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Modernizing the Business of Environmental Protection
December 8, 2020 | Vol. 1 No. 10

Welcome to the E-Enterprise Bulletin!

Thank you for your engagement in the E-Enterprise partnership, working together to modernize how we protect human health and the environment. In this issue, we celebrate the continued collaboration of our EPA, state, and tribal partners by highlighting a variety of projects, initiatives, and innovative tools, particularly those focused on improving air quality. Please share this publication within and outside of your organization. We encourage new and existing partners to explore the resources and opportunities highlighted here and to freely share innovative and effective ideas with each other.

CONTENTS

EE Member Spotlight
Main Events
Featured Projects
Tools and Resources

Compliance Corner
In Other News
Engagement Opportunities
Upcoming Meetings

What Is E-Enterprise?

E-Enterprise for the Environment relies on three principles by operating under a shared governance model to improve processes and modernize technology. Through our shared governance partnership, environmental leaders from EPA, states, and tribes are using E-Enterprise to streamline processes and improve results for the benefit of the public, the regulated community, and government agencies. In addition, E-Enterprise seeks to enhance our work by applying and optimizing information technology tools and techniques, where appropriate. 

E-ENTERPRISE MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
New EELC Co-Chair Ben Grumbles Eyes Continued Strides on Technology, Process Improvement
What roles do you fill on behalf of the E-Enterprise initiative?

I’m a longstanding member of the E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC) and a never-ending cheerleader of the progress states and our EPA and tribal partners can make together when we collaborate to “modernize the business of environmental protection.” The nation needs to see the positive, forward-thinking, bipartisan work of E-Enterprise, and I never miss an opportunity to let Congress, environmental advocates, and practitioners know what we’re up to. I’m also the E-Enterprise ambassador to the 900+ staff members at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and I believe that keeping them apprised of the innovative solutions being pursued creates hope, enthusiasm, and productivity.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement in E-Enterprise?

It is incredibly rewarding to be on a team of diverse, highly talented environmental professionals from across the country and to see them come together for something larger than their own agencies—to deliver more efficient, effective, and equitable outcomes. My experience co-leading the Advanced Monitoring Strategy and Implementation Team a few years ago provides a perfect example. Air and water leaders joined forces to develop protocols to scan and screen fast-emerging technologies and help ensure regulators could distinguish critical data from noise in the brave new world of citizen and community science. The effort has helped yield rapid, reliable, and understandable information that can be acted upon responsibly. The team, dating back more than five years now, readied us for the challenging opportunities we now face managing overwhelming amounts of data on environmental conditions.

Are you or your department currently involved in any projects that are a part of E-Enterprise or support the principles of E-Enterprise? How will that work improve environmental outcomes?
 
Harry Hunsicker, who heads MDE’s water compliance office, has been working with E-Enterprise colleagues on the Smart Tools project to increase the effectiveness of inspections to support compliance and enforcement. That’s a top priority in Maryland; we are committed to finding opportunities to use software and other technologies and are planning a new Environmental Tracking System expected to go live in 2021. 
 
In addition to updating the existing permitting system, with a special focus on paperless e-permitting, MDE is also working with EPA on implementation of Next Generation Compliance tools. Our air and water compliance programs have made use of smartphone technology to conduct remote inspections, including videos, photos, and live streaming. The program has also greatly increased the electronic receipt of report submissions, with the goal to eventually have all reports submitted electronically.
 
What else is MDE doing to modernize its own processes?
 
With a big boost from E-Enterprise and a personal push from EPA’s environmental lean management guru, Henry Darwin, who also taught me about lean systems when we worked together in Arizona, MDE is embracing lean and visual management tools in our lead poison prevention, water enforcement, and air and radiation offices. Our water permitting programs piloted EPA’s Lean Management System problem-solving methodology to improve permitting processes. Our water compliance program is developing an analytical tool for prioritizing sites and facilities for inspection and compliance, and Maryland is working with EPA’s enforcement and compliance office to pilot analytical tools. Lean problem solving is more important than ever, given the fiscal crisis confronting state and local governments recovering from COVID-19.
 
