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News Releases from Region 09

Five Star Urban Waters Grants Awarded to Projects in Southern California

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

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Alejandro Diaz (

LOS ANGELES – Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced grants to the Los Angeles Audubon Society and San Diego-based Outdoor Outreach to engage youth in habitat restoration projects.

The Los Angeles Audubon Society and Outdoor Outreach were two of 46 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants awarded this year, totaling $1.7 million, to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Grantees have committed an additional $4.4 million in local project support, generating a total conservation investment of more than $6.1 million. This program supports community partnerships that conserve wildlife and restore river, wetland, riparian, forest and coastal ecosystems.

“EPA is pleased to continue our support for this innovative public-private partnership that encourages community stewardship and incentivizes local solutions to today’s environmental and public health challenges,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These projects will help local communities improve water quality, restore wetlands and protect wildlife while creating additional recreational opportunities for the surrounding areas.”

“The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program supports community partnerships that restore and enhance our nation’s fish and wildlife, while at the same time improving water quality and habitat for plants and animals,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 46 grants announced today will help local communities thrive by increasing resilience, improving green infrastructure and supporting the people and wildlife that call these places home.”

“Our Southern California recipients have developed great projects to engage urban youth and volunteers in environmental stewardship efforts to restore and protect watersheds in their communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.

The Los Angeles Audubon Society will use grant funds to engage underserved youth and community volunteers in educational and habitat restoration activities throughout the Ballona Creek watershed from Culver City to where the creek discharges into the Santa Monica Bay. The project expects to reach 2,500 underserved youth and hundreds of community volunteers through environmental education programs and restoration of 2 acres of coastal sage scrub and 7.7 acres of beach habitat that will benefit wildlife and improve watershed health.

Outdoor Outreach will use grant funds to support 13 youth-led restoration and stewardship projects in 32 acres of designated National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent areas in San Diego. Work will include invasive species removal, reestablishment of native species and debris removal from beach and coastal habitats.

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 2019 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.

The 2019 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 190 applications. A full list of 2019 projects are available here.

Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported almost a thousand projects, with more than $12.8 million in federal funds, $11.3 million in private and corporate contributions, and $78.8 million in matching funds at the local level.

For more information about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program, visit

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