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Urban Waters

2013/2014 Grant Recipients

2013/2014 Urban Waters Small Grants Competition


Through the 2013/2014 Urban Waters Small Grants competition, the Environmental Protection Agency selected 37 organizations to receive grants of $40,000 to $60,000 each, totaling approximately $2.1 million to support such projects. The funding is part of EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports communities in their efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Read full Urban Waters small grants competiton press release.

To strengthen and diversify the ongoing work in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership designated locations, the 2013/2014 Request for Proposal (RFP) had a geographic focus and aligned with these locations, known as eligible geographic areas. Organizations were eligible to apply if their project was within the eligible geographic areas. This competition also resulted in a collaboration between EPA’s Office of Water and Office of Children’s Health Protection.

EPA received over 90 proposals in response to this funding opportunity and gave full consideration to each applicant. Many noteworthy projects were reviewed. However, due to funding availability, not all noteworthy proposals were selected for a grant.

Read the Archived 2013/2014 Request for Proposals (RFP).

We encourage all applicants to join the Urban Waters Network, where members are notified about new funding opportunities, other available resources for local efforts, and success stories about communities reclaiming their urban waters. To join, please go to Urban Waters home ( and click on "Get Email Updates".

People sitting on a rock wall near a bridge  Three kids looking over a body of water with binoculars

On this page – Urban Waters Small Grants Selected Recipients by state:

The following organizations were selected for 2013/2014 Urban Waters Small Grants funding:


Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA)
Los Angeles River Watershed—Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, California
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) will continue to work on its River Ambassadors project, which is an education and engagement program for communities adjacent to the Los Angeles River. Future project work will include a series of training sessions led by MRCA naturalists. Participants will share their knowledge with their local community by creating outreach presentations and conducting river walks for local schools and communities. The project will conclude with the students giving presentations to staff, local officials, and project partner groups.

Award Amount: $55,021

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Los Angeles River Watershed—Los Angeles, California
In partnership with the Los Angeles Waterkeeper organization, the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will conduct neighborhood-scale assessments of industrial sources of pollutants to surface water using multiple data, including on-the-ground surveys, aerial photography, information from websites, and stormwater monitoring efforts. Working with a small group of UCLA students, the team will develop a better understanding of the sources of potential surface-water pollution to the Compton Creek Watershed. In addition, the team will develop and implement a teaching curriculum for high school students that is focused on gaining a better understanding of industrial stormwater pollution in the Los Angeles River and Compton Creek watersheds, and generating ideas for identifying solutions.

Award Amount: $59,965


Denver Department of Public Works, Wastewater Management
South Platte Watershed—Denver Metropolitan Area, Colorado
The Denver Department of Public Works, Wastewater Management, will continue and expand the Keep It Clean-Neighborhood Environmental Trios (KIC-NET) outdoor classroom model developed by environmental education nonprofit, Earth Force, in impaired South Platte River and tributary watersheds. The program is expected to help meet pollutant source mitigation needs to protect the South Platte River and Cherry Creek Watersheds while adding value to communities and schools.

Award Amount: $60,000

Groundwork Denver
South Platte Watershed—Denver and Sheridan, Colorado
Groundwork Denver will develop a Community Stewardship Network, which is expected to improve the water quality of and accessibility to the area surrounding Bear Creek. A key component of this project is the Master River Steward Job Training program, which will engage youth from Denver and Sheridan. These stewards will participate in water quality sampling and engage the broader community through education, outreach, stewardship activities, and recreation activities in the watershed. Outputs—including job training hours, water quality samples collected, households and businesses reached, volunteer hours, and stakeholders joining a Community Stewardship Network—will be tracked.

Award Amount: $60,000


Clean Air Council
Delaware River Basin—Wilmington, Delaware
The Clean Air Council will develop and implement a green infrastructure plan to address chronic flooding in the economically disadvantaged Southbridge neighborhood of South Wilmington, Delaware. As part of this project, community members will identify and determine the green policies and infrastructure improvements they would like to incorporate into the neighborhood plan to reduce stormwater runoff and damage.

