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Agencies join to improve urban waterways

A new federal partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve the quality of life and protect Americans' health by revitalizing urban waterways in underserved communities across the country.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a federal union composed of 11 agencies, will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations: the Patapsco Watershed (Maryland); the Anacostia Watershed (Washington, D.C./Maryland); the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York); the South Platte River in Denver (Colorado); the Los Angeles River Watershed (California); the Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans); and the Northwest Indiana Area.

Cleaning up and restoring these water resources is essential to protecting Americans’ health and improving their overall quality of life, according to the partnership. Revitalizing urban waterways also will reconnect people to open spaces and have a positive economic impact on local businesses, tourism and property values and spur private investment and job creation.

“There is a range of health and environmental challenges facing our urban waters today, but each challenge is matched by an incredible opportunity to transform distressed urban waterfronts into centerpieces for community revitalization,” EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement. “Urban waters have the potential to support healthy environments, growing business and educational and recreational activities. By bringing together the experience and expertise of multiple federal partners we have a chance to reconnect local residents, young people and community groups with the environmental resources all around them.”