“Urban waters especially have been degraded by habitat loss, stormwater runoff and trash,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Protecting the San Joaquin River allows city residents to enjoy the environmental and recreational benefits from their local waters and surrounding lands.”
Revive the San Joaquin Citizen’s Water Watch program will establish a citizen-based water quality monitoring and pollution prevention education program for the Fresno area. The program will develop regular water quality monitoring events at locations on the San Joaquin River. The city of Fresno’s boundary to the north is the meandering San Joaquin River, with nearly 15 miles of urban neighborhoods lining the river’s bluff.
This San Joaquin River protection program will educate landowners and the public about water quality impacts of contaminated stormwater. The Central Valley Water Quality Control Board’s Basin Plan for the river identifies stormwater as a concern for pesticides, oil, grease, heavy metals, nutrients, and treated wastewater discharges that may carry pharmaceuticals and other compounds that degrade water quality.
EPA considers the San Joaquin Valley as a priority area for environmental improvements. EPA is the lead federal agency for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative for Fresno. The Obama Administration launched the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative last year as a customized pilot program to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities, while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used efficiently. Fresno is one of six cities nationwide chosen for the program.
The $2.7 million in funding is part of EPA’s Urban Waters program with grants ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico. The projects will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.
Urban waters can be canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. 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 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.
The partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the White House’s place‐based 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 grant recipients, visit http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding
Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/index.html
Information on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership: http://urbanwaters.gov/