Award Amount: $58,106

Wilderness Inquiry, Inc.
Delaware River Basin—Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware
Wilderness Inquiry, Inc., will create opportunities for minority and underserved youth to experience, enjoy, and learn about the Delaware River and its tributaries. A main program component is the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile. The Canoemobile is a roving fleet of six 24-foot, 10-passenger Voyageur canoes, staffed by seven highly trained outdoor educators. The Canoemobile will spend three days in each of the four cities (Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Camden, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware) where 2,400 underserved school children will paddle the Delaware River or a major tributary, learn about the watershed and their community, and collect water samples for analysis and study.

Award Amount: $59,333

District of Columbia

Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region
Anacostia Watershed—Washington, DC
Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region will engage the third and fifth graders at Watkins Elementary School, located in Washington, D.C., in a comprehensive, hands-on environmental education program during the 2014-2015 school year. The Urban Water Watchers program will consist of three in-class watershed ecology and water quality lessons, a shipboard experience on the Anacostia River aboard the Living Classrooms’ educational vessel, and a recreational boating experience on the Anacostia River using canoes and kayaks.

Award Amount: $52,062

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
Anacostia Watershed—Washington, DC
Through its Citizen Scientist Project, the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum will engage at-risk high school students in water quality monitoring activities throughout Watts Branch, a tributary to the main basin of the Anacostia Watershed. In addition, the museum will schedule community outreach presentations to discuss the results of these monitoring activities and educate the community on the water quality conditions of the tributary and any associated health effects.

Award Amount: $60,000


Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.
Proctor Creek Watershed—Atlanta, Georgia
The Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., will provide a replicable blueprint for pollutant load reduction crediting by developing a cost-effective approach to clean urban waters that integrates community-based water monitoring. A stakeholder group will be convened to vet the approach, which is expected to provide significant and quantifiable pollutant reduction to the Proctor Creek watershed in Atlanta. The project team includes the City of Atlanta, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.

Award Amount: $59,943

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Inc.
Proctor Creek Watershed—Atlanta, Georgia
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Inc., (CRK) will work with a wide range of partners to engage Proctor Creek Watershed residents to achieve measureable water quality improvements within Proctor Creek and its watershed. CRK will expand its Neighborhood Water Watch Program, in which the community will take an active role in identifying and resolving major pollution problems in the Proctor Creek Watershed. CRK also will implement a water quality education and community organizing initiative where citizens will collect water samples from dozens of locations throughout the watershed and conduct assessments of the collection sites. Samples will be returned to a central lab site where a variety of water quality parameters will be measured. The data will be summarized and mapped; participants will be taught how to interpret results.

Award Amount: $60,000

Environmental Community Action, Inc.
Proctor Creek Watershed—Atlanta, Georgia
Environmental Community Action, Inc.’s Green Infrastructure Initiative will create a comprehensive “Vision for Action” to reduce flooding and improve water quality in Proctor Creek while revitalizing adjacent low-income neighborhoods. This initiative focuses on the higher-elevation Atlanta University Center (AUC) campuses, which are the sources of much of the contaminated runoff. The project will bring academics together with leaders of underserved communities to better understand the extent and impact of sewage and stormwater flows from the higher-elevation Atlanta University Center campuses on the downstream residential communities.

Award Amount: $60,000


Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
Northwest Indiana Area—Northwest Indiana
The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission will engage community members by establishing a volunteer stream monitoring network in the Little Calumet-Galien sub-basin. In addition to basic water quality parameters, stream staff gauges will be installed so that volunteers can capture flow information to assist with load calculations. The information gathered will be used to support local watershed management planning and implementation efforts and raise awareness of urban water quality issues.

Award Amount: $60,000

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Bayou Land Resource Conservation and Development Council
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
The Bayou Land Resource Conservation and Development Council will evaluate the impact of green infrastructure on mosquito breeding and surface water quality in the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods (“Pontilly”) neighborhoods. The purpose of the project is to ensure that areas where green infrastructure has been constructed are draining properly and thereby preventing mosquito breeding habitats during rain events. The project team will train and work hand-in-hand with local student interns to conduct enhanced mosquito surveillance, and water quantity and quality monitoring in areas where stormwater mitigation programs have been implemented, specifically within the Pontilly project area.

Award Amount: $59,600

Global Green USA
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
Global Green USA will conduct neighborhood workshops that introduce cost-effective, do-it-yourself stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that can be implemented on homeowners’ lots by the homeowners themselves and organized tours of sites that showcase watershed protection and management through green infrastructure. The tours will provide community members with visual examples of BMPs, some of which are mentioned in the city’s recently established Urban Waters Management Plan.

Award Amount: $46,884

Groundwork New Orleans
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
Groundwork New Orleans (GWNO) will expand its Green Slice project for continued interdisciplinary development and experiential learning and research within the community and at the Dr. King School. GWNO will involve local governments, stakeholders and partners, and members of the neighborhood—predominantly youths—in green infrastructure design, job training, and skills building. The team’s involvement will enhance the ability of leading stakeholders to address local economic, educational, and recreational needs while improving storm resiliency, addressing water quality issues, and restoring damaged ecosystems and infrastructure.

Award Amount: $60,000

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) will implement a project to accelerate the ongoing revitalization of three miles of New Orleans’ lakefront on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Restoring beach access would benefit nearby underserved minority and low-income communities. LPBF also proposes to create a “Guide to the Southshore Lakefront” to promote many types of safe recreation and tell the story of the lake’s recovery. As the growing Hispanic community is discovering the lakefront, new literature and signage will be in Spanish and English.

Award Amount: $60,000

Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
The Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) will implement a Green Infrastructure Monitoring Project in New Orleans’ Pontilly neighborhoods, which were deeply affected by Hurricane Katrina. The intent of this project is to conduct water quality monitoring in the Pontilly neighborhoods at fixed stations on a flow-stimulated basis. The project team has identified five sites in which to begin pre-construction baseline monitoring of urban runoff, and will continue monitoring at these sites for one year after green infrastructure is installed. The expected results are that the water quality will improve as the green infrastructure sites are implemented.

Award Amount: $60,000

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
Lake Pontchartrain Area—New Orleans, Louisiana
In partnership with an existing network of local volunteers and restoration organizations, the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) will train community members and wetland restoration advocates to monitor and track progress at eight ongoing urban wetland restoration projects in the Lake Pontchartrain area. The project will build capacity in New Orleans, including underserved areas, for citizen-led monitoring of wetlands. The wetland restoration monitoring training will include introduction to basic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through real-life application and investigation for sustained engagement in local urban waters issues.

Award Amount: $52,185


University of Maryland
Anacostia Watershed—Prince Georges County, Maryland
The University of Maryland will implement a two-pronged project to help restore impaired sub-watersheds within the Anacostia River Watershed. The first prong will be to design low impact development (LID) solutions to retrofit school roofs, parking lots, service drives, and sport facilities in an effort to reduce runoff discharge and improve water quality. The second prong will be to develop lesson plans that will integrate the LID solutions into outdoor laboratories. The project will be piloted at New Hope Academy in Landover Hills, Maryland.

Award Amount: $58,648

University of Baltimore
Patapsco Watershed—Baltimore, Maryland
The University of Baltimore will use DNA-based microbial source tracking to estimate the relative contribution of human and dog fecal bacteria to outfalls from the Mill Corridor, which is a stretch of the lower Jones Falls stream that runs through two historically blue collar neighborhoods. The data from the effort will be provided to the City of Baltimore and the community for prioritizing infrastructure repairs to reduce pet waste. The project team will train community volunteers to monitor water pollution, and educate middle and high school students about their local stream ecosystems. A long-term outcome of the project is expected to be lower bacteria loads in the lower Jones Falls stream and the Inner Harbor.

Award Amount: $59,827


Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc.
Mystic River Watershed—Boston, Chelsea, and Revere, Massachusetts
Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc., (ACE) will partner with the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG) to assist environmental justice communities in implementing their Chelsea Creek Community Improvement Plan. The project will engage residents in reviewing and updating the community vision for the Chelsea Creek; assist them in understanding existing regulatory mechanisms for protecting water quality; and facilitate them in taking a proactive role in the promotion of the Chelsea Creek as an environmental, recreational, economic, and educational resource.

