DALLAS -- Today, the Middle Rio Grande, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the city of Albuquerque received national attention from a multi-federal agency partnership addressing urban waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will co-lead a team of federal partners towards a conservation initiative, a restoration project, and a pilot program for storm water permits in the Middle Rio Grande Region.
The partnership also includes a sustainability project with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation that has put resources towards the Bridge Boulevard Corridor Redevelopment Plan. This project identifies areas for redevelopment to transform Bridge Boulevard into a mixed-use, pedestrian and transit friendly corridor that honors and maintains the unique history and character of the community.
Additionally, EPA is announcing the Urban Waters Small Grant award for $60,000 to the Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District. Educating communities affected by drought about green infrastructure is valuable. In partnership with Albuquerque area schools, the grant will focus on environmental education and community outreach about storm water management and green infrastructure practices in the Middle Rio Grande Region to promote groundwater infiltration and storage.
“What better place to begin a new partnership for urban waters than the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the first of its kind in an urban area,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “We are looking forward to working with our federal partners to bolster the Albuquerque metropolitan area with a variety of projects aimed at restoring urban waters in the region.”
'The Urban Waters Federal Partnership continues a joint effort started with the local community and our sister agencies to establish an urban refuge - the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge,' said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Regional Director. 'The Urban Waters designation will enable us to continue to move forward with our vision to enhance the quality of life here, while providing greater conservation to our natural resources.'
'The protection and revitalization of rivers and watersheds in urban areas not only demonstrates this administration's commitment to improving public health and restoring natural resources in urban communities, but also helps beautify and increase property values in neighborhoods that are being developed or revitalized close to urban rivers,' said HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones.
'The Corps is excited to be a part of this partnership that will raise awareness of the river ecosystem here in Albuquerque,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, Lieutenant Colonel Antoinette R. Gant. “This partnership could allow connections between agency efforts that may not have developed otherwise.'
Nationwide, the EPA, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of the Interior, HUD and other federal partners are announcing 11 new locations for the Urban Waters Federal Partnership to restore waterways, help local economies, create jobs and protect Americans’ health. Through the partnership, agencies are working to revitalize urban waterways and communities that surround them, transforming overlooked assets and driving urban revival.
For more information on Urban Waters: http://www.urbanwaters.gov