EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has announced pilot projects to promote the cleanup and restoration of the following urban rivers: the Passaic River in New Jersey, the Gowanus Canal in New York, Fourche Creek in Arkansas, and City Creek in Utah.
"These rivers are invaluable resources," said EPA's Acting Administrator Marianne Lamont Horinko, "and these grants will help revitalize them, improving environmental and public health protection, and bringing new life to the cities they nourish."
"These projects also will enhance the economic life along these rivers," said Maj. Gen. Robert Griffin, Acting Director of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "They are excellent examples of successful integration of Corps and EPA activities and they represent a win-win solution to moving forward on advancing the cleanup of these valuable water resources."
The four pilot projects were announced by Ben Grumbles, Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Water; Fred Caver, Deputy Director of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Steve Luftig, EPA's Senior Advisor for Reuse Programs, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, at the Brownfields Showcase Community Research Summit in Washington, D.C.
This annual event provides a forum for leaders from the 28 Showcase Communities and 20 participating federal agencies to develop strategies that will continue to ensure successful local brownfields revitalization.
These projects were selected through a competitive process for their plans to emphasize partnerships among many organizations; promote collaboration within the watershed among businesses and the nonprofit community; and advance pollution prevention, water quality improvements, restoration of wildlife habitat and promote reuse.
The Passaic River is located in northeastern New Jersey, including Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic Counties; the Gowanus Canal is a highly developed urban area located in the Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York; Fourche Creek is located within the City of Little Rock, Arkansas, in Pulaski County; and City Creek/Gateway District is located within the City of Salt Lake City, Utah and is a tributary of the Jordan River.
EPA and the Corps signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July 2002 committing them to a partnership for restoration of degraded urban rivers. As part of this agreement, EPA and the Corps pledged to select eight demonstration pilot projects in FY 2003 demonstrating how coordinated government and private sector efforts can not only restore contaminated rivers but also revitalize urban environments.
In partnership with state and local governments, tribal authorities and private organizations, the projects are intended to focus on water quality improvement, cleanup of contaminated sediments and human and animal habitat restoration. The MOU aimed to better coordinate hazardous waste cleanup, water quality improvements and environmental restoration activities under the Clean Water Act, Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the various Water Resources Development Act authorities. The Water Resources Development Act authorizes the Corps' watershed restoration activities.
EPA and the Corps selected the first round of four pilots in April 2003: The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and Maryland; the Elizabeth River in Virginia; the Blackstone-Woonasquatucket Rivers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; and the Tres Rios River in Arizona. Today's announcement represents the second round of four projects.
EPA provides each pilot project $50,000.