Award Amount: $60,000

Mystic River Watershed Association
Mystic River Watershed—Malden, Medford, and Everett, Massachusetts
The Mystic River Watershed Association will promote green infrastructure in three environmental justice communities bordering the Malden River through education, outreach, planning charettes, GIS analysis, modeling of pollutant source and loads, development of a low impact development (LID) technical document, and analysis of zoning/ordinances. The program will work directly with municipal staff to train them on the principles of green infrastructure, provide a technical green infrastructure guidance document specific to the urban environment, and expose them to the variety of solutions available.

Award Amount: $60,000


Calvin College
Grand Rapids Area—Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area, Michigan
Calvin College will develop a regional "rainscaping" initiative to design green infrastructure (GI) and low-impact development (LID) plans and develop a "green" workforce by training urban youth in the installation and maintenance of GI and other LID projects. This effort will promote GI awareness and implementation among homeowners, landscapers, and contractors. A "water currency" program will be developed as an incentive for potential participants to install GI designs. Green workforce development will focus on one upstream community (Rogue River Watershed) and one downstream community (Plaster Creek Watershed).

Award Amount: $60,000


Blue River Watershed Association
Middle Blue River—Kansas City Metropolitan Area, Missouri
The Blue River Watershed Association, with its partner agencies, will create and engage eight teams of underserved community youth by involving them in water quality monitoring studies, data collection, and community presentations and projects. Each team will include a high school youth coordinator, an educator, and a mentor who is a professional in the field of water quality, environmental stewardship, engineering, biology, or similar field. Students will share their connection to the watershed with others through presentations and community projects designed by each team.

Award Amount: $59,940

Heartland Conservation Alliance, Inc.
Middle Blue River—Kansas City, Missouri
The Heartland Conservation Alliance, Inc., will study 3,000 vacant lands in the Middle Blue River Watershed for the purposes of identifying properties to redevelop with green infrastructure or low impact development. This effort will build upon current work for developing a Blue River watershed restoration strategy. The goal of the project is to improve watershed health and community vitality.

Award Amount: $60,000

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New Jersey

Groundwork Elizabeth
Passaic River—Elizabeth, New Jersey
Groundwork Elizabeth will continue its effort to develop and complete the Elizabeth River Greenway and renew the communities around it. During the construction of the Phase 1 section of the Elizabeth Greenway, Groundwork Elizabeth engaged the Elizabeth community, especially local youth. Groundwork will build on its experience during Phase I to lead community engagement efforts in the neighborhoods around the Phase II and Phase III sections of the greenway and build momentum for restoring the whole local waterway and the communities around it.

Award Amount: $59,820

Wilderness Inquiry, Inc.
See Delaware for project description. This project is taking place in three states within the Delaware River Basin.

New Mexico

Amigos Bravos
Middle Rio Grande—Albuquerque, New Mexico
Amigos Bravos will conduct 12 student- and community-based water quality monitoring events at the urban Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) across all three sources of surface water: two irrigation ditches, the east riverside drain, and the Rio Grande River. Work will include sampling for nutrients and metals, as well as pharmaceuticals, PCBs, and E. coli. The work will benefit Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permittees in the urban watershed regarding PCB analytical methods and efforts to meet EPA's 2015 goal of eliminating impairments on the river.

Award Amount: $59,818

Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP) at Bosque School
Middle Rio Grande- Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP) at the Bosque School, which is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will combine citizen science with water quality monitoring within the Middle Rio Grande Watershed. Two groups of middle and high school students, in addition to a university student intern, will help collect 658 water samples from 16 sites. Once the samples and data are analyzed, the water quality results will be used to inform pueblos, irrigators, land and water managers, stakeholders, and the public about the health of the river and other watershed features. The sites selected for monitoring and the range of parameters monitored will help determine the greatest threats to the health of the river and groundwater. Presenting the data in a variety of ways and at a number of events will increase awareness of current water quality and allow stakeholders and the public as a whole to become more involved in addressing pollution issues.

