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EPA Announces “Green Streets-Green Jobs” Pilot Grants for Anacostia

Release Date: 08/25/2010
Contact Information: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

(ANNAPOLIS Md. – August 25, 2010) The U.S. EPA today announced that pilot funding is available to local governments and non-governmental organizations in the Anacostia River watershed under the Green Streets-Green Jobs initiative. The initiative delivers on a commitment in the Executive Order Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

“The Green Streets-Green Jobs initiative demonstrates another commitment in the Executive Order strategy to address stormwater pollution,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We are partnering with towns and communities in urbanized areas not only promoting environmental protection, but also creating green infrastructure, renewable energy use and green jobs.”

EPA is providing $250,000 for the grants, which are being offered through a watershed assistance partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Maryland Department of Environment and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Plans are to make them available throughout the Bay watershed in 2011. The deadline to apply for the grants is September 24 and more information can be found at www.cbtrust.org.

The Green Streets–Green Jobs initiative unites a town’s vision for a sustainable future with the tools to accelerate local greening efforts, yielding positive results in watershed protection, community livability, and economic vitality. Through this effort, focused in the Chesapeake Bay – starting in the highly urbanized Anacostia Watershed - the initiative will build a better avenue to support and connect grassroots efforts as exemplified by the inspiring Edmonston, Maryland, Green Streets project.

“The Chesapeake Bay Trust is proud to partner with EPA and the State of Maryland on this green streets initiative. Green infrastructure projects show that it’s not an ‘either-or’ choice between the environment and the economy,” said Allen Hance, Executive Director of the Trust. “We need clean water, healthy communities, and good jobs. Green streets and other green infrastructure projects help advance local economic recovery and the recovery of the Anacostia River and Chesapeake Bay.”

Within the Chesapeake Bay and Anacostia watersheds, small to mid-sized communities are seeking ways to boost their local economies while helping to protect water resources through integrated planning, design and construction of stormwater best management practices.

EPA will sponsor a Green Streets-Green Jobs Forum in early 2011 to engage stakeholders and expand the initiative throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Stormwater runoff is the fastest growing pollution problem confronting the Anacostia River and Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Green Street-Green Jobs Initiative will provide technical and financial assistance to communities in urbanized watersheds looking to reduce stormwater runoff, improve energy conservation, and promote livable communities through the creation of green streets.

Ordinarily, roads and highways serve as conduits for polluted runoff. When it rains, dirt, oil and other toxic chemicals that accumulate on streets and curbs are washed directly into storm drains and dumped untreated into local streams, rivers, and ultimately the Bay. Green streets minimize the impact on the surrounding environment by incorporating environmental best practices into the design and construction of roadways.

The strategy, which was developed under the Executive Order for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, issued by President Obama in May 2009, states that EPA shall “[initiate] a pilot grassroots effort, targeting towns and communities in urbanized watersheds to help retrofit and create ‘green streets’ that enable sustainable watershed protection, accelerated implementation of green infrastructure stormwater management through low-impact development practices, renewable energy use, green jobs creation and greater connectedness and access to restoration opportunities.”