What lessons have you learned through your experience with E-Enterprise?
 
While we all typically focus on results, process matters too, and the smarter the process, the better the results. E-Enterprise embraces institutional, geographical, and personal diversity to spur creative solutions that an individual office in a federal, state, or tribal agency would not be able to develop or deliver alone.
MAIN EVENTS

E-Enterprise Welcomes New Leaders, Recognizes Retired Members

From left to right, Ben Grumbles, Mike Keyack, Alisha Bartling, Jennie Campbell, Stephen Forrest
The E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC) is pleased to announce new state leadership and a new member.
  • Ben Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment – EELC State Co-Chair
  • Mike Keyack, Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality – EELC State Member
The E-Enterprise Management Board and Interoperability and Operations Team welcome new Co-Chairs.
  • Alisha Bartling, Environmental Director of the Santee Sioux Nation – Management Board Tribal Co-Chair
  • Jennie Campbell, Acting Director of the EPA Office of Information Management – Interoperability and Operations Team EPA Co-Chair
  • Stephen Forrest, Chief Information and Innovation Officer for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality – Interoperability and Operations Team State Co-Chair 
E-Enterprise recognizes the service of three longstanding state environmental leaders who have recently retired from E-Enterprise.
  • Bob Zimmerman, Delaware – Former EELC and Management Board State Member
  • Chris Simmers, New Hampshire – Former Interoperability and Operations Team State Co-Chair
  • Mary Montoya, New Mexico – Former Management Board State Member

EE2020 Webinars Wind Down with a Look at Deploying Drones for Improved Environmental Results

E-Enterprise and the Exchange Network are nearing the finish line on a successful and well-attended EE2020 webinar series. Launched in June, the series has featured monthly installments on a wide range of topics selected from the originally planned in-person meeting program. 
 
The August webinar explored how agencies can tell more effective and engaging stories about their work to protect the environment. Using an online tool from Esri called ArcGIS StoryMaps, agencies can create visualizations that can effect change, inform stakeholders, and promote awareness. The webinar provided a basic software tutorial, offered tips on effective storytelling, and showcased a number of StoryMaps from EPA, states, and tribes. Attendees were also directed to many examples of StoryMaps in the E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform and on the ArcGIS site.
 
In September, the series introduced the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy and its core principles for guiding collaborative modernization of the environmental protection enterprise. In particular, the webinar emphasized the fundamental importance of environmental data and demonstrated the value of building tools, processes, and workflows in an information-centric way.

The series also looked at how states and tribes are tapping into new sources of information by engaging public communities in environmental data collection. The October webinar took a closer look at examples of these State and Tribal Community Science Programs to promote best practices, discuss shared challenges, and identify new opportunities for regulators to partner on community engagement to expand scientific knowledge and understanding.
 
The November webinar featured a discussion with leaders from the technology industry and environmental agencies on Low-Code Software Platforms and the Future of Environmental Protection Systems. These increasingly powerful platforms allow individuals with very little programming knowledge to create robust software applications to meet a variety of business needs. That simplicity can give agencies new flexibility, but it can also create challenges and organizational chaos. The webinar panel discussed the promises and pitfalls of these software platforms and offered suggestions for how agencies can successfully take advantage of their benefits.
 
The series will wrap up on December 17 with a panel discussion on the use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles in environmental protection. Speakers will highlight their agencies’ innovative use of these technologies and share their perspectives on important policy, technology, and management considerations when running a drone program. 
 
You can find registration information and complete recordings on the EE2020 website. While the webinar series concludes in December, E-Enterprise plans to continue offering opportunities in 2021 to learn and share information across the community. Stay tuned!

For more information, contact Kurt Rakouskas of ECOS.

