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News Releases from Region 04

Five Star Urban Water Grant Awarded to Northwest Florida State College Foundation, Inc.

Community-led projects supported by EPA will restore urban waters and streams, improve water quality in priority watersheds

08/10/2018
Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (harris-young.dawn@epa.gov)
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA (August 10, 2018) – Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $40,000 grant to Northwest Florida State College Foundation, Inc. The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance of Northwest Florida State College (CBA) will restore two additional acres of oyster habitat in Choctawhatchee Bay, an estuary found in Okaloosa and Walton Counties of Northwest Florida with community involvement.

"These grants will support projects that help communities improve local water quality and restore degraded wetlands and streams, both of which are critical for a healthy environment and strong economy," said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By working alongside our public and private partners, we can encourage community stewardship and incentivize innovative solutions to address today’s environmental and public health challenges.”

The Foundation’s grant is among 59 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants awarded, totaling $2.2 million to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Grantees have committed an additional $5.2 million in local project support, generating a total conservation impact of more than $7.4 million.

“EPA is proud to support community-led projects in Florida that will help address environmental needs and challenges in priority watersheds,” said Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn. Work by grant awardees is essential to restoring these important ecosystems and improving the quality of our lakes, rivers and streams.”

The grants are awarded through the NFWF’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program which supports projects that develop community stewardship of natural resources and address water quality issues in priority watersheds across the country. Support for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and funding by EPA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.

 “The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program generates measurable results for wildlife and communities across the nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 59 grants announced today will help communities improve water quality and support wildlife through a variety of conservation efforts, from the removal of invasive species and planting of native vegetation to the reduction of stormwater runoff and creation of wetlands.”

“The Choctawhatchee Bay is the heart of our community, not only its environment but its economy as well,” said Director Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance & South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College Alison McDowell. “By restoring oyster habitat with partners from across the watershed, we will not only improve water quality but will also inspire the next generation of coastal stewards."

The 2018 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 250 applications. A full list of 2018 projects is available here.

Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported more than 945 projects, with more than $11.9 million in federal funds, $10.6 million in private and corporate contributions, and $74.7 million in matching funds at the local level.

For more information about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program, visit https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaterspartners/five-star-and-urban-waters-restoration-grant-program-2018