June 24, 2011 / 6:44 PM / 7 years ago

EPA announces initiative to restore urban waterways

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Renewing urban waterways will be the focus of a new environmental initiative by the government, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.

The multi-agency program will start with a seven-city pilot program to revitalize urban waterways in under-served communities before being expanded to other cities, an EPA statement said.

“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.

“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.”

A main feature of the initiative will be the use of federal resources in coordinating investments across agencies and targeting local efforts and leadership with which to work.

The program was announced on Friday in Baltimore near the Patapsco watershed, one of the pilot locations.

Others include the Anacostia watershed in the District of Columbia and Maryland, the Bronx and Harlem River watersheds in New York, the South Platte River in Denver, the Los Angeles River watershed in California, the Lake Pontchartrain area in New Orleans, and the Northwest Indiana area, the EPA said.

The locations were chosen because they already have strong restoration efforts underway by local governments and community organizations, the EPA said.

Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton

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