EELC Targets Innovative and Collaborative Opportunities to Address COVID Challenges

The E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC) held its semiannual, two-day meeting virtually in October, focusing in part on members’ innovative efforts to address environmental protection challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the examples highlighted at the EELC meeting were innovative approaches of EPA, states, and tribes to ensure continued operations through activities such as sampling, remote inspections, and virtual public meetings. The Cherokee Nation and Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians described their surface sampling for COVID-19 in various high-traffic facilities. Surface sampling helps ensure a safe working environment for tribal employees and visitors. Several states, along with a few EPA offices, highlighted their initiatives related to regulatory oversight and public engagement requirements. Arkansas, for example, implemented a new approach for off-site compliance monitoring by conducting Resource Conservation & Recovery Act desk audits using data mining to prioritize inspections and engage with facilities. This approach enhanced Arkansas’ pre-inspection activities, targeting and identifying inspections where resources are most needed. Oklahoma’s focus on user-friendly technology to hold virtual public meetings resulted in greater participation than during previous in-person meetings. At EPA, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention collaborated with states and tribes to ensure continued environmental program operation during COVID-19, which involved developing guidance for states and tribes to administer virtual certification exams for pesticide applicators and allowing limited emergency use exemptions for new disinfectants, especially by medical facilities. 
 
EELC members will continue to exchange pandemic response ideas and best practices and consider what innovations might be adapted and applied post-COVID-19. Additionally, the EPA Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance plans to establish a National Targeting Center, a resource for innovative ideas for states, tribes, and local governments. For more information on any of these topics, please contact Dana Stefan of Ross Strategic.

 

FEATURED PROJECTS

CAER Works to Streamline Emissions Reporting

In 2019, state and EPA employees embarked on a journey to identify differences in data codes between state, local, and tribal (SLT) emissions inventory systems and EPA’s National Emissions Inventory (NEI) system. Alongside the Combined Air Emissions Reporting (CAER) Product Design Team, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Minnesota) analyzed emissions inventory code table data from 38 SLTs. They worked to resolve the issues due to differences in the code, identify necessary crosswalks for codes that could not be standardized, and identify missing SLT specific codes for use in the Combined Air Emissions Reporting System (CAERS).

Incorporating SLT specific codes into CAERS is an important step that will minimize the burden for collecting emissions data by facilities and SLTs through CAERS. SLTs with their own codes will be able to retain their codes, while still sending the corresponding codes to the NEI. In addition, the emissions inventory code tables included in an upcoming report will assist SLTs that may want to adopt or modify data elements based on what they learn from their colleagues. Many SLTs create their own emissions inventory codes to facilitate streamlined reporting for the facilities in their jurisdiction. By sharing this information, SLTs can benefit immediately by leveraging the knowledge and experience of their colleagues across the nation. 
 
Continuing this effort, the CAER Product Design Team and Minnesota will investigate problems impacting CAERS that are found in EPA’s online emissions factor repository, retrieval, and development tool, WebFIRE. A separate report is expected in the summer of 2021 identifying issues and outlining potential solutions, and subsequent improvements to WebFIRE will be made on a rolling basis. This team seeks state, local, tribal, and federal participants at varying time commitment levels. If you are interested in learning about or contributing to this work, please reach out to the contacts listed below. 
 
For more information, visit the EPA CAER Project Website; contact a CAER Co-Chair: Julia Gamas of EPA, Tammy Manning of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, or Stacy Knapp of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection; or email Kelly Poole of ECOS.

E-Enterprise Sensor Clearinghouse Leverages Nationwide Expertise

Advanced Monitoring Scan & Screen Network & Technology Clearinghouse
While new smaller, faster, and cheaper advanced monitoring technologies have the potential to significantly improve environmental protection, agency officials have questions regarding their use. The E-Enterprise Advanced Monitoring Strategy and Implementation Team is a group of EPA, state, and local air agency staff working to provide answers to these questions and help agencies make effective use of these new devices. 
 
To alleviate some of the burden of determining which sensor might work best for each agency, the team developed the Advanced Monitoring Scan & Screen Network & Technology Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). Serving a role similar to that of Yelp for service selection, the Clearinghouse is a resource where state, local, and tribal staff share their knowledge of and experience with advanced monitoring technology devices that they have researched or used. It offers a space where regulatory agency staff can find manufacturer-stated performance information and better understand opportunities for use of the devices.

