EPA Awards Urban Waters Grants to Restore Habitat and Connect Green Spaces in Philadelphia
With support from EPA, community-led projects will restore urban waters and streams, address water quality in priority watersheds
PHILADELPHIA (August 9, 2018) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a $27,000 grant to the Riverfront North Partnership (formerly the Delaware River City Corp.) for the restoration and stewardship of 45 acres of varied habitat, including riparian coastal plain forest, intertidal marsh and upland meadows, along the Delaware River in the Northeast neighborhoods of Philadelphia. NFWF and EPA also announced a $49,000 grant to the National Audubon Society to create a “corridor of habitat” connecting fragmented green spaces from Southwest to West Philadelphia.
The Riverfront North Partnership grant will increase the organization’s capacity to protect the ecologically-restored portions of the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway while facilitating hands-on restoration, environmental education and community service opportunities to urban youth, and job training opportunities to young adults, many of them at risk.
The grant will support the successful stewardship of the first Living Shoreline installation on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, the restoration of riparian coastal plain forests at two other public parks, and the creation of community partnerships to sustain the ongoing stewardship of the varied habitat in this largely post-industrial section of riverfront.
“We are grateful to receive the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program Grant,” said Stephanie Phillips, Riverfront North Partnership’s executive director. “These funds will help us advance a pillar of our mission – essential ecological restoration on the Delaware River’s parks and trails. This work will be done in partnership with our Northeast Philadelphia community, and together we will transform the river’s shoreline into a healthy and vibrant natural asset.”
A Five Star and Urban Waters Grant will also enable Audubon, with partners throughout Philadelphia, especially the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, to engage residents from targeted neighborhoods to create a corridor of improved habitat that will reduce stormwater runoff, beautify the landscape, create more vibrant communities and deepen public involvement. Collectively, Audubon and its partners will enhance 10 acres of habitat; educate and engage 3,500 people; and expand habitat in Philadelphia.
“This funding will help us collaborate with community groups and leaders to identify, plan, and implement pocket parks in high-priority watersheds and neighborhoods that provide habitat for our native birds and other wildlife,” said Audubon Pennsylvania Executive Director Greg Goldman. “These parks will also provide access to green space, community oriented programing and volunteer stewardship opportunities.”
The grants were among 59 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants awarded, totaling $2.2 million to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Grantees have committed an additional $5.2 million in local project support, generating a total conservation impact of more than $7.4 million.
“EPA is pleased to support the Riverfront North project to protect a large area of critical habitat along the Delaware River, and to foster opportunities for community service and job training,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “We’re also proud to support the Audubon Society’s work to bridge the gaps in green spaces in the western sections of Philadelphia and engage residents in sustaining environmental progress.”
The grants were awarded through the NFWF’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program which supports projects that develop community stewardship of natural resources and addresses water quality issues in priority watersheds across the country. Support for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by EPA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.
“The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program generates measurable results for wildlife and communities across the nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 59 grants announced today will help communities improve water quality and support wildlife through a variety of conservation efforts, from the removal of invasive species and planting of native vegetation to the reduction of stormwater runoff and creation of wetlands.”
The 2018 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 250 applications. A full list of 2018 projects is available here.
Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported more than 945 projects, with more than $11.9 million in federal funds, $10.6 million in private and corporate contributions, and $74.7 million in matching funds at the local level.
For more information about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program, visit https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaterspartners/five-star-and-urban-waters-restoration-grant-program-2018