BALTIMORE — A new federal partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), a federal union comprised of 11 agencies, will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations: the Patapsco Watershed (Maryland), the Anacostia Watershed (Washington, D.C./Maryland), the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York), the South Platte River in Denver (Colorado), the Los Angeles River Watershed (California), the Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans), and the Northwest Indiana Area. Each of the pilot locations already has a strong restoration effort underway, spearheaded by local governments and community organizations. Lessons learned from these pilot locations will be transferred to other cities in the country.
Led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and coordinated by the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the other White House place-based efforts such as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities by revitalizing communities, creating jobs, and improving the qualities of life in cities and towns across the nation. The partnership also supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative aimed at making the federal government a better partner with communities that are working to provide safe, healthy, and accessible outdoor spaces.
“There is a range of health and environmental challenges facing our urban waters today — but each challenge is matched by an incredible opportunity to transform distressed urban waterfronts into centerpieces for community revitalization,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Urban waters have the potential to support healthy environments, growing business, and educational and recreational activities. By bringing together the experience and expertise of multiple federal partners, we have a chance to reconnect local residents, young people and community groups with the environmental resources all around them.”
“Water is the lifeblood of our communities and we must care for our watersheds and urban waterways around the nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. ”Through this partnership and President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Interior is committed to increasing public access to river resources, helping restore and protect habitat and wildlife, educating and employing our youth, and assessing and helping safeguard water quality.”
“The partnership offers an opportunity to realize urban waterway and watershed revitalization goals that are larger than, and beyond the resources of any individual community, agency, or mission. We can deliver solutions to help urban communities enjoy and prosper from healthy waters through collaboration with other agencies and the communities we collectively serve, said Ms. Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, one of the initiative’s 11 federal partners, “The Department of the Army for Civil Works is committed to the vision, mission, and principles of this partnership. We are ready to assist in securing more vibrant and sustainable urban waters.”
For more information, visit www.urbanwaters.gov.