In a June 2020 memo, the EPA Office of Air and Radiation stated that while data from instruments, including sensors, must meet applicable regulatory requirements for National Ambient Air Quality Standard compliance, certain data streams may also be useful in nonregulatory applications such as identifying hot spots, sitting regulatory monitors, and providing a better understanding of local air quality. 
 
The Clearinghouse is housed on the E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform, a password-protected website that users must have a “.gov” or “.us” email address to access. Once users create a password, they can view a list of sensors, ask colleagues questions through the discussion board, and reach out directly to individuals with experience on matters of interest. For more information on the E-Enterprise Advanced Monitoring Strategy and Implementation Team’s work, visit their site or reach out to Kelly Poole of ECOS or Kristen Benedict of EPA.

New Reg Nav Compliance Assistance Tool Released, with More in the Pipeline

Reg Nav’s newest tool for use by owners of auto body shops.
Clean Air Act (CAA) compliance can be a complicated task. Fortunately, E-Enterprise is helping to ease the job with online compliance assistance Regulation Navigation (Reg Nav) tools designed to help both regulators and the regulated community assess whether certain air quality rules apply to a facility. 
 
Reg Nav walks users through successive questions about facilities, resulting in personalized documents outlining the associated regulatory requirements. This simplifies and encourages compliance with complex regulations, reduces compliance assistance requests to government agencies, and streamlines reporting. 

While most of the interactive tools are based on existing air quality regulation flowcharts created by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the newest tool stems from work conducted by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. This software program is designed to help the owners and operators of mobile or stationary auto body shops determine if they are eligible for a specific exemption under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).
 
As new tools are created and added, states provide feedback on which rules should be prioritized, and review and provide comments on the beta versions before the tools go live. Once available, the tools are widely used. The Reg Nav landing page receives 2,300 page views per year, with individual tools receiving 5,000-7,000 views per year.  
 
Upcoming additions to the toolbox will include continued development of and updates to all existing Municipal Solid Waste Landfill-related tools that changed with the promulgation of Subpart AAAA in the NESHAP. 
 
For a full list of available tools, visit EPA’s website. If there is a tool you would like to use that has not been built yet, please reach out to Melissa Payne of EPA or Kelly Poole of ECOS.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Modernized Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface Released

The new, streamlined CEDRI workflow.
Over the past year, the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI) has undergone a modernization effort to update and introduce new functionality for industry users; EPA; and state, local, and tribal agencies. Launched in 2012, CEDRI is the application that stationary sources use to prepare and submit New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants reports. Earlier this year, EPA unveiled a modernized application for state reviewers that provides an updated look and feel, incorporates intuitive navigation, and most importantly, streamlines the state review workflow process. As a result of these changes, there has been a noticeable increase in state reviewer registrants and in usage by state, local, and tribal partners.

In the past when reports were submitted in CEDRI, a state reviewer had to perform all review tasks outside the CEDRI application. Now, the state reviewer can easily review, monitor, and track reports submitted by facilities within CEDRI. Once a report is marked as reviewed, it is cued for transfer to WebFIRE, a publicly accessible online repository.
 
In May, EPA extended CEDRI report collection capabilities to include selected Title V reports, notifications, and applications.
 
Webinars are currently being provided upon request to individual EPA regions and state, local, and tribal partners to showcase the new and updated functionality that is now available in CEDRI.
 
If you have questions about how CEDRI can support your air emissions reporting requirements, or if you are interested in a demonstration, please contact Ketan Patel or Casey Bray of EPA. For more information on CEDRI, please visit the EPA CEDRI webpage.

Free Open-Source Tool Launched for Tribal Air Data Collection and Review

QREST, the free open source automated air quality data retrieval tool.
In June, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, in partnership with several tribes, launched the Quality Review and Exchange System for Tribes (QREST). QREST is a free open source tool that automatically retrieves data from data loggers (though manual import is also an option), stores it in the cloud for tribal data quality review, and supports data submission to EPA’s AirNow program and Air Quality System (AQS).

