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This is one in a series of posts presenting sample elements of a possible proposal. In their illustrative details, its contents are both fictional and factual; however, its overall approach has won grants for similar purposes.


Environmental Issues. The Saco River flows 170 river miles out of central New Hampshire through southern Maine on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Its source, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, is upstream in the project area; Saco and Biddeford, Maine are downstream. Some of the 44 local dams create several small reservoirs in the watershed. Both point source and non-point source pollution threaten the environmental health of the Saco River Watershed. Watershed resource monitoring and management; sources of impairments to stream, river, and lake health; and potential responses to the impairments will count among the core local environmental issues.


The 12 partner districts are all located in the Saco River Watershed. The future of the area’s local economies is tied directly to the watershed’s continued health, productivity, and integrity. When managed effectively, the natural resources of the Saco River Watershed will sustain local economies and regional environmental health. Among the impairments that diminish the health of the watershed are: organic enrichment; low dissolved oxygen; nutrients; silt; sediments; pesticides; fertilizers; pathogens; toxins; metals; flow alteration; thermal stratification; salinity; and habitat alteration. Among identified sources of the local impairments are: pasture land; non-irrigated and irrigated crop land; specialty crops; removal of riparian plant life; runoff from highways, industries, and urban areas; septic systems; storm sewers; land disposal; and, flow regulation and modification. Water quality impairments measurably and observably threaten the habitats and health of plants and animals throughout the watershed.


In support of Watershed Education, local teachers also will need training in integrating awareness of environmental careers in teaching Science in grades 6-12. There are many potential environmental careers. They include forestry; range management; wildlife biology; biological control; natural resource management; agriculture; environmental education; botany; horticulture; land use planning; urban and regional planning; soil and water conservation; waste management; environmental law; environmental engineering; remote sensing; environmental planning; environmental protection; air quality control and analysis; ground water management; aquatic biology; geochemistry; hydrology; mineral resources; fisheries management; lake and reservoir management; landscape architecture; environmental policy analysis; alternate energy development; energy conservation; energy planning; energy policy analysis; and mining reclamation. Most environmental careers will require strong science and mathematics skills. Environmental careers are expected to experience at least average growth during the present decade.


Significance. Intensive training in model Watershed Education curricula will represent a new instructional resource for teachers and community members in 12 Maine school districts in the Saco River Watershed. Hands-on training in water quality monitoring and stream and riparian ecology will pivot on existing model curricula from the Council of Environmental Education, the National Air and Space Administration (NASA), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and supplemental water quality monitoring materials available from Maine’s Blue Water Program. The project’s specific issues and themes in Watershed Education will be applicable to communities along the Saco River Watershed ranging from the river’s source at Crawford Notch, New Hampshire to its mouth east of the city centers of Biddeford and Saco, Maine.


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