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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards Los Angeles organizations almost $120,000 to educate students on improving local water quality

$1.3 million awarded nationwide to restore urban waters, revitalize communities

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

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $1.3 million to 22 organizations in 18 states to help protect and restore urban waters, and to support community revitalization. Of that funding, two Los Angeles organizations will receive nearly $120,000 for projects to educate students on improving water quality in the community.

“It is important to continue educating the next generation on the importance of protecting our local waterways,” said Tomás Torres, EPA’s Water Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s grants will help protect urban waters and the health of the communities they serve.” 

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 engage residents in stormwater management and pollution reduction in waterways. To accomplish these goals, many projects will test rivers, streams and lakes for pollutants, address trash in waterways, and prepare the next generation of environmental stewards for careers in the green economy.

Constitutional Rights Foundation received $59,673 to partner with Los Angeles Waterkeeper and UCLA to expand the teaching curriculum for local underserved high school students. Student-collected trash and industrial stormwater pollution data will support engagement opportunities for environmental improvements in the community. A range of STEM-related skills, including geo-referenced field data collection, mapping, and statistical analysis, will be taught in the field, while classroom lessons will provide background in earth sciences, chemistry and biology, clean water regulations, and civic action.  UCLA will provide seniors in its Environmental Sciences bachelors program to serve as mentors and role models for college-aspiring high school participants.

Heal the Bay was awarded $59,998 to partner with Los Angeles Trade Technical College and local high schools to monitor bacterial water pollution in recreational zones of the Los Angeles River. Job training will be provided to students in the areas of water quality monitoring, education and outreach on urban watershed issues, sources and impacts of runoff pollution, and how to improve water quality. Water quality data will be made available to the public and results of the study will be used to make recommendations to local agencies and stakeholders to improve water quality and protect public health.

A third grant in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, for $58,227, went to Arizona State University to work with students and Girl Scouts troops to monitor water quality in local waterways and recreational fisheries to develop recommendations for community- based solutions.

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 Urban Waters Small Grants to 114 organizations across the country, and with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.

To learn more about funded projects, visit https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/urban-waters-small-grants   

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters