Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

EPA awards over $175K to California urban waters projects

View north along the L.A. River toward the 6th Street Bridge.
View north along the L.A. River toward the 6th Street Bridge.
Jerry Gorin/KPCC

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it would be awarding $2.7 million to restore and revitalize urban waters across 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico. The EPA’s Urban Waters program “support community efforts to make water quality restoration relevant to public health, social, economic, and livability goals,” according to their official website.

The chosen organizations were culled from over 600 applicants, with three of the 46 based here in California: Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed in Brentwood, Revive the San Joaquin in Fresno and Council for Watershed Health, based in Los Angeles. Each group will receive around $60,000.

“We are very excited to receive the award,” said Nancy L.C. Steele, executive director of Council for Watershed Health when reached by phone. “It’s a very important award for the region, as it’s going to allow us take a look at the whole of the L.A. River watershed, analyze and communicate to the public and elected officials how it’s doing and exactly what is the state of the river. We already monitor the watershed primarily for water quality and habitat, so with this grant we can expand out and look at things like water supply and overall social-economic issues related to water access, and develop a report card for the river. It will tell us how we can improve.

“This is a key initial grant for the river,” Steele emphasized. “We will need to get additional support to really build out this vision of an effective report card to communicate to the public.”