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Educating the public and partners is an important step in controlling NPS pollution and improving and maintaining the quality of water resources for current and future generations. Education and capacity building are vital to addressing NPS pollution. The dissemination of information, increase of skills, and exchange of ideas help to build a stronger statewide cadre of NPS managers. In order to protect, enhance, and restore Indiana’s water quality, one of the state’s long-term goals is to build public interest, increase citizen knowledge, and provide awareness of existing environmental conditions. Short-term objectives include:
IDEM is continually seeking ways to build capacity of watershed groups around the state in an effort to strengthen the effectiveness of groups working to achieve water quality goals and show measurable results. The objective is to promote the organizational development and growth of local watershed partnerships and stakeholders committed to improving and maintaining the natural and economic resources of their watersheds. The objective also includes providing training and technical assistance to these groups so they can better address watershed-based problems, and help develop sustainable solutions. IDEM collaborates with a number of groups and organizations to build capacity statewide through efforts, such as: training watershed coordinators and other water resource professionals; providing needed tools to help groups fulfill their mission and achieve their goals; and, educating citizens and professionals on reducing NPS pollution and documenting the success of their efforts.
The state has been, and will continue to, track and maintain basic project information in U.S. EPA’s GRTS database for all Section 319-funded projects. Tracked project elements include the project schedule, budget, description, BMPs implemented, estimated pollutant load reductions, match, and progress reports. Projects implementing BMPs are also stored in the Web-based Reach Indexing Tool (WebRIT). The WebRIT is an Internet mapping tool that allows users to provide and update location data for a wide variety of water programs.
To help users identify locations, the WebRIT provides point-and-click tools, along with reference data from various U.S. EPA and non-U.S. EPA data sources. The current WebRIT application supports users under the 319 and Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act grant programs, as well as the NPDES permit applicants.