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Urban Waters Partnership

Urban Waters and the Caño Martín Peña (Martín Peña Channel, Puerto Rico)

Congratulations to the Caño Martín Peña Land Trust, a member of this Urban Waters Partnership, on recieving the 2015 United Nations World Habitat Award!

Read more about the Land Trust and their award. Exit

The Martín Peña Channel is a 3.75 mile long tidal channel located within the San Juan Bay National Estuary in Puerto Rico, the only tropical estuary within the National Estuary Program.

During the early 20th century, substandard dwellings were built in the mangrove wetlands bordering the channel, which used refuse and debris as fill material. The channel is clogged with debris, sediment, and organic waste. Over 3,000 structures still discharge raw sewage into the remains of the channel. The lack of adequate sewer and storm water systems has led to flooding, exposing 27,000 residents to polluted waters and sediments.

The Martín Peña Channel Urban Waters Federal Partnership seeks to make significant contributions to the health and welfare of the eight communities that surround the Martín Peña Channel in San Juan. In an effort to improve water quality, restore the watershed’s ecosystem, and address public safety issues, the Federal Partnership is currently engaged in several initiatives with their local partner, the Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña (ENLACE). This includes an ecosystem restoration project, which involves a major dredging plan to restore water flow in the channel.

Partners have conducted health studies that assess the effects of repeated exposure to contaminated waters and sediments on the public health of the residents, and the public health benefits of dredging Martin Peña. The objective is to transform the environmental and health challenges faced into an invaluable economic, environmental, and recreational asset for the communities and Puerto Rico.

Local Partnership Workplan

List of Partners

Fed/Local Government

Federal Agencies

  • Department of Agriculture - Urban Forestry
  • United States Forest Service
  • National Resource Conservation Service
  • Department of Commerce
  • Economic Development Administration
  • Department of Defense – Army Corps of Engineers
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Small Business Administration
  • White House Task Force
  • US Geological Survey

Local Government

  • Municipality of San Juan

Puerto Rico Agency Partnership

  • Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority
  • Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority
  • Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
  • Puerto Rico Department of Housing
  • Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority
  • Office of the Commissioner of Municipal Affairs
  • Government Development Bank
  • Governor’s Authorized Representative
  • Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board
  • Puerto Rico Planning Board

Non-Government Organizations/ Private Sector

  • G-8
  • Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña
  • Cantera Peninsula Development Company
  • Martín Peña Channel Community Land Trust
  • Fideicomiso de la Tierra
  • San Juan Bay Estuary Program
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • Sacred Heart University
  • University of Ponce
  • Fundación Banco Popular
  • McConell Valdés
  • InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico
  • Polytechnic University