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EPA Awards $60,000 to Revitalize the Rocky River in Anderson, S.C./Grant is part of $3.6 Million in agency funding to restore urban waters across the country over the last year

Release Date: 08/01/2013
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, 404-562-8293 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main), marraccini.davina@epa.gov

ATLANTA – During a ceremony today at Anderson University, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $60,000 award to Upstate Forever to help restore the Rocky River and its associated wetlands in Anderson, S.C., support community revitalization and protect public health. Upstate Forever will use the funds to advance plans for a 158-acre urban riverside park.

“These grants support communities in their efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator, A. Stanley Meiburg. “By promoting access to urban waterways, EPA is helping the public become active participants in restoring natural systems and protecting people’s health.”

Under the grant, Upstate Forever will work in partnership with the Rocky River Conservancy, Anderson University, the City of Anderson and Anderson County to complete a hydrological assessment and wetlands restoration plan for the Rocky River watershed, along with master plan for a riverside urban nature park with a public education focus.

The Rocky River flows 50 miles through Anderson County, including the City of Anderson in the Upstate of South Carolina, and has a long legacy of abuse. Historic channelization of the river has degraded the water quality in adjacent wetlands, while the watershed as a whole receives polluted stormwater runoff from over 30,000 acres.

“The Rocky River Conservancy demonstrates the renewed interest in our urban waterways and is a fantastic, locally-driven effort that Upstate Forever is happy to support with the critical funding from EPA,” said Brad Wyche, Executive Director, Upstate Forever.

Long-term, the project is expected to restore and enhance 110 acres of wetlands that will be part of the future park. The improvement in wetland function is expected to reduce bacteria and turbidity in the Rocky River. The park itself will provide trails, boardwalks and other facilities that provide access to and enjoyment of the urban waterway and its wildlife.

EPA’s Urban Waters program funding supports communities’ efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. Over the last year, EPA has provided $3.6 million in grants to 55 organizations in 36 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters. The grants range from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including in a number of underserved communities. Recipients will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.

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 educational, economic, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoring urban waters while improving and protecting their neighborhoods.

EPA’s Urban Waters program supports the goals and principles of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of 12 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with communityled revitalization efforts.
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the White House’s placebased efforts, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to revitalize communities, create jobs and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the nation. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership also advances the work of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

To view a list of the projects that will be funded: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding.

More information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html

More Information on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership: http://urbanwaters.gov/

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