Water Trails 101: Get on the Right Course

Join the National Water Trails Learning Network to step through the phases of water trail development, discuss the challenges and successes faced when creating and sustaining river access, and dive into a case study of a successful national water trail.

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Advancing One Water Through Arts and Culture: A Blueprint for Action

This report compiles informative case studies, focusing on programs that have successfully incorporated artists, art, and culture into their place-based, transformative approaches. These programs aimed to address affordability issues, make connections between people and their environment, promote holistic water resource management, increase community participation, mitigate and remediate damages, integrate community needs into infrastructure, and support community activism.

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LA River Report Card: Heal the Bay Encourages Public Health and Community Engagement

With new water uses in these sections of the LA River and more revitalization on the horizon, water quality monitoring for public health and community engagement becomes chiefly important. Heal the Bay – an organization based in Santa Monica, California – has a strong history promoting environmental awareness and advocating for public health through their Beach Report Card program. Over the years they have found that when people are informed about water quality issues, they are more motivated to take care of their environment. In cooperation with students from Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) and funded by EPA’s Urban Waters small grant program, Heal the Bay expanded this initiative to create a River Report Card for the LA River and other freshwater areas where people recreate and swim.

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Combining Service Learning and Recreation for Stewardship

| New Orleans

Service learning is a powerful tool for connecting people and their communities to local parks and natural areas. To celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service, the REI Foundation partnered with the National Park Foundation to fund projects that introduce underserved, inner-city youth to their nearby national parks and engage them in service projects to improve them. The project purpose is to foster stewardship among participants, help them to discover opportunities for outdoor recreation, and instill the value of nature and our nations’ parks—both national and local.

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Crowdsourcing Water Quality Data through Mobile Apps

Monitoring of our waterways is critical to identify issues of concern, to evaluate restoration projects’ success, and to gauge changes over time. New technologies are continually shaping the way we collect data, providing water quality monitors with new capabilities and … Continued

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An Equitable Water Future: a National Briefing Paper

This U.S. Water Alliance publication summarizes the overarching and regional challenges that demonstrate the need for more equitable approaches, then outlines the “three pillars of equity” based on USWA’s original research, as well as data from PolicyLink. The report goes … Continued

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Gentrification and Residential Mobility in Philadelphia

By focusing on Philadelphia and comparing this city’s mobility rates with other gentrification and displacement studies, it becomes evident that the effects of gentrification are extremely complex and can affect populations in a variety of ways depending on income level and other demographics. 

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Urban Stream Team: Freshwater Recreation Monitoring

| Los Angeles, CA

Recreation in streams and rivers is a popular activity in the Los Angeles region. Yet, there is a lack of data on the water quality of these freshwater recreational areas creating possible public health risks. Heal the Bay proposes to … Continued

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Leaders in Community Engagement

| Atlanta, GA

With its roots in community struggle for environmental justice, the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA has grown into a dynamic watershed education, advocacy and stewardship organization. WAWA arose from community efforts to halt discriminatory waste water treatment practices in West … Continued

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Restoring the Wabash River in the Heart of Indiana

The Wabash River, which is Indiana’s state river, has a rich economic and cultural history. As a tributary of the Ohio River, it is part of the upper reaches of the 1,245,000-square-mile Mississippi River Basin, and so was a vital navigation and trade route for French traders traveling between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Emerald Necklace: Connecting the Mountains to the Sea

The San Gabriel River drains a 713-mile watershed in the San Gabriel Mountains, flowing as far south as Long Beach, where it enters Alamitos Bay as a tidal river. It shares its watershed with two other major rivers: the Los Angeles and the Santa Ana.

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Connecting a River to the Fabric of a City’s Culture and History

The headwaters of the San Antonio River originate in Bexar County, from which it begins a 240-mile journey through six counties toward San Antonio Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. From Spain’s colonization efforts to the emergence of San Antonio as the second most populous city in Texas, the area’s rich history and culture have been shaped by the San Antonio River.

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Youth Engagement on the Rio Grande: A Refuge for the Neighborhood

| Taos, NM

The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, located in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the first US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) refuge in the Southwest to be designated an “urban refuge.” With funding from the US EPA Urban Waters Program, Amigos Bravos partnered with area organizations to engage youth directly in water quality monitoring in the Rio Grande and adjacent irrigation ditches. Many of the youth had never seen the river before, much less interacted with it.

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Albuquerque youth learn about stormwater and watershed health

Groundwork Elizabeth: Reconnecting the City and the River

| Elizabeth, NJ

The long-term vision for the Elizabeth River Trail project in Elizabeth, New Jersey is to connect people with the natural environment in the most densely populated region of the country. Through signage and service learning events, residents and visitors will learn about ecological restoration plans for the river and become environmental stewards of this valuable resource. Ultimately, the trail will tie into the regional network of greenways already established and under construction.

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Groundwork Elizabeth Green Team students use a recently installed lookout point to view the Elizabeth River. Photo: Groundwork Elizabeth.

Reawakened Beauty: Place-Based Learning on the Jordan River

| Salt Lake County, UT

In 2008, many Utah organizations came together to develop a long-range plan for the Jordan River that laid out a vision for a revitalized river corridor. The Jordan River Commission was created to spearhead this plan, and it has been successful in building partnerships with organizations now working together to implement this vision. These collaborations have led to a new public appreciation for the river corridor as a recreational amenity and opportunity for conservation, environmental education, and community building.

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Jordan River, Salt Lake County, Utah. Photo: Jordan River Commission.

River Ambassadors – Future of the L.A. River

| Los Angeles, CA

Youth from different areas in Los Angeles are creating positive change along the LA River through the River Ambassador program; a youth leadership and education program of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). MRCA wanted to try out a program that was focused solely on the LA River and the factors impacting the health of the river. With EPA Urban Waters funding, MRCA was able to make this a reality.

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Citizen-led Monitoring of Urban Wetland Restoration in New Orleans

The Citizen-led Monitoring of Urban Wetland Restoration in New Orleans creates active wetland advocates by placing technology into community members’ hands, especially in those of low-income Lake Pontchartrain residents. This effort was supported in part by a $50,000 Urban Waters Small Grant funded by EPA.

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Transforming Mill Creek

| Cincinnati, OH

Twenty years ago, in some inner-city stretches of Mill Creek, the only living things you could find were blood worms, sludge worms, and leeches. In the summertime, fish kills were common. Carp that ventured into the stream from the Ohio River would flop onto the stream banks and die. Many species of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife
vanished from the river corridor for over 100 years because their habitat and food sources had been destroyed by intense urbanization.

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Stormwater and Sewer Overflows “Sexy?”–Effective Messaging in Galveston Bay

Water quality is not the most zany or attractive topic in which to engage citizens. They know it’s important, but how, really, can they affect change? The Galveston Bay Foundation has launched a successful suite of programs —matching playful and provacative messaging with down-to-earth behaviors—that will empower local citizens to improve water quality in the bay.

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