QREST supports tribal air monitoring programs through the following features:
  • Data Logger Integration: QREST integrates with other systems to automatically retrieve tribal air monitoring data.
  • Automated Data Calculation: As data are streamed into QREST, hourly summaries are immediately calculated and stored, using logic defined for a tribe’s specific monitoring conditions.
  • Automated Data Validation and Alerting: Validation checks are automatically performed on data streamed into QREST. Designated tribal operators are notified of exceptions via email and/or text message.
  • Multi-Phase Data Review: A two-phase data review complete with a recorded audit trail is provided prior to AQS submission, fulfilling the independent quality assurance function.
  • Quality Control: Single point Quality Checks, Annual Performance Evaluations, Flow Rate Verifications, Semi-Annual Flow Rate Audits for particulate matter, and Zero/Span checks can all be managed through QREST.
  • AQS Integration: Data are sent to AQS via an integrated Node Client. QREST also retrieves AQS reference data and other relevant codes and limits when EPA makes changes.
  • AirNow Integration: Tribes can opt to automatically send data from QREST to EPA’s AirNow program.
  • Public Data Sharing: A map-based website allows tribes to share air data and downloadable data reports with the public.
Programmers are encouraged to browse or download the QREST Source Code to test out or contribute to this active project. To begin using QREST, or to obtain more information, please contact Melinda Ronca-Battista of ITEP.
COMPLIANCE CORNER

Remote Inspections Workgroup Shares Lessons Learned from Pilots During Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements complicated the jobs of environmental agency inspectors who regularly visit and tour indoor facilities accompanied by facility personnel. While EPA provided enforcement flexibility to facilities that had difficulty keeping up with their regulatory requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions, federal and state compliance and enforcement offices sought to stay on track with their inspection targets.

To share best practices on how states and regions managed to continue their inspection activities, ECOS and EPA launched the Remote Partial Video Compliance Evaluation Workgroup. The workgroup is tasked with creating a forum for states and regions to share information on remote inspections and with developing key documents, such as standard operating procedures and facility notice templates. Members began meeting in April and include representatives from EPA headquarters; the ten EPA regions; state environmental agencies in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, and South Carolina; and the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment.

Participants describe the types of applications and technologies used to conduct inspections and discuss how their legal offices have addressed questions regarding various issues, such as recording inspections, protecting personal identifiable information, and providing required notices pre-inspection. The workgroup has also found that it is a relatively simple task to convert records review into a virtual format. With the assistance of facility personnel, states and EPA regions can also conduct walkthrough inspections using mobile technology. Conducting these remote inspections allows agencies to reduce travel, protect the health of inspection staff, and perform smaller facility inspections that may not regularly be possible.

The group continues to meet on a biweekly basis to share ongoing work. For more information, contact Don Welsh or Connor MacCartney of ECOS.
IN OTHER NEWS

E-Enterprise Community Comes Together to Support Tribal Events

Making the most of virtual meeting venues, tribal partners are actively participating in E-Enterprise projects and learning about E-Enterprise opportunities.
 
Beginning with this summer’s 25th Annual Inter Tribal Environmental Council (ITEC) webinar series, attendees received training for tribes on E-Enterprise initiatives that are now expanding nationally, the Disaster Debris Recovery Tool and the Assessment, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Tracking and Implementation System. In efforts to build tribal capacity, the webinars also highlighted ways E-Enterprise is being used to strengthen environmental program management. The Region 6 Regional Tribal Operations Committee representative of the E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC), Cynthia Naha of Santo Domingo Pueblo, shared examples of how citizen science is evolving in tribal environmental program management (see more in the citizen science article below). In addition, Angie Reed of Penobscot Nation’s Water Resources Program and the Tribal Governance Group, discussed how the Penobscot Nation is working to communicate the cultural significance of wild foods to the non-Native public.

