EPA Administrator Announces Creation of Anacostia River Revitalization Fund (USA)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and David O’Neill of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) joined Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton of the District of Columbia at Marvin Gaye Park to announce the creation of The Anacostia River Revitalization Fund.

The fund, which will invest $1 million in restoration activities this year, with a total goal of investing $5 million over the next three years, will be used protect and restore the Anacostia River and to create a national model for watershed conservation. NFWF, in partnership with EPA and the DC Department of the Environment and with funding from corporate sponsors, created the fund, which will award grants to local partnering organizations.

Clean waters and outdoor recreation can boost urban communities’ human, environmental and economic health,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Through the Anacostia River Revitalization Fund, we’re able to partner with state and local government agencies, private foundations and corporate sponsors to make the most of our resources and ensure our restoration efforts are as effective as possible.”

We are proud to be a partnering with EPA, the DC government, and our corporate sponsors to help restore this important river – for fish and wildlife, for clean water, for the residents of DC and for its neighborhoods where people live, work and play,” said David O’Neill of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “It is our goal to build this Fund so that it attracts new investments that will accelerate the restoration of the Anacostia and result in meaningful and measurable improvements to the river and to the communities that rest along its banks.”

“I’m excited and pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency is joining the District of Columbia and regional partners in our ongoing efforts to revitalize the Anacostia River,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said. “This important natural resource was neglected for too many years — but it is central to our city’s geography and increasingly to its identity as a beautiful, sustainable, livable city with miles of waterfront ripe for public use and private development.”

This important funding comes at a critical time, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the District and Maryland in the early stages of implementation of the 10-year Anacostia River cleanup plan mandated by my bill, the Anacostia Watershed Initiative Act”, said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. “These funds will move the District forward with the message that the city is serious about cleaning up the Anacostia River.”

Specific grant selection criteria will be mutually agreed upon by NFWF, EPA, DDOE and other funding partners. Priority will be given to projects focused on key tenants of the fund – improving water quality in the Anacostia River and its tributaries; achieving habitat restoration priorities for the Anacostia; engaging, employing and educating local residents and businesses; connecting the public to the Anacostia and its tributaries through enhanced outdoor recreation and volunteer opportunities; leveraging public and private funding to make the greatest conservation impact; and emphasizing the neighborhood benefits of watershed restoration to local economic development, public health, livability and as a neighborhood asset.

The establishment of the Anacostia River Restoration Fund is another step in advancing President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative. Through AGO, the administration is opening up access to millions of acres for recreation, designating thousands of miles of new land and water trails, increasing youth employment in conservation jobs, helping parks and green space become more accessible and clean in urban areas, and making historic investments in large landscapes such as the Everglades.

The Anacostia River is one of seven pilot locations as part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, an innovative union of 11 federal agencies, led by EPA, that focus on both natural resources and economic development and aims to use environmental restoration to protect people’s health and maximize economic growth.

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Dredging Today Staff, March 12, 2012;

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