VOORHEES, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Water (NYSE: AWK), the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, announced today the recipients of the company’s 2014 Environmental Grant Program awards. A total of 45 projects throughout American Water’s service areas in 11 states will be supported by grants totaling more than $185,000.
Established in 2005, American Water’s Environmental Grant Program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the communities it serves.
“Each one of these organizations is making a difference in one of American Water’s communities, and we are very proud to partner with them to turn their plans into a reality,” said Debra Vernon, Manager of Corporate Responsibility. “Now in its ninth year, our state environmental grant program has provided needed support for communities to help improve, restore and protect our valuable natural resources through partnerships. We are proud of the opportunity to support such worthy projects that positively impact the environment and our water sources.”
The 2014 grant recipients, which are located throughout American Water’s service areas, include the following:
California American Water is issuing two grants totaling $10,000 to the following organizations:
- The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy, located in the company’s Monterey service area, received $6,000 to fund its Steelhead Recovery Signage Project in Carmel. The Carmel River does not have signage indicating that a steelhead recovery plan is currently underway. The project involves designing, planning, constructing and installing “Steelhead Recovery Site” signs at critical public access points along the Carmel River and its tributary creeks. The signs will help preserve the rearing habitat and riparian quality for the threatened species by informing and educating the public of the names of the Carmel River’s tributary creeks along with the importance of treating them as steelhead recovery sites.
- Mira Loma High School was awarded $4,000 for its Arcade Creek Project in Sacramento. Currently in its 14th year, the project is a student-led ecological field study comprised of over 300 high school junior and senior science students from the International Baccalaureate Program at Mira Loma High School. The project will continue to allow students to conduct and evaluate field research to determine the overall health of the Arcade Creek by identifying non-native species and invasive species removal. Students participate in restoration outings, removing invasive species and consistent monitoring to assure they do not reoccur.
Illinois American Water is issuing six grants totaling $15,825 to the following organizations:
- National Great Rivers Research and Education Center is receiving a $5,000 grant for the Expanding Stream Discovery: New Watersheds and Increased Stewardship Project. The project is an environmental education project that provides students a hands-on opportunity to learn about water quality in their community by monitoring a local stream. Currently, Stream Discovery training is available solely to teachers and students living in the Piasa Creek Watershed, so the goal of this project is to expand outreach to three new Illinois watersheds. Other partners on this project include National Geographic, Bradley University, The Nature Institute and Army Corps of Engineers.
- Lewis and Clark Community College is receiving a $2,300 grant for the Stormwater Runoff Management Bioswale Project. Through this project, faculty from Lewis and Clark Community College will engage Alton Middle School students to install two native planted bioswales at the college, which is expected to improve water quality by providing filtering runoff and reducing velocity.
- Stratton Elementary School in Champaign is receiving a $4,000 grant for a rain garden project. Stratton Elementary students, faculty and parents will help construct a rain garden containing 11 species of native plants, which will be used as an outdoor learning center to strengthen learning about and connection to the environment.
- Southern Illinois Groundwater Protection Committee is receiving a $1,625 grant for the Mississippi River Clean Up to be held in September in conjunction with the Annual Educational Field Day and the Illinois Environmental Health Association. This will include an estimated 100-125 environmentalist participating in the project. This clean-up event will engage about 100 environmentalists clearing trash for disposal or recycling and will cover approximately 2 miles of the shore of the Mississippi River in East St. Louis.
- The City of South Beloit is receiving a $2,300 grant for the Meet Me at the Confluence Invasive Species Removal Project. This project will remove undesirable invasive species and weedy native species along a newly established preliminary public access route at the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek. If successful, the project will begin to help control undesirable species at the confluence and reopen a site for public access and recreation.
- Bluestem Communication in partnership with Mississippi River Network and Piasa Palisades Sierra Club is receiving a $600 grant to clean 16 miles of the Illinois Great River Road. Following the cleanup, an educational party will be held to continue education efforts. In-kind donations to this event also include Illinois American Water’s Mobile Education Center, drinking water and water bottles.