In August, members of the E-Enterprise community had the opportunity to join the Tribal Lands and Environmental Forum Virtual Community Gathering and discuss components of the E-Enterprise Quality Assurance Project Plan effort, with a specific focus on training, technical assistance, and available resources. Tribal, EPA, and state representatives also co-hosted a virtual informational booth during the Multi-Media Meet Up Forum, which provided an opportunity to share information with tribes interested in learning more about E-Enterprise.
 
Next, E-Enterprise was featured in plenary during the Region 10 Tribal Environmental Leaders Summit in September. Jessica Snyder of EPA, Kari Hedin of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Jason White of Cherokee Nation highlighted the importance of tribal participation in E-Enterprise and encouraged tribes from Region 10 to consider joining the EELC given the regional vacancy. There are also opportunities for tribes who participate in the Region 2 and Region 3 Regional Tribal Operations Committee to become members.
 
Finally, the E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform (EECIP) team presented  a workshop and training for tribal users at the November 2020 Virtual Data Academy and Conference, hosted by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. The Virtual Data Academy is an event designed for tribal professionals working with environmental data to leverage technology solutions to streamline work and enhance data management capacity. The EECIP presentation was led by ECOS staff and April Hathcoat of Cherokee Nation, with opening remarks by EECIP Tribal Chair Kari Hedin of the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. It featured a live demonstration of the EECIP tool, interactive Q&A using EECIP-based polling, and “concierge time” in which attendees received individual assistance with registration and other aspects of using the site. EECIP is an online community and inventory of efforts, tools, and services that states, tribes, and local agencies can use in their environmental program management.
 
If your agency or organization is interested in receiving an EECIP training, please contact Owen McAleer of ECOS. Tribal representatives interested in participating in or learning more about E-Enterprise governance or project work may contact Jason White.

Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council Announces 2021 Environmental Data Management Best Practices Team

Environmental data is the cornerstone of sound decision-making and stewardship in the 21st century. Yet as the volume of environmental data rises, many organizations are struggling with how to manage data successfully. As a result, poorly managed data often become a burden rather than an asset. Early attention to sound data management practices can benefit activities or projects that involve the collection of environmental data.
 
Recently, the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), the research arm of ECOS, announced the selection of an Environmental Data Management Best Practices Team. This team plans to develop a comprehensive set of Data Management Best Practice Guides, which will serve as a foundation for building environmental data analysis and visualization and will touch on the following:
  • Drafting and maintaining organizational Data Management Plans
  • Managing valid values
  • Field data collection: digital, pen-and-paper, and hybrid models
  • Data quality standards and review
  • Strategies for historical project data
  • Data governance concerns, including protection of private and confidential data
  • Data sharing and communication
The team plans to make available the Data Management Best Practices Guides as a series of fact sheets, coupled with online training modules to help implement the best practices. The team also intends to establish a community forum that will serve as a platform for sharing best practices as available technologies continue to evolve.
 
The work of the ITRC aligns with the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy in its call to build an information-centric environmental protection enterprise. The team plans to coordinate with the E-Enterprise partnership in order to enhance stakeholder outreach and collaboration. To that end, the team is actively seeking engagement with states, tribes, academia, citizen science groups, industry, and federal agencies for an 18-month effort that will begin in January 2021. Team member registration for participants and interested parties will open in December.
 
Visit the ITRC website for more information and to stay up to date on the team’s progress. You can also view preliminary team conversations on the E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform.

E-Enterprise Explores Sound Citizen Science       

Patrick McDonnell speaking about community science at the ECOS meeting.
Citizen science, a long-standing practice that engages the public in scientific research, data collection, and identifying environmental problems, is a focus for E-Enterprise partners. Tribal leaders from the E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC) are working with EPA to catalog examples of tribal involvement in citizen science (also referred to by the tribes and states as community science). This project is designed to showcase how tribes use citizen science in environmental protection, share management practices, and identify ways that EPA and other agencies can help sustain tribal citizen science activities. The final product authored by tribal environmental leaders will share best practices that E-Enterprise partners and others can use to support tribal citizen science.

