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September 15, 2022

Everyone deserves clean and healthy public waterways. USGS and Urban Waters Federal Partnership are investing ~$4 million to improve our Nation's water systems and help transform degraded urban riverscapes into cleaner, safer green spaces.

Reston, Va.— The U.S. Geological Survey today announced nearly \$4 million is being invested in improving urban lands and waters thanks to existing and expanded partnerships in 15 cities across the nation. The USGS will provide \$1.5 million in funding with an additional \$2.5 million in matching funds coming from local partners that are part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

The funds will benefit 22 urban waters projects critical for citizen health and safety, recreation, and economic development in these 15 cities. The work leverages USGS water science through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership for a direct impact on urban waterways.

The projects include real-time water-level and water quality monitoring to alert homeowners of threats from floods and other water emergencies, tracking contaminated stormwater sediment, assessments of so-called forever chemicals and microplastics, urban flowing groundwater-well characterization, measuring the effectiveness of controls such as new rain gardens at reducing stormwater pollution, assessing contaminants in urban waterways to improve public health, and evaluating whether urban restoration projects have improved water quality and stream habitat.

“The issues facing our cities—drought, climate change, heat islands, flooding, declining parks and greenspace, food deserts and more—require new and innovative solutions,” said Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Water and Science. “The collaborative Urban Waters Federal Partnership is one such solution—with the USGS leading the way providing cutting-edge research that directly helps underserved communities.”

“This funding will allow the USGS to further support those working to provide improved natural environments within urban settings,” said USGS Director David Applegate. “Through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, the USGS is able to leverage its resources and expertise to help transform degraded lands and rivers into green spaces and cleaner waters that provide greater economic, environmental and health benefits to urban communities.”

Of the 22 projects, 7 are new projects and the remainder will augment existing USGS work at these locations and will add to ongoing work to improve water-related information for decision-making nationwide. New projects will take place in the Patapsco Watershed (Baltimore region, Md.), the Passaic River (Newark, N.J.), Middle Rio Grande (Albuquerque, N.M.), Anacostia Watershed (in the greater Washington DC area), Northwest Indiana, Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds (New York City, N.Y.) and Proctor Creek Watershed (Atlanta, Ga.).

For a full list of projects, visit: Urban Waters Federal Partnership Cooperative Matching Funds Projects | U.S. Geological Survey (

The 15 sites where the projects are located are part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a coalition of 15 federal agencies working in 20 cities to restore urban waters and the lands that surround them, helping to address economic, public health and environmental priorities. The work includes partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, businesses, nonprofits and philanthropic groups to clean up pollution; spur redevelopment of abandoned properties; promote new businesses; and provide parks and access for boating, swimming, fishing and community gatherings.

To date, the partnership has provided new science tools for planners, improved more than 22,000 acres of land, planted more than 80,000 trees and engaged an estimated 100,000 community members. 

The Department of the Interior, along with the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a lead agency of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

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