Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Region 10 News Release: Five urban water protection efforts in Pacific Northwest and Alaska selected for EPA funding

Five urban water protection efforts in Pacific Northwest and Alaska selected for EPA funding

Two public events scheduled this week to announce the projects

Contact: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454,

(Seattle – June 26, 2012) Five efforts to protect water in urban areas of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska will share a combined total of over $252,000 thanks to funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Urban Waters Program. The projects include creating greener municipal streets in Corvallis, Oregon, restoring downtown streams in Anchorage, Alaska and helping a Port Townsend, Washington museum launch a campaign that expands understanding of pollution pathways to Puget Sound.

The funding comes from the EPA Urban Waters Program, which supports communities in their efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters can be canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. Across the country, EPA awarded $2.7 million to 46 organizations in 32 states for urban water initiatives.

EPA officials will attend two events this week in Oregon and Washington to announce the following awards and congratulate the grantees:

  •  The first event is at the Port Townsend Marine Science Museum at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, June 27th in Port Townsend, Washington. Christine Pysk, Deputy Associate Director, EPA Region 10 Office of Water and Watersheds, will participate for EPA.
  • The second event is from 1:30 – 2:30pm, at the Madison Avenue Meeting Room (500 Madison Avenue, at the corner of Madison and 5th street) in the City of Corvallis, Oregon. In a combined program, Tony Barber, EPA Oregon State Director, will announce three awards to the City of Corvallis Urban Waters Team; the Lower Rogue Watershed Council; and the Water Quality Monitoring project in the City of Florence, Oregon. Shawn Penrod from the City of Florence and Kelly Sparks, the Watershed Council Coordinator for the Lower Rogue Watershed Council, will also attend.

The additional grants in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are:

Anchorage School District - $30,280

Contact: Bev Thornburg, Anchorage School District, (907) 742-4471

The Chester Creek Community Revitalization Project connects middle school students with the neighboring community and partnering agencies to monitor and restore the water quality of Chester Creek, an important Alaskan watershed and urban stream in Anchorage, Alaska. Begich Middle School serves the Muldoon neighborhood, a densely populated, low-income area with significant stream degradation. The project includes Begich students’ participation in providing water quality and riparian monitoring data for stream restoration and habitat improvement.

City of Corvallis - $45,620

Contact: Iris Benson, City of Corvallis – (541)766-6916

The City of Corvallis will conduct a comprehensive planning effort for green streets as a mechanism to treat storm water, develop alternative transportation routes, expand urban green space, and improve community health. Green streets collect non-point source pollution from city streets through filtration, detention, and evaporation of storm water runoff before it enters into the Willamette River and the city’s urban streams.

Lower Rogue Watershed Council - $59,400 (through) Curry Soil & Water Conservation Dist.

Contact: Liesl Coleman, Manager, Curry Soil & Water Conservation District, 541-247-2755 or Kelly Sparks, Coordinator, Lower Rogue River Watershed Council, 541-247-2755 ext 4#

The project will produce a scientific assessment of the Rogue Estuary that includes historic and current conditions, an analysis of limiting factors, areas for restoration, enhancement, and conservation, and recommendations for projects. The funding also supports education and engagement of the local community with a continuing education class at the local community college, with a sub-set of students trained to collect water quality and related data appropriate for volunteer sampling. The project will support water and environmental quality monitoring.

Finally, it will support an estuary team comprised of community and agency individuals who will use the assessments to develop a community-driven restoration plan for the Rogue Estuary.

Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) - $56,848

Contact: Liesl Slabaugh - PTMSM - -(360)385-5582, ext.101

The Port Townsend Marine Science Society will collect data that will expand understanding of the various pathways and fates of toxic pollution in Puget Sound. The project will create a new, permanent, educational and interactive exhibit at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center with the theme "Toxics in the Marine Environment." Local volunteers will assist with designing the exhibit by participating in focus groups. Local volunteers will also collect roof run-off samples from 25 homes in the Port Townsend and Seattle areas for lab analysis against a panel of approximately 100 toxic compounds. This research will fill data gaps on toxics in roof run-off and help inform and influence the development of water restoration techniques, such as rain gardens. Volunteers will have the opportunity to collect tissue samples from deceased seals that will be analyzed for toxic chemicals and phthalates.

City of Florence - $60,000

Contact: Mike Miller, Public Works Director, City of Florence, 541-997-5822

The City of Florence, with an urban area population of over 8,400, will use this grant to continue the EPA-funded Siuslaw Estuary Partnership Surface- and Groundwater Monitoring Program for an additional two years. This grant will continue work to protect the North Florence Sole Source Dunal Aquifer and to protect and improve water quality in Munsel and Ackerley Creeks and the Siuslaw River, classified as an impaired water body.

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, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoration and protection.

To see the national press release announcing the initiative and for a list of projects across the country, visit:!OpenDocument

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program:

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