Recognizing the importance of citizen science, EPA is currently developing a vision statement, data management and policy guidelines, and quality assurance guides for citizen science activities. EPA’s contract with the Environmental Law Institute generated two publications that assess citizen science programs at environmental agencies: one features 15 citizen science case studies in various media from states, tribes, and local governments that advance public education, capacity building, research, monitoring, or enforcement; and a second highlights best practices for using citizen science in environmental programs.
             
States also are increasingly engaged in citizen science activities. During the ECOS Fall Meeting in September, Patrick McDonnell of Pennsylvania, serving as the EELC State Co-Chair, hosted a session with EPA Chief Innovation Officer Jay Benforado highlighting state agency support for and use of citizen science. Benforado shared multiple state citizen science efforts including Virginia’s extensive Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program, New York and Vermont’s cyanobacteria tracking in Lake Champlain, and New York’s community air screen program in which volunteers sample for toxic air pollutants. Via a live poll during the session, state participants identified data quality as the leading barrier to increased use of such science. While some quality guidelines currently exist, the poll results further underscore the need for the additional guidance and documentation currently being developed for use across partner agencies.

Please refer to the resources mentioned above and the recording from the EE2020 community science webinar for more information on specific state and tribal projects and outcomes.

EPA Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary, Recognizing Successful State and Tribal Partnerships    

On December 2, EPA celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since its inception in 1970, EPA has worked to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment by improving the nation’s air and cleaning up our land and water resources. In the year leading to this milestone, EPA has featured achievements that represent the anniversary theme of Progress Toward a Stronger Future – many of which would not have been accomplished without committed state and tribal partners.

Through E-Enterprise, states and tribes have been key to the success of effective partnerships, including the National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS). NEPPS enables EPA, states, and tribes to work together, using financial flexibilities to identify shared environmental priorities and work in sync toward a cleaner, healthier environment for American communities. E-Enterprise state and tribal partners, connecting with EPA regions and program offices, continually make the most of opportunities to deploy innovative and effective approaches as they collaborate across program areas including air, water, solid waste, emergency response, and enforcement. The E-Enterprise Bulletin is a rich source of these collective undertakings. 
 
Through our shared governance framework, E-Enterprise continues to be an effective model for transforming how we carry out the “business” of environmental protection: improving data sharing, streamlining program implementation processes, and facilitating informed and timely decision-making for better environmental results. By design, EPA cannot meet the nation’s environmental protection challenges by operating alone – it takes all of us working together to make Progress toward a Stronger Future.
ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

EECIP Encourages You to Join the Conversation on Regulated Entity Portals

Do you have experience managing user access to a regulated entity portal? Your fellow E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform (EECIP) user, Victoria Phillips of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, seeks your perspective in this EECIP discussion thread.

Phillips posted that she is interested in connecting with EPA, state, or tribal staff who have experience building or managing a “regulated entity portal,” where organizations can view any item of interest with the agency in one place (permits, fees, enforcement, meetings, and so forth). She seeks best practices for establishing permission structures and managing access so that users can authorize other users within their organizations and assign different levels of permission. Responses have come in from Ohio, Michigan, and Arizona, among others, with useful ideas and documentation of those states’ regulated entity portals. However, this topic is ripe for an even richer continued discussion, so please provide your two cents.
 
First-time users of EECIP must register to access the platform. For more information, contact Owen McAleer of ECOS.
UPCOMING MEETINGS
December 17, 2020
EE2020 Webinar Series: Deploying Drones for Improved Environmental Results, Virtual
March 16-17, 2021
ECOS Spring Meeting, Virtual
 

Ideas Sought for Next E-Enterprise Bulletin!

The E-Enterprise Communications Team seeks project success stories and other content to feature in the next issue of the E-Enterprise Bulletin. If you would like to submit an article topic for consideration, please send a title and brief description to  Sarah Abramowitz  of Ross Strategic by January 18. The description should include who, what, where, and why the topic is significant for the E-Enterprise community. For more information on what we are looking for in an article and on the submission and review process, please see the E-Enterprise Bulletin Guidance.
 

For past editions of the Bulletin, please click here.

Have questions about the E-Enterprise Bulletin? Email Sarah Abramowitz of Ross Strategic.

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