News Releases from Region 10
EPA Awards Grants to Lummi Indian Nation and The Lands Council for Environmental Education and Green Jobs Training
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants to the Lummi Indian Business Council, in Bellingham, Washington and The Lands Council in Spokane, Washington to provide watershed science education and environmental job training. The funds were awarded through EPA’s Urban Waters grants program to help residents and organizations in underserved communities restore their local waterways in ways that also benefit their community and local economy.
“Many communities and especially youth can face disproportionate impacts from pollution, but they lack the resources to do something about it,” said Dan Opalski, Director of EPA’s Region 10 Office of Water and Watersheds. “EPA’s support to the Lummi Nation and The Lands Council will help them empower these communities to restore the health of their local waterways and enhance their educational and economic opportunities.”
The Lummi Indian Business Council received a $56,433 grant to teach 5th grade students at the Lummi Nation School in Bellingham about their watershed, how to measure water quality, and about stormwater pollution. Students will learn how water quality impacts the salmon and shellfish that the Lummi Nation depends on for subsistence, economic and cultural needs. The project aims to engage students in long-term active stewardship through lessons and hands-on activities including building a watershed model, conducting stormwater structure surveys on school grounds, and planting trees.
“An abundant supply of clean water is critical to our Shelangen (“way of life”) and our identity as the Lhaq’temish, the salmon people”, said Merle Jefferson, Executive Director of Lummi Natural Resources. “This education program will help ensure that our children, who will be our next generation of leaders and decision makers, are equipped to protect, restore and promote into perpetuity the health of the water resources our community relies upon for survival.”
The Lands Council of Washington received a $45,250 grant to provide green jobs training through its Green Sleeves program to incarcerated offenders at the Geiger Correctional Center in Spokane. Using environmental science curriculum specifically designed for incarcerated populations, Lands Council staff will teach environmental literacy and job skills focusing on stormwater pollution and low-impact remediation in the Spokane River watershed. Incarcerated offenders help care for a native plant nursery on-site and join Lands Council staff in the field to plant and maintain stream-side and urban forest areas.
“We are pleased to be able to continue working with Geiger Correctional Center on this exceptional green jobs training program,” said Amanda Parrish, Watershed Program Director for The Lands Council. “This year, we are excited to be able to expand this program to help inmates complete their training after release and ensure they are well prepared to connect with local environmental employers.”
EPA’s Urban Waters Small Grants program funds projects throughout the U.S. that protect and restore urban waters and support community revitalization. This year’s grants focused on projects to address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, with emphasis on underserved communities. The Urban Waters Small Grants are competed and awarded every two years. Since its inception in 2012, the program has awarded approximately $6.6 million in grants to 114 organizations across the country and Puerto Rico, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.
Learn more about Urban Waters Small Grants projects at: https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/urban-waters-small-grants.
More information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters.