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EPA Awards $120,000 to Revitalize Urban Waters of Spicket River and Merrimack River

Release Date: 06/28/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 28, 2012) – In two separate grants, EPA is awarding $120,000 to two organizations working to clean urban rivers in northeastern Massachusetts.

Grants of $60,000 each to address water quality issues in urban waters will go to Groundwork Lawrence for the “Spicket River Restoration Partnership” in Lawrence, Mass., and to the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments for their project, “Restoring the Merrimack River by Connecting Communities Through Stormwater Education” in the Merrimack River Watershed. 

“We are very proud to provide funding to help these groups address urban water quality issues in Massachusetts,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.  “These funds will help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect the health of thousands of people who live, work and recreate on and near these rivers.”

"Urban waters across our nation are brimming with potential. Potential for new businesses to grow and thrive. Potential for educational, recreational and social opportunities," said EPA acting Assistant Administrator for Water Nancy Stoner. "To help tap into that potential, EPA is funding projects across the country to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect American's health."

With the EPA grant, Groundwork Lawrence will take its successful approach of converting ‘brownfields’ into parks and open space to apply it to developing citizen stewardship supporting water quality restoration of the Spicket River.  The “Spicket River Restoration Partnership” will engage the community through citizen volunteers for water quality testing to establish a water quality baseline and to further characterize the environmental condition of the river.  It will identify stream channel issues and harmful contamination threats such as stormwater infrastructure and combined sewer overflows. Information learned will be integrated into the larger Merrimack River Watershed Council’s efforts.

For the second grant, the Northern Middlesex County of Governments will combine efforts with Merrimack River Watershed Council and other partners to develop stormwater education within the communities, neighborhoods and populations in the Merrimack River region and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.  Partners will develop a training and outreach program designed to educate community citizens, municipal staff and officials about the effects of stormwater on water quality and solutions available to individuals and communities. It will include educational workshops, trainings, and materials and media outlets with various languages for all community citizens.

The two Massachusetts grants are part of $2.7 million EPA awarded nationally to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters. Funding from EPA’s Urban Waters program supports communities’ efforts to protect and restore water quality so they can access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land.

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, economic, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. . By awarding these small grants to restore urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoring urban waters while improving and protecting their neighborhoods.

More Information:

- EPA’s Urban Waters program: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html

- All Urban Waters projects funded under this grant program:  http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding

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