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U.S. EPA Awards $115,000 for Revitalization and Education Projects in the Los Angeles River Watershed

Release Date: 07/17/2014
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan,, 415.947.4149

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it is awarding nearly $115,000 to two Southern California projects that will help improve water quality, educate local youth, and support community revitalization within the Los Angeles River watershed. The funding comes from EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports communities in their efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. A total of $2.08 million is being given nationwide to 36 organizations in 17 states and Puerto Rico.

“Historically, many urban waterways have suffered from high levels of pollution and weren’t easily accessible,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Projects like these help communities reconnect to their local rivers and streams which have so much economic, educational and recreation potential.”

The University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will was awarded $59,965 to develop a better understanding of the sources of potential water pollution in Compton Creek, part of the LA River watershed. In partnership with the Los Angeles Waterkeeper organization, UCLA students will conduct neighborhood assessments of pollutant sources using data from on-the-ground surveys, aerial photography, online research and other monitoring efforts. In addition, the project will develop a teaching curriculum for high school students focused on understanding pollutant sources and generating strategies for addressing pollution.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) was awarded $55,021 to work on its Safe Routes to the River - River Ambassadors project, an education and engagement program for communities adjacent to the Los Angeles River. MRCA will use the funding to train local youth as “river ambassadors.” Ambassadors will learn about river ecology, the use of green infrastructure to improve water quality and other topics. They will also conduct outreach to local communities and schools on topics such as water quality awareness, community greening and recreational opportunities along the river.

EPA is awarding grants for projects associated with the 18 designated Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a partnership of 14 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts.

Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Development has often walled off these waterways from nearby communities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance economic, educational, recreational and social opportunities in nearby communities. By reconnecting communities to their local urban waters, EPA aims to help communities to actively participate in restoring urban waters while improving their neighborhoods.

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program:

Information on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership:

To view a list of the selected projects that will be funded, visit