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Volunteer Groups Eligible for Equipment Loans Under EPA’s New England Urban Rivers Initiative

Release Date: 03/29/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - March 29, 2007) – In an effort to assist urban communities and watershed groups who work to protect urban rivers and ecosystems, EPA’s New England office is continuing a second year of the successful Volunteer Water Monitoring Equipment Loan Program, with a priority for monitoring urban waters.

The equipment loan program is a key aspect to a signature EPA goal: protecting health and environmental quality in New England. Improved water quality monitoring can have significant benefits in New England, as monitoring data helps guide efforts to improve the health of rivers, streams, lakes and other bodies of water.

Despite the need for robust data on water quality and ecological health, there are waters that states, tribes and EPA are not able to monitor at all or only on a very limited frequency. In New England, volunteer groups have played a valuable role in supplementing the available monitoring data.

“At least 200 New England groups are helping to protect our environment by doing volunteer water quality monitoring,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “These volunteers are an incredible resource in helping us to accomplish our mission of restoring New England waterways."

This year EPA intends to provide equipment to groups working in urban areas of New England to generate well-documented physical, chemical and biological data for use in assessing conditions of the region’s waters. The types of equipment available for loan include water quality meters and sampling equipment. Applications are due to EPA by April 30. With this equipment loan program, EPA New England expects to support and enhance the work of existing monitoring groups and assist the start up of new groups who seek to monitor waters for which there are no current data.

The equipment loan program was announced today at a conference in Boston attended by over 300 people working to improve and protect urban rivers. More and more cities are looking to urban rivers as assets that will help revitalize our cities, improve the economy, and provide a better quality of life. Urban rivers hold great promise for the revitalization of degraded urban environments. As water quality improves and land is redeveloped, cities take on a new vitality and increased economic activity.

“Urban rivers are the lifeblood of our cities and have huge potential,” continued EPA New England regional administrator Varney. “EPA is working to bring together people interested in restoring urban rivers. Together, by helping to protect and clean urban rivers, we will help restore cleaner and healthier ecosystems across New England.”

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