Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $59,855 in federal funding for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc. and $51,401 for Groundwork Hudson Valley to develop and implement plans to incorporate green infrastructure and eco-friendly sustainability practices to local communities.
“The Hudson River Valley is one of our state’s greatest treasures – with the ability to help grow the local economy, offer miles of recreation, and provide clean drinking water for millions of families,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we invest in the health of the Hudson Valley, we can sustain these resources for our children and grandchildren, and develop new innovation that can support new jobs and attract new businesses specializing in the clean economy of the future.”
“Senator Gillibrand cares about communities and the environment,” said Jeff Rumpf, Clearwater Executive Director. “We thank her for supporting Clearwater. This EPA Urban Waters Program grant will revitalize Poughkeepsie via the Fall Kill Corridor, from the Hudson River waterfront to the center of the city. Clearwater would like to thank the Hudson River Estuary Program for sponsoring the research and development necessary to launch this important federal grant. Clearwater believes that the next generation of environmental leaders will spring from our urban communities; this grant recognizes our grassroots approach to urban revitalization and that putting the ‘eco’ in the economy is good for everyone.”
Ann-Marie Mitroff, Director of River Programs at Groundwork Hudson Valley/Saw Mill River Coalition said, “For too many years, urban waterways have been an afterthought. We are thrilled that this grant will build on the historic daylighting of the Saw Mill River by including a corps of community residents—the River Guardians—to help the river again become the centerpiece of the Yonkers community.”
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc. will use the federal funding to sustain their long-term planning efforts to revitalize the Fall Kill Creek in Dutchess County. The project, which can serve as a model for other Hudson River tributaries, is an evolution of earlier watershed and urban planning work funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, and part of Clearwater’s Green Cities Initiative. The multi-part project includes an awareness campaign to educate residents about urban watershed issues, and a training program for local youth in watershed science and green infrastructure technology. Upon the conclusion of training, the community will design and implement a green infrastructure project at a community center that will benefit the local environment and serve as an educational tool for years to come.
The purpose of Clearwater’s Green Cities Initiative is to educate Hudson River cities on incorporating principles of sustainability into all phases of municipal planning and community development resulting in a healthier, greener and more equitable Hudson Valley Region. This Initiative, beyond directly assisting cities and community groups, focuses on empowering the next generation of environmental leaders through education about watershed protection, green infrastructure and green energy, while promoting environmental justice, green job creation and an overall sustainable future.
Groundwork Hudson Valley will use the federal funding to establish a lasting stewards group called the Saw Mill River Guardians in an effort to improve the Saw Mill River, as well as educate local citizens on local water care. The group will consist of a minimum of 20 individuals who will be mentored and trained by Groundwork, Riverkeeper, and Yonkers City staff. The Saw Mill River Guardians will serve as the primary environmental ambassadors in their communities, providing first-hand reports on the water quality conditions of the river, planning and holding neighborhood educational workshops, and working with partner groups in an effort to improve the river’s environment and aesthetic. Groundwork Hudson Valley will publish and distribute “water quality report cards” to share monitoring results and provide community volunteer activities based on the report outcomes. Additionally, Groundwork will provide training to its youth Green Team and Urban Landscaping Corps, a job-training program currently underway with the Yonkers Housing Authority. Groundwork seeks to launch an educational program and campaign to inform local community members about the Saw Mill River eco-system, highlighting the interconnectedness of bodies of water, the function of the aquatic habitat, and the importance of each citizens’ role to improve and maintain local water systems.
The announcement came as part of the EPA’s Urban Waters Program, which invests $2.7 million in funding to restore urban waters and support community revitalization through environmental protection projects, while protecting the nation’s health. 46 organizations across 32 states and Puerto Rico received grants between $30,000 and $60,000 to promote the restoration of urban waterways through research, education and the engagement of their local community.