Habitat Program: Webinars

The Habitat Program uses online webinars to share important information and training resources with watershed groups and others around the country. Below you'll find a repository of the Habitat Program's webinars. To see a list of upcoming webinars and/or to register for one, visit River Network's main webinar page. There you will also find recordings of webinars from other River Network programs.

The webinars below are organized based on our Current Campaigns. Visit the Current Campaigns page to learn more about any of these topics.

Advocating for clean water and healthy habitat

The Clean Water Act Through the Biological Lens
Presenter: Bob Adler, Professor of Law, University of Utah
Date Recorded: Friday, November 18, 2011
Summary: This summer River Network produced an issue of our newsletter -- River Voices -- with a focus on how to look at the Clean Water Act through a biological lens. That is, how can the Act be better used to protect ecosystem integrity, the physical structure of a system, habitat, flow and all the interrelated aspects that make a system whole?

As follow up, we’re hosting a webinar to cover the newsletter topics in a format that mixes a presentation from a very well-known Clean Water Act expert – Bob Adler --- and discussion of YOUR ideas and experiences with the topics. Don’t miss this exciting chance to think creatively about one of our nation’s most important environmental laws and to hear how your peers around the country are applying it creatively to protect and restore flows, riparian habitats, and more!

This is an intermediate-level Clean Water Act webinar. Participants need a basic understanding of water quality standards, Total Maximum Daily Loads, wetlands permitting and 401 water quality certification. Visit our online course at www.cleanwateract.org to get yourself prepared!

Protecting water quality from federal permitted activities: 401 water quality certification
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Jan. 19, 2011
Summary: The webinar covers:

  • The basic federal requirements of the water quality certification policies, and how those are
    often applied at the state level.
  • Mechanisms for public input and influence in certification.
  • A snapshot of the status of 401 certification in states around the country, with a focus on the
  • Examples of how watershed groups and others have used the power of certification to protect
    wetlands, in-stream flow, and more.
  • Where to find more resources to dive in deeper on the issue.

Using 401 water quality certification on Nationwide Permits (wetland permits)
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Feb. 16, 2011
Summary: The webinar covers:

  • The timeline and process for NWP reissuance and 401 certification will be, and how you
    can be involved.
  • What states did with the power of 401 certification on the last round of NWPs.
  • How to advocate for conditions that will be protective of water quality and habitat…including
    sample conditions you can use in your own work.
  • Where to learn more and connect with your state 401 certification process.

Case studies: 401 water quality certification in the real world
Presenters: Merritt Frey, River Network & Dean Naujoks, Yadkin Riverkeeper
Date Recorded: March 16, 2011
Summary: This webinar presents case studies demonstrating the power of 401 water quality certification to address issues from flow to aesthetics to wetland habitat. Examples from all around the country, and the real story of what it takes to use the power of 401 water quality certification in your watershed are discussed.

An Introduction to Tribal Roles under the Clean Water Act
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summary: This beginners’ session will provide an introduction to the Clean Water Act and the role tribes play in implementing the Act. We will then focus in on “treatment in a similar manner as a state” and tribal adoption of water quality standards. Participants will leave with a firm understanding of the basic policy concepts, examples from the real-world, and resources for more information.

In the last 15 minutes of the webinar, participants will be asked to identify what topics they would like to see covered in 1-2 possible follow up webinars, and what format they would like to use for those presentations (i.e. case studies, expert presentation, group discussion, etc.). Those webinars will be scheduled for February or March 2013.

Stormwater Discharge Permits
Presenter: Gayle Killam, River Network
Date Recorded: December 10th, 2012

Summary: This will be an intermediate training with some assumption that you understand the fundamental elements of the NPDES Permits. This training is suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, smart growth organizations or neighborhood associations interested in better understanding federal stormwater program requirements under the Clean Water Act. It is recommended that all attendees have also attended the above webinar on NPDES Permit overview.

When stormwater is collected and discharged into waterbodies it is classified as a “point source” of pollution. This collection can be through the stormdrain system or it can be via any “discrete conveyance.” Municipalities of a certain size and other public entities with stormdrain systems, construction sites of a certain size and industrial activities are generally required to apply for stormwater discharge permits and to develop stormwater management plans. If you are interested in better understanding the basic requirements of these permits and some ways to influence them to protect your watershed from the scouring effects of and pollutants in stormwater flows, please join us for this webinar.

What will you learn in Stormwater Discharge Permits?

  • Who is required to obtain a stormwater permit
  • What is required by the permits
  • Tips for reviewing the permits – how to get them, what materials you need
  • What to ask for in the permits and the stormwater management plans

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 101
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: December 5, 2012

Summary: This is a 101-level training, suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, and wildlife or lands groups interested in better understanding the power of one of the Clean Water Act's core programs.

Point sources of pollution such as wastewater treatment plants, industrial facilities, concentrated animal feeding operations or stormwater systems, are regulated under the Clean Water Act’s NPDES program. This program has been fairly successful in reducing pollution from point sources, but there is still a long way to go. And progress relies on active engagement and watchdogging by watershed groups and others. In this webinar, you’ll learn the basics about how the NPDES program works and how you can use the program to protect or restore clean water in your watershed.

