EPA Urban Waters Small Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Urban Waters Program aims to restore urban waters in ways that also benefit community and economic revitalization. With a focus on vulnerable populations and environmental justice, the EPA recognizes that healthy and accessible water in urban areas can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational, social and employment opportunities in local communities. The EPA will support projects and build partnerships with a variety of federal, state, tribal, and local partners that foster increased connection, understanding, and stewardship of local waterways through the Urban Waters Program.  

Since 2012 the program has awarded approximately $6.6 million in Urban Waters Small Grants to  114 organizations across the country and Puerto Rico. The grants are awarded every two years, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.

A focus on community development is central to the Urban Waters Small Grants Program. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District used an Urban Waters Small Grant to fund classroom education of middle school students about water quality and the benefits of urban green infrastructure. Also in Albuquerque, grants have been used to conduct student and community-based water quality monitoring events at the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge.

Funding was used by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to support a green infrastructure and water quality jobs training program, which included training inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System.

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is utilizing Urban Waters Small Grant funding to monitor the effectiveness of its green infrastructure installations. Under the Green Infrastructure Monitoring Project, data will be collected and analyzed to assess the effects of green infrastructure installations on the water quality of urban runoff at specific sites.

EPA maintains an online interactive map of the Urban Waters projects, that includes project descriptions: https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/what-communities-are-doing


Publication Date: 2012

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