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The funding will go towards debris removal and ecological restoration projects
The U.S. EPA has awarded the San Juan Bay Estuary Program $152,400 to support Hurricane Maria relief efforts and estuary restoration. The funding, provided through the EPA’s Urban Waters Program, will be used to assess water quality and debris impacts within the 97 sq mile urban estuarine watershed and will enhance community preparedness for future storm events in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Fallen debris and heavy rainfall brought by Hurricane Maria, combined with an aging sanitary and storm water infrastructure, clogged San Juan’s sewers and left its streets and water bodies filled with contaminated water. The hurricane’s destruction harmed the recreational areas and made vulnerable the quality of water in Condado Lagoon.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the San Juan Bay Estuary Program performed a preliminary assessment of the damages and needs of the San Juan Bay watershed. Newly added funds will be used to further those assessments and guide debris removal and ecological restoration projects on the ground.
EPA’s Urban Waters program supports community efforts to restore and revitalize local canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and ocean areas and provide public access to them. The goal of the Urban Waters Program is to fund research, training and demonstrations that advance the restoration of urban watersheds, with an emphasis on underserved communities.