What will you learn in NPDES 101?

  • The basics about the Clean Water Act’s main program for controlling point source pollution – the NPDES program.
  • The different types of permits and the crucial elements of those permits
  • An introduction to how to review a permit and how you can submit comments
  • How to be in the loop when permits are issued in your watershed
  • Where to find additional resources to help you build your knowledge

Biocritiera in the Real World: Intermediate Level
Presenter: Susan Davies, formerly of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (now retired)
Date Recorded: Wednesday, March 21 2012
Summary: This will be an intermediate webinar, suitable for river lovers who have a basic grasp of the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards program. If you need to brush up on standards, attend our February 15 Water Quality Standards webinar or take the standards lesson in our Online Clean Water Act course.

This webinar will provide an understanding of bioassessement, biocritiera, and the possible power of those tools in protecting and restoring your watershed. Bioassessements are an evaluation of the biological condition of a waterbody using biological surveys and other direct measurements of macroinvertebrates, fish, etc. Bioassessements both support development of biocriteria and decisions regarding the attainment of biocriteria. Biocriteria are either narrative or numeric expressions that describe the reference biological integrity (structure and function) of various aquatic communities. The reference conditions become the “goal” or criteria for other similar waterbodies, and are used for Clean Water Act regulatory purposes. Our speaker, Susan Davies, is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on biocritiera development and use, and has real-world experience from her work in Maine and beyond.

What will you learn in Biocriteria in the Real World?

  • The fundamentals of bioassessement and biocritiera – and how they can be used to protect your rivers.
  • Examples of how strong biocritiera programs have made a difference for rivers, lakes and wetlands – applying the theory of biocritiera in the real world.
  • Where to find information on your own state's bioassessement and biocritiera programs, and how to understand what you find.

Water Quality Standards 101
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Summary: This will be a 101-level training, suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, and wildlife or lands groups interested in better understanding the power of one of the Clean Water Act's core programs.

Water quality standards are the building blocks for all kinds of efforts to protect and restore our rivers, lakes and wetlands. Water quality standards establish the uses we make or want to make of our rivers (from swimming to trout habitat to irrigation) and set limits for pollutants and other parameters necessary to make rivers safe for those uses. In addition, standards establish policies that help keep clean waters clean.

What will you learn in water quality standards 101?

  • The basic components of standards – designated uses, water quality criteria, and the antidegradation policy – and how they can be used to protect your rivers.
  • Mechanisms for public input and influence in standards development.
  • Where to find your own state's water quality standards, and how to navigate within them.
  • Opportunities for improving standards in your state and around the region – from nutrient pollution control to biocriteria development.

Connecting land & water: Blue Cities

Managing Stormwater in Redevelopment and Greenfield Development Projects Using Green Infrastructure: Economic Factors that Influence Developersʼ Decisions
Presenters: Ed Macmullan and Sarah Reich, ECO Northwest
Date Recorded: Wednesday August 17th, 2011
Summary: Clean water and healthy communities go hand in hand. Urban areas are increasingly using green infrastructure to create multiple benefits for their communities. However, there have been questions whether strong stormwater standards could unintentionally deter urban redevelopment and shift development to environmentally damaging sprawl. Smart Growth America, American Rivers, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, River Network and NRDC commissioned ECONorthwest to address this question. The resulting report, Managing Stormwater in Redevelopment and Greenfield Development Projects Using Green Infrastructure, highlights several communities that are protecting clean water with strong, volume-based stormwater standards and also fostering redevelopment. The findings show that clean water and urban redevelopment are compatible. Ed Macmullan and Sarah Reich from ECO Northwest will present the findings and answer questions. The report is available at www.americanrivers.org/cleanwatersmartgrowth.

Connecting flow, quality & habitat

An Artificial Distinction: tools for addressing low flow problems under the Clean Water Act
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network's Habitat Program Director
Date Recorded: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Summary: This intermediate-level webinar will explore ways to better use Clean Water Act tools to protect and restore in-stream flows in our rivers. Our discussion will include tying water quality standards to flow needs, applying the states’ 401 water quality certification power more broadly to flow issues, and expanding creative use of the Total Maximum Daily Load program to better identify and remedy habitat and/or flow-related impairments. Each finding is illustrated with real world examples from the states and includes recommendations for – and limitations to – importing the policy ideas into new states. Participants should have a basic understanding of Clean Water Act concepts in order to benefit from this webinar…bone up with our online course at www.cleanwateract.org.

Using Volunteer Monitoring and Data

USGS: Resources and Tools for River Conservationists
Presenter: Cory Angeroth, USGS Hydrologist/Chief
Date Recorded: April 20, 2011
Summary: Since the late 1800s, the U.S. Geological Survey has been collecting and publishing reliable, impartial, and timely information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information. The USGS uses a variety of traditional and new medial tools, including social media, to share information and help the public understand how science addresses some of our Nation's most pressing issues. This talk will provide a tour of USGS web pages and show what data are available and various methods of access.

Clean Water West trainings

We have a short series of webinars done particularly for advocates in the Intermountain West states. Those from outside the region may find the sessions helpful even though the examples provided are western, because the basic information will still be relevant. Topics include water quality standards and antidegradation.