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New Outreach materials on nutrient pollution available from EPA

posted Jul 10, 2012, 1:30 PM by Lan Shen   [ updated Jul 10, 2012, 1:36 PM ]
This email from the state TMN has been forwarded to GCMN members with the attachment
From: Michelle Haggerty <>
Subject: [TMN] FYI-New Outreach materials available developed by the EPA
Date: Monday, July 9, 2012, 10:34 AM

Dear Watershed Partner:

This is to share with you some new outreach materials developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of our effort to raise public awareness about nutrient pollution. As you may know, all living organisms need nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to survive and grow, and these nutrients are present naturally in our air and water. However, when too much nitrogen and phosphorus enter the environment water and air can become polluted.

Excess nutrients in the water cause algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Very large growths of algae (algal blooms) can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water, sometimes leading to illness or death of fish and other aquatic life. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can sicken people who contact the polluted water or drink contaminated water. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can travel thousands of miles to coastal areas where the effects of the pollution are felt in the form of hypoxic zones with scarce oxygen and scarce aquatic life. Examples of this phenomenon are seen in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay.  More than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams, close to 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds, and more than 800 square miles of bays and estuaries in the United States have poor water quality because of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

To help address this growing problem, EPA’s Office of Water is engaging watershed groups and other organizations to augment the discussion about the importance of reducing nutrient pollution before it further degrades our invaluable water resources. Our goal is to help organizations like yours engage their communities on this important environmental issue. In order to help reach a variety of audiences, we developed some new outreach materials, including:

·        Community Outreach Toolkit -- Designed to assist watershed groups, NGOs, states, and federal partners with messaging and outreach to the media about nutrient pollution. Media outlets—newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations and websites—are important ways to inform a broad range of people about nutrient pollution and the importance of clean water, and local actions that can be taken to reduce sources of this pollution.  The Community Outreach Toolkit focuses on four major components for media outreach:

  • Developing Key Messages;
  • Developing Press Materials;
  • Preparing for Outreach; and
  • Pitching to the Media.

The toolkit also includes information about EPA’s Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox, a collection of public service announcements (PSAs) that have been developed by states, local government and others on nutrient pollution and other water quality issues affecting the nation’s waters.  

·        Nutrient Pollution Video (EPA YouTube channel)  This video aims to raise awareness about nutrient problem, the first step in addressing and reducing the problem.

·        Postcard/Poster—Shows a before and after photo of Lake Erie to illustrate the impacts of nutrient pollution.

·        Future Farmers of America Curriculum – EPA worked with several other federal agencies to develop lesson plans for young farmers about source water protection and management practices that can help control runoff to protect surface and groundwater. We have also supported outreach on nutrient pollution with FFA at their national convention and at meetings with national student leaders.

You can access these and other materials on our Nutrient Pollution Microsite and Resource Directory at (or The site includes a wealth of information on EPA actions to reduce nutrient pollution, state efforts to develop numeric nutrient criteria, and EPA tools, data, research, and reports. There is also information for homeowners, students, and educators, including basic information about the sources of nutrient pollution; how it affects the environment, economy, and public health; and what people can do to reduce the problem. The home page features an interactive map with local case study examples.

We are presently working on an Infographic (e.g., information graphic) on nutrient pollution. Infographics are visual representations of information and data that enable complex information to be quickly and clearly shared with general audiences and elementary and middle-school educators.  

Finally, we want to remind you of excellent seminars available about nutrient pollution through our Watershed Academy Webcasts series.  The archived versions of several seminars are available at  Be sure to visit the Watershed Academy Web page to learn about upcoming seminars.

We encourage you to share these resources with your partners in watershed protection and restoration.  Please feel free to downloaded the outreach documents as pdf files.  You can also hit the share button on the bottom of the outreach and education page on the Nutrient Pollution Microsite.

Thank you for your continued support for clean and healthy watersheds.

Patty Scott
US EPA, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds