American Water announces recipients of 2016 Environmental Grant Program
More than $150,000 awarded to 42 community improvement projects.
VOORHEES, N.J., AUGUST 9, 2016 -- American Water, the largest publicly traded US water and wastewaterutility company, announced today the recipients of the company’s 2016 Environmental Grant Program awards. A total of 42 projects throughout American Water’s service areas in ten states will be supported by grants totaling $153,350.
Established in 2005, American Water’s Environmental Grant Program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the communities it serves.
"Once again, we are inspired by each one of these 42 organizations commitment to making a difference in one our communities, and we are very proud to partner with them to turn their plans into a reality," said Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water. "Now in its tenth year, our environmental grant program has provided more than $1.4 million of needed support for 373 projects to help improve, restore and protect our valuable natural resources through partnerships. We are very proud to support these programs and the people behind them – many of whom are volunteers and neighbors in the communities we serve."
The 2016 grant recipients, which are located throughout American Water’s service areas, include the following:
California American Water is issuing two grants totaling $10,000 to the following organizations:
- Located in its Monterey service area, the non-profit Carmel River Watershed Conservancy was awarded $6,500 to fund its Watershed Docent Training Project. The project promotes the development of a watershed preservation curriculum and the training of docents to educate and inform the public and students about becoming better stewards of the Carmel River and its watershed.
- Outdoor Outreach was awarded $3,500 for their WatershedConnect Project. As part of the project, Outdoor Outreach, through recreations and stewardship activities, will create meaningful and learning activities for underserved and at-risk teens in the San Diego Region. The program will engage more than 100 diverse youth from underserved communities in Imperial Beach, South San Diego and Chula Vista.
Illinois American Water is issuing five grants totaling $15,000 to the following organizations:
- The Alton Community School District #11’s Rock Spring Park Watershed Restoration Project will receive a $4,000 grant for a bio retention system and rain garden to be constructed in an outdoor classroom area of Rock Spring Park to remediate storm water accumulation and resulting stagnant pools. Middle School students will be involved in the project based learning on the design, construction and maintenance.
- The City of South Beloit will receive a $3,000 grant for the community’s Nature At the Confluence Stream Team Programing, which will educate and engage residents in clean water and community revitalization. Programming will include citizen science stream monitoring, rain barrel & container gardening, watershed interpretive signage and more.
- Urbana Park District Douglas Creek Restoration Project will receive a $4,000 grant for a project that will restore native plants, trees and shrubs in the wetland and creek channel. Interpretative signing will be installed to educate Meadowbrook Park’s visitors about the important and impact of local waterways.
- Peoria Park District’s Illinois River Sweep will receive their full grant request of $1,500 to fund supplies for the annual Illinois River clean-up effort. Over 100 volunteers are expected to attend the event which removes trash and debris from the river shorelines.
- The Pekin Park District will receive a $2,500 grant for the Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project. This project focuses on invasive species control and restoration along the Lick Creek corridor of McNaughton Park. Volunteers will be trained to remove invasive species along 15 acres of the Lick Creek Corridor.
Indiana American Water is issuing four grants totaling more than $10,000 to the following organizations:
- Schmidt Park Rain Garden & Nature Scape Project: The City of Franklin is partnering with several Johnson County organizations to create a rain garden Nature Scape project at Robert C. Schmidt Park. The project will involve the construction of a demonstration project that promotes the use of rain garden type bio-swales as a method of storing and treating storm water runoff. The project will also include an education component that includes signage and displays at the project site.
- Wildcat Experience Expansion: Funds from the grant will help expand the Wildcat Experience, an interactive field trip on the Wildcat Creek involving students and water resource professionals, to include all Howard County freshmen high school students. The event has previously been offered only to freshmen taking biology and environmental science classes.
- Reduce, Rehydrate and Educate Project: The Muncie Sanitary District is partnering with Muncie Central High School and the Buley Community Center to install bottle-filling stations and to develop an educational program that encourages the reduction of disposable plastic water waste, good hydration, and educates youth about local water resource issues.
- Biotic Water Quality Testing at Mulvey Pond & Bachner Nature Preserve: In order to better understand water quality and introduce watershed stewardship to the local community, NICHES will be conducting macro-invertebrate sampling at Mulvey Pond in West Lafayette and Bachner Nature Preserve located southwest of Crawfordsville, Ind. The testing, which will be done over a period of time, will be used to measure the effects of watershed clean-up and habitat restoration efforts on the native habitat.
Iowa American Water is issuing four grants totaling $8,200 to the following organizations:
- City of Bettendorf will be awarded $4,000 for its Hopewell Storm Water Pond Water Quality Improvement Program.Water samples will be collected from the stream entering from the watershed and at the overflow structure. Samples will be tested for nitrate levels with the goal of significant reduction as water passes through the pond and continues through the watershed. Nitrate concentration is expected to decrease by 75 percent or more.
- Nahant Marsh Education Center will be awarded $2,000 for its Sedge Meadow Restoration and Enhancement project. Nahant Marsh staff and volunteers will survey 7.5 acres of Sedge Meadows. A variety of methods will be used to reduce invasive species cover, and native plants will be re-introduced. Volunteers will assist in monitoring and managing the site.
- Keep Scott County Beautiful will be awarded $1,700 for its Xstream Cleanup 2016.Xstream Cleanup (XC) is an annual Quad-City wide cleanup of the Mississippi River. This year XC will grow larger thanks to a new format that includes more cleanups scheduled throughout the year. Since 2004, XC volunteers have removed nearly 1 million pounds of debris from area waterways and provided more than 44,000 hours of volunteer labor.
- Clinton High School Chemistry Department will be awarded a $500 grant for its “Investigating Dangerous Chemicals in our Watershed” project.Students in a Clinton High School chemistry class have taken a keen interest in testing for the chemicals in the local watershed that could potentially contaminate their drinking water. The grant will help purchase supplies necessary for student monitoring and testing.
Kentucky American Water is issuing three grants totaling $11,300 to the following organizations:
- Data Driven Clean Water, coordinated by the Licking River Watershed Watch in partnership with Friends of Stoner Creek, Strodes Creek Conservancy, Kentucky Division of Water, Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Fouser Environmental will receive $3,500 for a project that will involve monitoring water quality for E. coli and nutrients in the Licking River Watershed.
- Riparian vegetation showcase on Wolf Run at Clays Mill Road, coordinated by Friends of Parks in Fayette County, in partnership with Friends of Wolf Run, Bluegrass Woodland Restoration Center, Fayette County Public Schools and Good Foods Co-op will receive a $5,000 grant. The project will involve removing alien weeds and planting native species in former residential lots that have been acquired by the city of Lexington using FEMA funds, and now converted to riparian greenways after the removal of all structures.
- Bourbon County Tire Removal and Tree Planting, coordinated by Friends of Stoner Creek in partnership with Bourbon County Road Department, Bourbon County Boy Scouts, Bourbon County Extension Agency, Future Farmers of America – Bourbon County, and 4-H Bourbon County, will continue efforts to remove tires from Stoner Creek and its tributaries and plant trees along the same, in order to improve water quality. Stoner Creek is the source of water for the City of Paris and Millersburg. The grant award is $2,800.
Missouri American Water is issuing five grants totaling $20,600 to the following organizations:
- The Open Space Council, located in St. Louis, will use funds to organize a volunteer clean-up event in Arnold, MO. to remove debris from the flooding of the Meramec River in December of 2015.
- Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, in Joplin, will use funds for the annual “Shoal Creek Water Festival” bringing awareness to the need to protect Shoal Creek as it is Joplin’s main source of drinking water.
- Missouri River Relief for the “Big Muddy Home Waters” clean-up will use its funds to organize community based clean-ups of trash from the Missouri River in Cole, Callaway and Boone Counties.
- The Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition will use the grant to launch “Paddle Missouri,” a 100-mile journey to inspire, educate and strengthen the participants’ understanding of roles the Missouri River plays in our state.
- The St. Joseph Youth Alliance will use funds for their annual prescription drug drop-off disposal program.
New Jersey American Water is issuing three grants totaling $24,500 to the following organizations:
- Berkeley Heights Public Schools has been awarded $4,500 to build a rain garden at Columbia Middle School with the potential to catch nearly 6,000 gallons of water in a typical rain storm. The project will also educate citizens on building their own rain gardens.
- The New Jersey Tree Foundation, Inc. will receive $10,000 to reforest schools in Plainfield. As much as 240 square feet of concrete will be replaced with approximately 30 trees, which will improve the sustainability of the Raritan Watershed. The foundation estimates the trees could filter up to 23,650 gallons of storm water in the first year of the project.
- Gibbsboro Community Garden Project has been granted $10,000 to create an organic, sustainable community garden at Pole Hill Park in the Borough of Gibbsboro. The garden will also serve as an education facility that will offer courses on chemical-free gardening to local residents, school groups and seniors.
Pennsylvania American Water is issuing seven grants totaling nearly $35,000 to the following organizations:
- Armstrong Conservation District in Armstrong County will use its grant to develop a website and outreach program that uses GPS technology and geocaching to draw geocache seekers to local watershed improvement projects. The program is designed to highlight best management practices among watershed restoration and protection projects.
- Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania in Butler County will host a workshop for local municipalities to receive hands-on training on the installation of a rain garden at a community park. When completed, the rain garden will not only improve the health of the Connoquenessing Creek but also serve as a model for local residents.
- Berks Nature in Berks County will use its grant to provide hands-on environmental education for students at Wilson West Middle School. The project includes developing an outdoor learning environment where students will learn about the watershed, drinking water supplies and stormwater issues while also conducting water testing and data collection.
- Lacawac Sanctuary in Wayne County will develop a water resource program for fourth-grade classes in Luzerne County that will educate students on the importance of watersheds and how to protect water sources.
- Lawrence County Conservation District will develop two youth nature camps to connect local children to the environment through hands-on lessons, activities and crafts.
- Lehman Sanctuary in Luzerne County will fund the building of a field station within the Huntsville Reservoir watershed to enable environmental education programs for students, in addition to helping naturalists and educators conduct research and teaching opportunities.
- Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper in Union County will use the funding to develop a best practices manual for planning and measuring stream clean-up projects, as well as provide training via webinars for watershed associations and environmental organizations, and a webpage to house the manual and a calendar of clean-up projects. The project also includes plans to develop a children's book about taking care of the river.
Tennessee American Water is issuing three grants totaling $8,750 to the following organizations:
- Lookout Mountain Conservancy for their water quality project in coordination with The Howard School students.
- Tennessee River Gorge Trust to expand their water quality monitoring and offer community education.
- Hamilton County Coalition for their project with educating the community on proper medication disposal through Drug Take Back community events and youth involvement.
West Virginia American Water is issuing six grants totaling $10,000 to the following organizations:
- Capitol Conservation District is receiving $2,500 for their Soil Tunnel Trailer.
- Davis Creek Watershed Association will receive $1,750 to purchase data loggers to monitor water quality.
- Ernie Nester Chapter Trout Unlimited is using its$650 grant for temperature monitoring in Davis Creek and Trace Fork.
- Marshall University will use its $1,400 grant for the Creek Geek watershed education program.
- Morris Creek Watershed Association is receiving $1,700 for Japanese Knotweed eradication.
- Spruce Fork Community Advisory Panel is being granted $2,000 for the Rockhouse Lake revitalization project.
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. Marking its 130th anniversary this year, the company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.