Indiana American Water is issuing five grants totaling nearly $9,300 to the following organizations:
- The City of Noblesville will use its $2,500 grant for The Hague Road Tree Planting Project, which will use green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff in the area by helping to filter pollutants before they reach nearby Cicero Creek. The project will remove soil sediment, reduce flood damage and runoff, and increase water quality by reducing pollution by as much as 80 percent. The plantings will also provide secondary benefits like cooling nearby air temperatures and capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded $1,377 for its Green’ in 2014 Rain Barrel Painting Contest. The Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District will use the grant to fund a pilot project of the Clark/Floyd County “Green in southern Indiana” campaign. The project, which includes developing a rain barrel painting contest for local elementary schools, is designed to increase awareness of urban impacts to area stream water quality and habitat by promoting cost-effective and environmentally friendly storm water management techniques.
- The Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy, Inc. will use its $2,500 grant to focus on creating a rain garden and bioswale to filter storm water runoff from a parking lot at the 157-acre Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve. Project plans also include involving community residents and a local Girl Scout troop to help install the rain garden and native vegetation.
- The City of Sullivan was awarded $3,500 for its Central Park Plaza Watershed Protection Project. The Central Park Plaza is a new park under development in the City of Sullivan in western Indiana. This watershed protection project involves planting several large trees on the community’s first public green space, a new 4.3-acre park located in downtown Sullivan. The trees will reduce storm water runoff and pollutants in local streams, enhance air quality, and encourage local residents to use water wisely and to adopt practices and habits in their daily lives to improve water quality. Plans for Central Park also include expanding an existing structure located on the site to include a new community center and amphitheater.
- The Wabash Riverkeeper was awarded $400 for the De-Trash the Wabash cleanup expansion to purchase supplies for expanding current De-Trash the Wabash river cleanup efforts to surrounding counties near the company’s West Lafayette district. De-Trash the Wabash is an annual river clean-up event bringing together hundreds of volunteers each spring to clean-up the stream banks of the area’s most valuable water resource. Wabash Riverkeeper is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance.
Iowa American Water is issuing four grants totaling $7,700 to the following organizations:
- River Action, Inc. will use its funds for a retention and infiltration project in the Duck Creek Watershed within the City of Davenport. The project will combine bioswales, native plantings and check dams to reduce storm water runoff, flooding and pollution at a priority location within the Duck Creek watershed.
- Nahant Marsh Education Center will utilize its grant to enhance a 2-acre vernal pond by installing a water control structure and by planting native vegetation. This project will improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife, including the rare Blanding’s turtle.
- Davenport Community Schools’ grant will be used for “Science in Progress: Connecting 5th Grade Science Curriculum with Water Quality”. Science in Progress is to engender community-wide ownership, promote environmental awareness and solicit a community call to action through the scientific inquiry and service learning experiences of elementary-aged youth. The proposed project will establish a generational approach to watershed and water source protection by aligning city and school resources to empower 5th grade youth as environmental stewards and advocates, including introducing and supporting service learning opportunities such as cleanup throughout the community.
- Keep Scott County Beautiful is receiving a grant for the Xstream Cleanup, which is an annual Quad-City wide cleanup of streams, creeks, drainage areas and sections of the Mississippi River. About 1,500 volunteers will help the community and our environment by clearing debris from 40-50 sites on in August. Last year, volunteers removed approximately 45,534 pounds of debris from area waterways.
Kentucky American Water is issuing four grants totaling nearly $30,000 to the following organizations:
- “Sustainable Aquaculture,” coordinated by the City of Midway, Ky., in partnership with Kentucky State University and the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Division of Aquaculture, has earned a $10,000 grant to re-purpose tanks from a decommissioned wastewater facility to be used for sustainable fish production in an aquaculture facility. Hybrid bass will be raised in the tanks and the facility will serve as an educational site for school groups, farmers, and agricultural-related tourism.
- “Community Waterways Clean-Up,” coordinated by the Friends of Stoner Creek in Bourbon County in partnership with the Bourbon County Road Department, local school groups and the local Boy Scouts of America, is receiving a $2,400 grant to support a clean-up effort for various sections of Stoner Creek, a major waterway in Bourbon County, Ky. Portions of the creek are littered with various types of debris, including tires, which is reducing creek flow and impairing water quality.
