*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
A research opportunity is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, Dallas, TX in the NPDES/Wetlands Review Section. Research project opportunity to review mitigation bank types and evaluate their performance standards. This opportunity will involve some field work and travel.
The Wetlands Section is responsible for administering EPA’s wetland protection program within the region. Program responsibilities are mainly related to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and related regulations by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, EPA is charged with oversight of the COE permitting program which regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.
Specific project Requirements: Research, review, summarize and compile meaningful ecological performance standards for compensatory mitigation banks and recommend improvements to existing approaches to established standards. The assessment would include an evaluation of the various aquatic resource habitat types found in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast Region. Mitigation bank types evaluated may include a combination of restoration, establishment, enhancement and preservation of marsh, wetland, stream and riparian areas. The effort would include the evaluation of existing performance standards, monitoring reports, and field verification within the TX/LA Gulf Coast Region and nationwide as appropriate. Existing databases and similar studies may also be utilized to guide the effort along with existing models, tools, methods, or protocols, for assessing aquatic resources. The effort would address a critical need to identify and develop robust mitigation bank performance standards to help ensure successful compensatory mitigation projects in support of Clean Water Act Section 404 Compensatory Mitigation Bank Program. The effort will include coordination with the appropriate resource agencies (e.g., Corps of Engineers, Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) to solicit input regarding aquatic resource criteria. Additionally, there is an opportunity to participate in the development of regional streamflow duration assessment methods (SDAMs), an ongoing project. EPA HQ is currently testing the Pacific Northwest and New Mexico methods and several additional indicators at sites across the Arid Southwest and Western Mountains. The team is concurrently working to identify regionally specific indicators, and intermittent and ephemeral sites for field testing in the Northern and Southern Plains. The effort will include coordination with the appropriate state resource agencies to obtain the necessary expertise for development of information about assessments. Based on the outcome of this research and assessments, a collection of models, methods, or protocols will be developed for Clean Water Act Section 404 permit applicant use in identifying the appropriate impact assessment method for stream flows. The assessment will also consider the extent to which the tools are appropriate for identifying impacts, in the context of Clean Water Act Section 404 permit evaluations which will address the resource factors identified in the Clean Water Act 404(b)(1) Guidelines.
The participant will receive a monthly stipend ranging from $3,176 up to $3,972 depending on degree level. Any travel and/or related training courses costs will be reimbursed. Start date is flexible, beginning any time after 2/15/2021. Ending date is also flexible, ending 9/30/2021 or before (if desired by applicant). Any travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or a participant’s health insurance will not be reimbursed. Participant will be required to have their own medical insurance.
If you have questions, send an email to EPArpp@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity (EPA-REG6-2020-01) in your email.