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Recovery Act Funding Creates Community Pride in Cobbs Creek

Release Date: 05/13/2010
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5546 sternberg.david@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (May 13, 2010) A Pennsylvania non-profit organization today unveiled a community project thanks to federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds made available by the U. S. EPA’s mid-Atlantic office that will help revitalize Indian Creek, a tributary of Cobbs Creek in West Philadelphia.

PA Cleanways, a non-profit specializing in helping communities take control of their environment, received a $136,429 Recovery Act grant which it used to plant 400 trees and other vegetation alongside Indian Creek to minimize pollution from stormwater runoff. The project engaged West Philadelphia residents who volunteered and taught other neighbors about conservation techniques.

“Controlling stormwater presents critical challenges for urban communities, and EPA is proud of the work taking place in Cobbs Creek with the help of the Recovery Act funds,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “We congratulate PennVest, PA Cleanways, the City of Philadelphia, and especially the local community for their joint efforts in improving the environment along this stream.”

Cobbs Creek is part of a highly urbanized watershed with significant sewer and stormwater overflows. This project addresses some of the watershed’s highest priority problems, including trash-filled, unsightly streams; safety concerns; utility infrastructure threatened by erosion, limited public stewardship; and little control of stormwater flows.

PA Cleanways’ Cobbs Creek project is enhancing water quality and the overall health of Indian Creek primarily by decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollutants reaching the creek. Tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions promoting the infiltration of rainwater into the soil, replenishing groundwater supply and maintaining streamflow during dry periods. Planted trees are also capturing and storing rainfall in the canopy and releasing the water back into the atmosphere.

Cobbs Creek is one of 1,871 Clean Water projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the United States, 87 of which are in Pennsylvania. The Recovery Act is providing a total of $4 billion in funding for Clean Water projects; protecting and promoting “green” jobs and a healthier environment; helping communities improve water quality, wastewater infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmental innovation. Learn more at: www.epa.gov/recovery.