Revitalization of urban waterways is focus of new federal partnership

June 24, 2011
Eleven federal agencies have come together under a new federal partnership focused on revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country...

BALTIMORE, MD, June 24, 2011 -- Eleven federal agencies have come together under a new federal partnership focused on revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) will initially target seven pilot locations: the Patapsco Watershed (Maryland), the Anacostia Watershed (Washington, DC/Maryland), the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York), the South Platte River in Denver (Colorado), the Los Angeles River Watershed (California), the Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans, LA), and the Northwest Indiana Area. Each of the pilot locations already has a strong restoration effort underway, spearheaded by local governments and community organizations. Lessons learned from these pilot locations will be transferred to other cities in the country.

The UWFP will be led by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and coordinated by the White House Domestic Policy Council. Its goal is to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans' health. The partnership supports President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative aimed at making the Federal Government a better partner with communities that are working to provide safe, healthy and accessible outdoor spaces.

Cleaning up and restoring urban water resources, the partnership said, is essential to protecting public health and improving overall quality of life, as well as reconnecting citizens to open spaces. They expect it will have a positive economic impact on local businesses, tourism and property values, as well as spur private investment and job creation in these communities.

"There is a range of health and environmental challenges facing our urban waters today -- but each challenge is matched by an incredible opportunity to transform distressed urban waterfronts into centerpieces for community revitalization," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Urban waters have the potential to support healthy environments, growing business and educational and recreational activities. By bringing together the experience and expertise of multiple federal partners, we have a chance to reconnect local residents, young people and community groups with the environmental resources all around them."

Urban Waters Federal Partnership MembersFunction
Environmental Protection AgencyUse statutory authority to protect and preserve water quality and provide assistance in assessing and addressing legacy contamination
Department of InteriorAssist in building trails; increase public access to river resources; help restore and protect habitat and wildlife; educate and employ urban youth; and assess and help safeguard water quality.
United States Department of AgricultureHelp communities to plan, manage, and sustain farm and forest landscapes on public and private ownership along a complex rural to urban gradient to promote watershed health and protect water resources, from the source to the faucet.
Corporation for National and Community ServiceRecruiting, organizing and maximizing the impact of community volunteers.
Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCDC/ATSDR will serve to offer guidance and technical assistance to local health officials and community members in conducting community-based environmental health assessments and creating an accurate and verifiable profile of communities' environmental health status.
Department of Commerce/Economic Development AdministrationFoster the creation of high-skill jobs and the generation of private capital investment in distressed communities.
Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationProvide unique scientific products and services designed to boost economic vitality, restore habitat, and mitigate hazards and contamination in coastal, Great Lakes, and other locations.
Army Corps of EngineersOffer engineering services, research and technical support to stakeholders during the planning, design, construction and operation of water resources and associated environmental infrastructure.
Department of TransportationHelp the community in designing improved transportation corridors, bikeways, walkways
Housing and Urban DevelopmentHelp the community improve access to affordable housing.
National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesAssist with health studies related to community environmental conditions.

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