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Norfolk Gets EPA Support for Green Techniques at Knitting Mill Creek

Release Date: 05/07/2014
Contact Information: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

(Norfolk, Va. – May 7, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it is providing more than $60,000 in technical assistance to Lafayette Wetlands Partnership, Friends of Norfolk’s Environment, and the City of Norfolk to explore green options for improving water quality in Knitting Mill Creek.

Norfolk is one of 14 communities nationwide receiving a total of $860,000 in EPA support to expand the use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change.

“Green infrastructure offers a cost-effective approach to sustainable stormwater management,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Our changing climate demands that communities like Norfolk invest in innovative infrastructure approaches.”

The EPA funding supports President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to identify climate-resilient investments such as grants and technical assistance for communities across the country.

The technical assistance announced today will focus on exploring the implementation of green infrastructure projects in the Knitting Mill Creek watershed. Knitting Mill Creek, a tributary of the Lafayette River, has experienced water quality problems from algal blooms, and high levels of E.coli bacteria.

“We are very pleased to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency to address the issues facing Knitting Mill Creek,” said Paul D. Fraim, Mayor, City of Norfolk, Virginia. “The EPA’s willingness to collaborate on this important effort is a testament to our citizens’ dedication to green infrastructure and Norfolk’s commitment to coastal resiliency and sustainability. The findings at Knitting Mill Creek will become part of a national effort to combat the challenge of sea-level rise and we are proud to be a part of it.”

By capturing rainwater where it falls, and keeping it from coming in to contact with pollution, green infrastructure practices such as porous pavements, rain gardens and green roofs can prevent polluted runoff and help protect and restore water quality.

The technical assistance will evaluate options for controlling stormwater runoff, restoring shoreline, and mitigating impacts to this low elevation watershed caused by rising sea levels due to climate change. The project will also actively engage community members in evaluating alternative approaches.

In the last three years, EPA has provided $2.2 million to 37 communities for green infrastructure. This new funding continues the agency’s support for communities using green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect human health while increasing economic activity, job creation, energy savings and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure.

For more information on the green infrastructure assistance, progress reports and strategy: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_support.cfm.