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EPA Awarding over $179,500 to Revitalize Urban Waters along Rio Grande

Release Date: 07/17/2014
Contact Information: Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

DALLAS – (July 17, 2014) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to help protect and restore waters along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. EPA is awarding $179,721 to three organizations to research, study, train, and demonstrate projects that benefit urban waters and the surrounding land. The projects will improve water quality, and support community revitalization and other local priorities.

“Restoration of water ways along the Rio Grande will improve public health, provide additional recreational opportunities and boost the local economy,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Work by grant awardees and partner state agencies makes certain the river continues to benefit our communities for many years to come.”

EPA will also award $2.08 million to 36 organizations in 17 states and Puerto Rico, ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. The projects are in areas that align with the 18 designated Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a partnership of 14 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts.

The project summaries, partner agencies/organizations and funding amounts are:

Amigos Bravos $59,818
Amigos Bravos will conduct twelve community-based water quality monitoring events at the urban Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge to sample nutrients and metals, as well as pharmaceuticals, PCBs, and E. coli. The work will benefit Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in the urban watershed and efforts to meet EPA’s 2015 goal of eliminating impairments on the river.

Bosque School $59,921
The project will combine Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program with water quality monitoring in the Middle Rio Grande to inform pueblos, irrigators, land and water managers, stakeholders, and the public about the health of the river, ditches, and shallow groundwater.

Earth Force $60,000
The project will have underserved youth create projects that address pressing water quality issues in their community. It will provide a comprehensive learning experience for youth to utilize water quality data (existing and data they collect) to design solutions to improve the Rio Grande.

The funding is provided through EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports communities in their efforts to access and improve urban waters. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. The program will allow communities to benefit from increased access to natural areas.

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 economic, educational, recreational and social opportunities in nearby communities. By reconnecting communities to their local urban waters, EPA will help communities actively participate in restoring urban waters while improving their neighborhoods.

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program:
http://www2.epa.gov/urbanwaters

Connect with EPA Region 6:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
Activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.htm

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