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News Releases from Region 01

Two Mass. Groups Awarded $120,000 for Revitalization Efforts on Mystic and Connecticut Rivers

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - The Mystic and Connecticut rivers in Massachusetts will benefit from $60,000 each awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help protect and restore urban waters and support community revitalization and other local priorities. 

The Mystic River Watershed Association and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Holyoke were among 22 organizations in 18 states to receive a total of $1.3 million in EPA Urban Waters Small Grants.

The Mystic River Watershed Association will work with the surrounding community to create a multimedia education program to increase awareness of stormwater pollution for surrounding communities. It also will partner with non-profit organizations to work with youth in Chelsea and Somerville. Hands-on activities may include sampling stormwater; storm-drain stenciling and a social media campaign to increase awareness of stormwater issues. This group previously received a $60,000 EPA Urban Waters Small Grant two years ago.

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will develop a green infrastructure plan for Day Brook in Holyoke to reduce stormwater flow into the brook and resulting combined sewer overflow discharges into the Connecticut River. They will work in partnership with the Holyoke Conservation Commission, the Holyoke Department of Public Works, Holyoke Community College, and the Enchanted Circle Theater Group. Students from nearby schools take part through activities that educate them about stormwater and Day Brook as well as green infrastructure.

"These EPA grants will help Holyoke, Chelsea and Somerville reduce pollution in their streams and rivers, and help reconnect people and businesses with the water they depend on," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA's New England office.

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 enhance economic, educational, recreational, and social opportunities in surrounding communities. 

This year's Urban Waters grantees will inform and engage residents in stormwater management and pursue community-based plans to address pollution in waterways. To accomplish these goals, many projects will address trash in waterways; test rivers, streams and lakes for pollutants; and prepare the next generation of environmental stewards for careers in the green economy.

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

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