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Blackstone River Coalition Receives $35,000 Grant from EPA

Release Date: 10/18/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Pawtucket, R.I. – October 18, 2007) - The Blackstone River Coalition today received a $35,000 Healthy Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England regional office. The money will support the organization’s “Campaign for a Fishable/Swimmable Blackstone by 2015.”

The goal of the project is to sustain a water quality monitoring program and to increase education and outreach efforts in the communities of Woonsocket and Pawtucket, R.I., and in Worcester, Mass., to reduce the impacts of stormwater through the “Tackling Stormwater” initiative, a component of the larger campaign.

The grant will support the Blackstone River Coalition’s monthly water monitoring by 76 volunteers at 76 sites throughout the watershed, the development of the 2007 and 2008 Blackstone Water Quality Report Card, and a pilot Student Stormwater Outreach program to train students to educated urban populations about non-point source pollution. Blackstone River Coalition partners involved in the effort include the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Blackstone Headwaters Coalition; Blackstone River Watershed Association; Blackstone River Watershed Council and the College of the Holly Cross.

EPA New England’s Healthy Communities Grant Program provides grants to competitively selected projects that will achieve measurable environmental and public health results in communities across New England. The grant program achieves this by identifying and funding projects that:
- assess, understand and reduce environmental and human health risks;
- increase collaboration through community-based projects;
- build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems; and,
- achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits.

In addition to the Healthy Communities grant announced today, EPA New England also loaned water monitoring equipment to the Blackstone Academy Charter School this summer. The students demonstrated how they use the equipment to assess conditions in the Blackstone River in Pawtucket. Through EPA’s Volunteer Monitoring Equipment Loan Program, 32 New England volunteer groups have received monitoring equipment.

“Today is World Water Monitoring Day and groups like the Blackstone River Coalition and the Blackstone Academy are vital to our effort to protect the environment by doing volunteer water quality monitoring. These volunteers are an incredible resource, helping all of us to know the condition of our streams, rivers and ponds. I am pleased that we can provide resources and equipment for this purpose. I commend them and all the volunteers doing their part to monitor Rhode Island waters,” stated Robert W. Varney, EPA New England's regional administrator.

Each October, EPA joins in celebrating World Water Monitoring Day, an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world and encourages communities to monitor the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies.

More information: Water Quality Monitoring (epa.gov/owow/monitoring/)


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