- “Operation Clear, Preserve, and Reclaim,” coordinated by the Owen County Fair Board in partnership with the Owen County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Owen County Fiscal Court, Owen County Soil Conservation District and community volunteers, is receiving a $10,000 grant to make four acres of park land in Owen County, Ky., more accessible to the public as a passive recreation area. The project will include the reclamation of overgrown acreage and the enhancement of a natural spring that has been identified. A pergola will be constructed near the stream to be used as an outdoor classroom and for other uses.
- “Urban Orchard Project,” coordinated by Seedleaf in partnership with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Town Branch Tree Experts, ALT32 Architects and community volunteers, is receiving a $7,400 grant to install an urban orchard on a neglected, vacant lot in downtown Lexington, Ky. The orchard will assist in addressing erosion and storm water run-off problems at the site and will engage youth in learning how to maintain the land as well as plant and harvest fruits and vegetables.
Missouri American Water is issuing six grants totaling $21,325 to the following organizations:
- The Alliance of Southwest Missouri was awarded $3,000 to use for the purchase and promotion of permanent prescription drug drop-off boxes. This will prevent contamination of source water in Southwest Missouri including Shoal Creek and the Ozark Aquifer. This project is a collaborative effort among many organizations including Joplin Schools, Jasper County Sheriffs and the Joplin Police Department. The Joplin Area Safe Teens Coalition plans to engage the community in the project through advertising.
- The City of Ballwin was awarded $5,000 for Ferris Park Phase 2 Improvements. In this phase, the traditional asphalt parking lot in the park will be replaced with permeable paving and bioswale and plantings to decrease run-off into Fish Pot Creek which in turn empties into the Meramec River. Partners for this project include MSD and the St. Louis County Park Grant Commission.
- Missouri River Relief was awarded $8,000 for the “Big Muddy Clean Sweep.” River Relief will conduct a trash-barge voyage on the Missouri River with community cleanups planned in Brunswick, Jefferson City and St. Joseph in 2014. The clean-ups in Brunswick and Jefferson City will include river education days for local high school students, and will consist of volunteers from across the state of Missouri.
- Ranken Technical College was awarded $1,325 for their “Water World Explorers Camp.” The week-long program is part of the Career Exploration Academy led by Ranken faculty and industry experts targeting economically disadvantaged middle and high school students. Partners in this project include St. Louis City Schools, St. Louis 4 Kids, Grace Hill Settlement House and Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area.
- The St. Joseph Youth Alliance was awarded $2,000 for the Drug Free Community coalition. The “Xtreme Teens” will stress safety through proper disposal of unused prescription medications. Funds will create and implement an awareness campaign to stress the importance of disposing unused medications properly. Partners include the St. Joseph Police Department, St. Joseph School District, and the City of St. Joseph.
- Table Rock Lake Community Service, Inc. was awarded $2,000 for Re-plant Kimberling. This project will restore the native trees and shrubs that were destroyed during the widening of Highway 13 in 2011-2012. Volunteers will be recruited to assist with ones from partner organizations, The Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce and Kimberling City Parks and Recreation.
New Jersey American Water is issuing five grants totaling approximately $36,000 to the following organizations:
- Borough of Highlands, Monmouth County will use its grant for a project to install 100 rain barrels throughout the borough to encourage residents to collect and reuse rain water for watering gardens, agriculture, washing cars, plumbing and to create filtered water.
- Camden Urban Airshed Reforestation Program’s grant will be used for a plan to install 20 street trees in East Camden which will replace 320 square feet of concrete to increase storm water filtration by 15,000 gallons and improve the Delaware Watershed.
- Cranbury Environmental Commission will utilize its grant to construct a rain garden at Village Park parking lot and Brainerd Lake. The rain garden will slow pollutant run-off from the parking lot into the lake.
- Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (Lebanon, NJ) was awarded a grant to install bat boxes near the Round Valley Reservoir. Bats are predators of flying insects, consuming up to 3,000 insects each night. By thinning the insect population, bats help to reduce or stop the use of chemical pesticides which produce harmful run-off into the reservoir.
- Raritan & Millstone Rivers Flood Control Commission will receive a grant to install webcams and a weather station at the confluence of the Raritan and Millstone Rivers to monitor rainfall amounts and weather conditions. The project will allow police and emergency management to view the river and track the flow and height of waters after major storms for the potential to prevent and/or react to flooding conditions.
New York American Water is issuing one grant totaling $5,000 to the following organization:
- The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County will use its grant for the Grow Native|Live Native project, which encourages county residents to think about the health of their environment and engages them in learning about and creating native plant gardens in their homes, businesses and community. Landscaping with native wildflowers and grasses greatly improves the health of the ecosystem, preserves the underground water aquifers, uses fewer fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, is more sustainable and ultimately saves the homeowner money.
Pennsylvania American Water is issuing six grants totaling nearly $35,000 to the following organizations:
- Abington Area Joint Recreation Board, Lackawanna County will host an “Earth Camp” that focuses on environmental education, art and fitness for school children in grades fifth through seventh. Students will experience environmental studies and learn more about the water issues facing the world today.
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Washington County plans to protect and restore section of Dutch Fork, a tributary of the Buffalo Creek, by stabilizing stream banks, enhancing fish habitat and installing riparian buffer to improve water quality.
- Brandywine Valley Association, Chester County will use the funding to develop environmental educational programs for students in the Coatesville Area School District. Children will gain a better understanding of the watershed and learn stewardship practices to sustain the quality of the community’s water resources.
- Londonderry Township, Dauphin County’s grant will support restoration of the riparian buffer along sections of the Swatara Creek, with local volunteers planting native trees and shrubs to vegetate the restored floodplain.
- Pennsylvania Resources Council, Allegheny County will implement a series of household chemical collection events in western Pennsylvania, as well as educate residents about minimizing the amount of waste generated and the health effects of using toxic materials.
- Plains Township, Luzerne County will use the grant to construct a rain garden and nature habitat in its municipal park. The project will provide an educational and educational experience for all ages to learn about sustainability, watershed protection, stormwater management and pollution control.
Tennessee American Water is issuing three grants totaling $8,700 to the following organizations:
- Lookout Mountain Conservancy will utilize its funding for “Environmental Connection: Connecting Youth with Water and Land”, the third phase of a kudzu, trash removal and restoration project with tree-planting on Chattanooga Creek and the Tennessee River.
- Normal Park Museum Magnet – Wireless Water Quality Monitor System: Students and community members will design and implement a wireless water quality monitor system, obtaining real-time data to be shared with local government, non-profits and businesses.
- Tennessee River Gorge Trust – Bird Banding Laboratory and Visitor Pavilion: Bird banding laboratory and visitor pavilion will be constructed. The lab will serve as the hub for long-term Neotropical song-bird inventories, as well as a tool for community engagement through citizen science events.
Virginia American Water is issuing four grants totaling $7,500 to the following organizations:
- Friends of the Lower Appomattox River is receiving $1,000 for an erosion control project on the road leading to the canoe access point. Rocks will be installed to prevent soil erosion.
- Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO) is receiving $2,000 for a water conservation program using rain barrels. FOTO will use the funds to purchase rain barrels and conduct workshops to educate community members on the beneficial use of rain barrels for watering gardens.
- The Prince William Conservation Alliance in Woodbridge is receiving $1,500 for a tree planting program at the Prince William County Dog Park on Minnieville Road. The project is intended to help prevent erosion and slow storm water runoff to Neabsco Creek, improve community appearance in a very visible location, and improve wildlife habitat.
- Indiana University, in Kokomo, Ind. is partnering with Virginia American Water in a characterization study of E. coli in the Appomattox River. The university is receiving $3,000 to study the source of pathogens. Intake river water samples will be analyzed under base flow and high flow conditions using molecular techniques and cultivation methods.
West Virginia American Water will roll out its program later this year.
About American Water
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,600 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 40 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.