The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will provide up to $1.8 million for projects across the country to protect Americans’ health and help restore urban waters by improving water quality and supporting community revitalization. The funding is part of EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports communities in their efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters are canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans.
Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoration and protection.
The goal of EPA’s urban waters small grants is to fund projects, training and research that will advance restoration of urban waters by improving water quality and community access. These activities will also support community revitalization and improving public health, social and economic opportunities, general livability and environmental justice for residents. Examples of projects eligible for funding may include:
- Education and training for water quality improvement or green infrastructure jobs
- Public education about ways to reduce water pollution
- Local water quality monitoring programs
- Engaging diverse stakeholders to develop local watershed plans
- Innovative projects that promote local water quality and community revitalization goals
Funding proposals must be received by EPA by January 23, 2012. EPA will hold two web-based seminars on this funding opportunity on December 14, 2011 and January 5, 2012. EPA expects to award the grants in summer 2012.
EPA’s Urban Waters program supports the goals and principles of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of 11 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community‐led revitalization efforts to improve the nation’s water systems and promote their economic, environmental and social benefits.
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the White House’s place‐based efforts, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to revitalize communities, create jobs and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the nation. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership also advances the work of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.