Mar 09, 2012

EPA Announces Creation of Anacostia River Revitalization Fund

The $5 million investment will be used to protect, restore the river; create national model for watershed conservation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 on Friday 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 D.C. Department of the Environment and with funding from corporate sponsors, created the fund, which will award grants to local partnering organizations.

Specific grant selection criteria will be mutually agreed upon by NFWF, EPA, District Department of Environment (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 the 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. 

The announcement in Anacostia on Friday is one of several conservation announcements made nationwide over the past two weeks as part of the White House Conference on Conservation—Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy. Last Friday’s conference convened hundreds of boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders and other key stakeholders, strengthening partnerships and identifying next steps in tackling issues surrounding conservation and the great outdoors in urban cities and rural communities. During the conference, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray participated in a panel discussion led by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, highlighting the importance of rivers and clean water to our cities.