Land-of-Sky gets $60,000 grant for an Neighborhood Water Watch project in Brevard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $60,000 grant to Land of Sky Regional Council for a Brevard, N.C., project:

The Regional Council will build stewardship within the Rosenwald neighborhood through education, hands-on activities, identification of water quality concerns, and the development of a watershed action plan. The project builds on a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Initiative to work with the community through an environmental education program, a recreation and access planning process, and a water quality monitoring program to engage local high school students in environmental careers.

In other Southeast grants, the EPA awarded $50,000 to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) to expand the environmental group’s Neighborhood Water Watch program in Atlanta’s urban core. The organization is one of just five recipients chosen in the Southeast and 46 nationally to receive grants totaling $2.7 million to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect Americans’ health.

“These grants support communities in their efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator, Stan Meiburg. “By promoting access to urban waterways, EPA is helping the public become active participants in environmental restoration and protection efforts that ultimately improve people’s health.”

Urban waters can be canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. The projects selected for funding will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.

“Urban waters across our nation are brimming with potential. Potential for new businesses to grow and thrive. Potential for educational, recreational and social opportunities,” said EPA acting Assistant Administrator for Water Nancy Stoner. “To help tap into that potential, EPA is funding projects across the country to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect American’s health.”

Under the grant, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper will expand an existing collaborative partnership with local civic associations, watershed groups, schools and government agencies to improve water quality in urban streams and protect public health. CRK will expand its Neighborhood Water Watch program in Atlanta’s urban core to encompass 25 sites (up from 16). Through the program, residents are taught to conduct their own stream monitoring and develop a body of water-quality data in urban neighborhoods. Residents are also trained to identify and report pollution sources. Ultimately, the project will reduce pollution in the Chattahoochee River—recently ranked third on the American Rivers’ annual Most Endangered Rivers list.

“While progress has been made in cleaning up the streams that run through Atlanta neighborhoods, some of these waterways are still polluted with untreated sewage and other contaminants. EPA’s Urban Waters grant will help us continue and expand our Neighborhood Water Watch Program, involving local residents in monitoring the quality of the creeks in their communities,” said Sally Bethea, CRK’s executive director and riverkeeper.

CRK’s mission is to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee River, its lakes and tributaries for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on it. The Chattahoochee is the most heavily used water resource in Georgia. For more information, visit

EPA’s Urban Waters program supports the goals and principles of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a collaboration of 12 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and community‐led revitalization efforts.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the White House’s place‐based efforts, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to revitalize communities, create jobs and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the nation. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership also advances the work of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

Individual Urban Waters grant amounts range from $30,000 to $60,000. Additional grants were awarded to the following recipients across the Southeast:

Tennessee Environmental Council, Springhill, Tenn. ($56,999.75)
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky. ($59,934)
Land of Sky Regional Council, Brevard, N.C. ($60,000)
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, Durham, N.C. ($59,927)

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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