordinator in all aspects of program management, while also serving as the primary link with partner agencies and organizations. The Regional Steering Committee will be responsible for institutional coordination and program development. This organizational infrastructure will allow us the adaptability to provide the support to partner organizations, as they identify needs, and implement regional programming, as deemed necessary by the researchers involved in the Mid-Atlantic Water Program. After meeting with several state and federal governments the overwhelmingly common need across all organizations is the need to translate and provide scientific findings to program level staff. To meet these demands, the Regional Liaison will communicate with regional agencies and organizations to assess regional and/or organizational needs, raise awareness of the MAWP's resources, and identify potential tools, resources, and partnering and leveraging opportunities that will assist these organizations in advancing their processes. In developing these opportunities, the Liaison will aim to build bridges across the region by utilizing the spectrum of resources at hand and inviting participation not only from within the MAWP, but also from the Cooperative Extension of each partnering institution, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the EPA, state agencies, and academic and non-governmental organizations, as necessary. While the Regional Liaison will actively pursue new opportunities and partnerships to build regional capacity, we also aim to utilize the scientific expertise of our program in a manner that empowers our members to facilitate the changes they see necessary, while ensuring that their efforts are equally recognized by the university rewards systems that dictate the success of their careers. But utilizing these two parallel tracks of efforts, the MAWP aims to implement a reactive and proactive mode of action. Through the work of the Liaison, the MAWP will meet existing programmatic needs of area stakeholders, as identified by these agencies and organizations. Simultaneously, MAWP members will work proactively to identify issues and address needs, as dictated by their research and data gathering. Evaluation of these programs and services (beyond the number of partners and amount of funds leveraged) will require personal surveys with our clients, monitoring the progress of respective processes, and evaluating how our support has advanced the efforts and impacts of our audiences.