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News Releases from Region 09

EPA Helps Two California Communities Meet Sustainability Goals, Develop Flood Resilience

Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that 22 communities will receive technical assistance for efforts supporting smart growth, sustainability and local economic development. In California, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will receive assistance for flood resiliency planning; and California State University, Fresno will receive assistance in the development of a bikeshare system

EPA selected this year's recipients from among 121 applicants to the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. EPA staff and national experts will conduct one- to two-day workshops in the communities that focus on the specific sustainability tool each community requested in its application to EPA.

"This EPA program is a critical step in helping both Fresno and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians plan more sustainable futures," Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Whether it's building more bike-friendly cities or improving resilience to flooding, these efforts create healthier, more vibrant communities."

In Fresno, EPA will provide tools necessary for establishing a bikeshare program. The workshop will focus on feasibility, system planning, business plans, system operations and health, safety and social equity.

EPA will provide the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, located in Santa Barbara County, with tools to help this coastal community adapt to climate change and plan for disaster resilience by auditing local plans, policies, and development regulations. The workshop will help this community and others selected today to identify approaches to becoming more resilient to flooding.

Nationally, the agency is offering five tools this year: Bikeshare Planning, Equitable Development, Infill Development for Distressed Cities, Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas, and Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities. EPA selected communities located in 18 states including Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Mobile, Ala.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Terre Haute, Ind.

Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has provided assistance to 130 communities in 41 states. As a result of this assistance, community groups, local governments, and tribal governments across the nation have increased their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, prepare for the effects of climate change, and improve overall quality of life.

EPA will conduct these workshops in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Through the Partnership, EPA, HUD, and DOT work together to coordinate investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

More information on the Building Blocks program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html