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Federal Initiative to Restore Bronx River

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A new program has been launched that will support a well-deserved restoration of the Bronx River.

Through a federal, multi-agency initiative, Congressman Jose Serrano announced on Friday, June 24 that the Bronx will be part of a new and unprecedented program to restore the river.

While serving as Congressman, Serrano has directed over $30 million towards the Bronx River restoration, which will be part of a pilot program launched by the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a group of 11 federal agencies that focus on both natural resources and economic development.

“I believe its a testament to the work that we have done over the years, and a sign that greater successes are still to come for these urban waterways,” Serrano said. “This new program is an acknowledgment of the message that we’ve all been creating through the years: environmental restoration restores communities and empowers people.”

The UWFP will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot cities that also include Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, northwest Indiana and Washington, D.C. These federal agencies will partner with local community organizations to revitalize polluted urban waterways and enhance the communities surrounding them.

The UWFP, which is led by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture and the White House Domestic Policy Council, believes that the restorations to the waterways boost local economy and lead to community growth and development.

“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,” said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Urban waters have the potential to support healthy environments, growing business and educational and recreational activities.”

With the revitalization of the Bronx River, one goal is to attract business opportunities to develop more jobs. The Bronx River stretches a total of 24 miles, traversing through parts of Westchester and the Bronx, ultimately emptying into the East River.

This large, federal partnership is in support of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which is aimed making the Federal Government more active in making local communities safer, healthier and accessible places.

“We have found that, beyond the direct benefit of a clean and usable Bronx River, our neighborhoods have been enhanced through the renewed community activism and engagement,” Congressman Serrano said. “We know that our rivers have been a focal point for the renewal of the Bronx, and we are looking forward to further federal engagement.”

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