Award Amount: $59,921

Earth Force
Middle Rio Grande—Albuquerque, New Mexico
This project expands upon Earth Force’s successful EPA Urban Waters Small Grant pilot in the South Platte River from Denver, Colorado, to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project will improve the water quality of the Middle Rio Grande by involving underserved youth in creating projects that address pressing water quality issues in their community. The approach creates a Neighborhood Environmental Trio: an outdoor learning opportunity at an urban wildlife refuge (Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge), schools (Albuquerque Public Schools), and a municipal authority working to improve water quality (City of Albuquerque). The trio provides an uncommon and comprehensive learning experience for youth, who will utilize water quality data (existing and data they collect) to design project-based solutions to improve the health of the Rio Grande.

Award Amount: $60,000

New York

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds—Bronx, New York
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will fund a Community Engagement Coordinator to create a volunteer monitoring program that engages local community groups and schools to collect important data on oyster reef restoration, alewife migration, and eel populations and to expand awareness on the importance of improving water quality. Monitoring program volunteers will be sought from the Bronx, where 90 percent of residents are minorities and 30 percent of residents live below the national poverty line. The project will help address water quality improvement, aquatic habitat restoration, and community engagement goals identified in multiple region-wide plans.

Award Amount: $59,532


Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments
Western Lake Erie Basin—Toledo, Ohio
Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) will work with the “Junction Avenue Project” to develop a green infrastructure plan that will help improve water quality and alleviate flooding pressure in Toledo’s Junction Avenue neighborhood. This plan will help manage stormwater runoff using green infrastructure, while increasing neighborhood greenspace and reducing flooding.

Award Amount: $60,000


Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Delaware River Basin—Chester, Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) will create training sessions that address the current lack of skills needed to maintain and improve the multi‐functionality of the City of Chester’s green spaces. The trainings will focus on three target audiences: municipal employees, under‐skilled landscape laborers, and at-risk youth. These audiences will learn about basic watershed concepts, tree and perennial vegetation installation and maintenance, invasive plant management, riparian buffer restoration and installation, green stormwater infrastructure, sustainable turf management, and community engagement.

Award Amount: $41,679

Schuylkill River Development Corporation
Delaware River Basin—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) will analyze the feasibility of using a “greenway-systems” approach to stormwater management by extending the Schuylkill River Trail from 58th Street to south of Passyunk Avenue. Plans for the proposed greenway include absorbing and filtering stormwater runoff, reducing nonpoint source pollution, and contributing to the environmental restoration of the Schuylkill River.

Award Amount: $40,000

Temple University – Of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education
Delaware River Basin—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities will develop a framework for developing a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) plan through a participatory geodesign process, and then applying the framework in Delaware Direct and Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watersheds. The project team will create a conceptual GSI plan for the study area, visualize three specific GSI project site plans, and conduct three design charettes in lower-income and minority neighborhoods.

Award Amount: $60,000

Villanova University
Delaware River Basin—Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Villanova University will create two vegetated roof shelters in the Darby Creek Watershed. These roof shelters will function as school bike racks or solar charging stations, as well as living laboratories for conducting research. The results from this project are expected to increase knowledge of stormwater issues in the community, implement stormwater control measures within the member townships of the Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative, and reduce stormwater volume.

Award Amount: $60,000

Wilderness Inquiry, Inc.
See Delaware for project description. This project is taking place in three states within the Delaware River Basin.

Puerto Rico

Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña
Martin Peña Canal—San Juan, Puerto Rico
ENLACE will design a conceptual plan for a new stormwater drainage system. Components of the conceptual plan will include water quality improvements to the Martin Peña Channel and incorporation of green infrastructure initiatives and mechanisms, while taking into consideration new challenges presented by climate change. The scope of work includes creating a participatory design process that will analyze green infrastructure options for a densely populated area.

Award Amount: $59,999


Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group
Green-Duwamish River—Seattle, Washington
The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group (DRCC/TAG) will implement the Healthy River/Healthy Communities project. This project will establish a community-based Health Equity and Revitalization Task Force to prioritize, refine, and help implement recommendations for EPA’s proposed cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish River, a federal Superfund site. These recommendations are expected to include creating greenspace and public access at riverfront cleanup areas; training and hiring local residents for cleanup jobs; providing healthy alternatives to contaminated fish; and protecting residents from gentrification exacerbated by cleanup.

Award Amount: $60,000

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