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A new federal partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), an innovative federal union comprised of 11 agencies, will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations:

1) The Patapsco Watershed (Maryland), 2) the Anacostia Watershed (Washington DC/Maryland), 3) the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York), 4) the South Platte River in Denver (Colorado), 5) the Los Angeles River Watershed (California), 6) the Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans, LA), and 7) the Northwest Indiana Area.

Each of the pilot locations already has a strong restoration effort underway, spearheaded by local governments and community organizations. Lessons learned from these pilot locations will be transferred to other cities in the country.

Led by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and coordinated by the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with and advances the work of the other White House place-based efforts such as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities by revitalizing communities, creating jobs and improving the qualities of life in cities and towns across the nation. The partnership also supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative aimed at making the Federal Government a better partner with communities that are working to provide safe, healthy and accessible outdoor spaces. Like these other efforts, the UWFP represents another example of how the Obama Administration is promoting more efficient and effective use of federal resources through better coordination and targeting of federal investments.

11 Agencies of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership

Environmental Protection Agency

Use statutory authority to protect and preserve water quality and provide assistance in assessing and addressing legacy contamination.

Department of Interior

Assist in building trails; increase public access to river resources; help restore and protect habitat and wildlife; educate and employ urban youth; and assess and help safeguard water quality.

United States Department of Agriculture
Help communities to plan, manage, and sustain farm and forest landscapes on public and private ownership along a complex rural to urban gradient to promote watershed health and protect water resources, from the source to the faucet.

Corporation for National and Community Service

         Recruiting, organizing and maximizing the impact of community volunteers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

        CDC/ATSDR will serve to offer guidance and technical assistance to local health officials and community members in conducting community-based environmental health assessments and creating an accurate and verifiable profile of communities’ environmental health status.

Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration

        Foster the creation of high-skill jobs and the generation of private capital investment in distressed communities.

Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Provide unique scientific products and services designed to boost economic vitality, restore habitat, and mitigate hazards and contamination in coastal, Great Lakes, and other locations.

Army Corps of Engineers

       Offer engineering services, research and technical support to stakeholders during the planning, design, construction and operation of water resources and associated environmental infrastructure.

Department of Transportation

Help the community in designing improved transportation corridors, bikeways, walkways

Housing and Urban Development

Help the community improve access to affordable housing.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

     Assist with health studies related to community environmental conditions. (EPA)