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Five Star Urban Waters Grants Awarded to Openlands in Chicago

With support from EPA, community-led projects will restore urban waters and streams, address water quality in priority watersheds

08/09/2018
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)
312-353-5069

[WASHINGTON] (August 9, 2018) – Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a grant to Openlands for a project to improve Chicago Public Schoolyards.

Space to Grow (STG) transforms Chicago Public Schoolyards into centers of school and community life that support active and healthy lifestyles, outdoor learning, physical education and engagement with the environment, while addressing neighborhood flooding and combined sewer overflow issues using green stormwater infrastructure.

Openlands is receiving a total grant amount of $50,000 to support the transformation of six new Space to Grow schoolyards, which will retain at least 900,000 gallons of stormwater, restore 6.1 acres, remove 250,000 square feet of impermeable surface, plant 140 trees, and directly benefit 3,200 people, including students, teachers, parents and community members.

The Openlands grant was 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.

The grant is awarded through the NFWF’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program which support 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 major 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.”

"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 2018 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 250 applications. A full list of 2018 projects is available here: http://www.nfwf.org/fivestar/Documents/2018grantslate.pdf.

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