EPA Launches New Tool to Highlight Green Infrastructure and Health in Proctor Creek Community in Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA (October 22, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with Proctor Creek residents and stakeholders, announced the launch of the Proctor Creek Watershed Story Map. The community-driven Story Map examines the proposed expansion of green infrastructure throughout the Proctor Creek watershed, evaluates the potential impacts of this expansion on environmental and public health, and highlights areas in the community that may benefit from green infrastructure practices.
“EPA is proud to work with the community to launch the Proctor Creek Story Map,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “This is an important tool for environmental education and is a resource the community can use for collaboration and creative solutions to restore their watershed. It is our hope that this tool will be duplicated in other waterways.”
"Proctor Creek residents and stakeholders informed and guided the development of the Proctor Creek Story Map. ECO-Action facilitated a process that maximized community engagement, ensuring that the Map addresses issues that are most relevant,” said Yomi, Noibi, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Environmental Community Action Inc. “I envision that the Proctor Creek Story Map will be useful and meaningful for local residents and the many partners seeking to protect, restore, and revitalize Proctor Creek for All people. It can also be used in many other watersheds as a training tool for green infrastructure and watershed protection."
The Proctor Creek Watershed Story Map is an easy-to-use interactive online tool that combines maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content to convey information as a story and inform and connect with viewers. The Story Map explores community-identified concerns, such as flooding and water quality, urban heat islands, mosquitoes, and health, and considers the potential for green infrastructure to address those concerns.
“This research effort is a great example of EPA partnering with our communities to inform and support local decision making that is protective of the environment and public health. The Story Map is accessible to the public and communicates science in a way that is transparent and understandable,” said Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science and EPA Science Advisor.
The Story Map will be used to help community members engage as stewards of their watershed. The tool provides information and resources that the community can use to (1) gain a better understanding of flooding, urban heat islands, mosquitoes, and green infrastructure and their impacts on health; (2) support efforts to address these issues within the watershed; (3) advocate for green infrastructure and health; and (4) help inform future decisions around green infrastructure, including areas in the Proctor Creek community that may benefit most from green infrastructure practices.
Proctor Creek is an impaired waterway that experiences several overlapping environmental issues. The watershed has been troubled by frequent flooding, erosion, stormwater runoff, and pollution from illegal dumping. In addition, sewer overflows from the city’s combined sewer system, which carries both sewage and rainwater, and its sanitary sewer system, designed to carry sewage only, have impacted the creek. EPA has a long-standing collaborative relationship in the Proctor Creek community working extensively with federal, state and local partners through the Urban Waters and Trash Free Waters Program. A central component of integrating these programs in the Proctor Creek Watershed has been to connect the surrounding neighborhoods with their urban water environment to promote healthy growth and economic opportunities.
To explore the history of Proctor Creek and learn more about the role green infrastructure can play in the community, visit the Proctor Creek Watershed Story Map: https://epa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=a9360889f36743269d8b0db3fd96ec6b.