American Water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announced today the recipients of the company’s 2018 Environmental Grant Program awards. American Water has committed to support $188,000 to 49 projects throughout their service areas in 11 states.
“Our commitment to providing our customers with clean, safe, reliable water service also means that we share our customers’ commitment to protecting our environment. Through this unique grant program, we’ve seen truly inspiring and significant projects come to life and make a measurable and vital impact on the protection and improvement of public water supplies in the communities we serve,” said Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water. “These projects continue to better the lives of millions of people—as well as the environment—because of their focus on sustainability.”
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.
After 13 years, American Water’s environmental grant program has provided more than $1.5 million of needed support for 462 projects to help improve, restore and protect our valuable natural resources through partnerships.
The 2018 grant recipients, which are located throughout American Water’s service areas, include the following:
Illinois American Water issued ten grants totaling $22,750 to the following organizations:
- Foundation for Ohio River Education received a $1,000 grant to fund the Ohio River Sweep. The funds will supply gloves and other materials to volunteers cleaning up the Ohio River.
- Bolingbrook Park District used its $4,000 grant for the DuPage River Ecological Improvements, which focuses on removing invasive species from along the DuPage River and restoring the natural landscape. The project will reduce the occurrence of invasive species to less than 10% in the area. In addition, native planting will restore the natural landscape.
- Lincoln College utilized a $3,645 grant to increase watershed awareness, specifically stream-bank erosion along Sugar Creek. The funding will be used to install a boardwalk to make the area handicap accessible.
- Nature at the Confluence, Inc. in South Beloit received a $3,000 grant for the Kelly Creek Clean-Up. The project will engage community volunteers to clean up Kelly Creek, a major water asset on the Nature At The Confluence, Inc. property. Stream monitoring and water quality testing before and after the clean-up with measure results to educate about the impact of watershed clean ups.
- Pekin Park District will use its $2,000 grant for the continued Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project to eliminate invasive species along the Lick Creek corridor. Funds will be used to restore native plants to improve forest quality and help to control creek-side erosion.
- Peoria Park District will receive two grants for two different projects. A $730 grant will support the Heal the Hill Prairie at Forest Park Nature Center. Volunteers will remove invasive species and restore the bluffs, decreasing erosion and sedimentation of the river. An $875 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling.
- Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum will utilize a $2,000 grant for the Journey to Sea project. The project is a collaboration between the Peoria PlayHouse, Bradley University and The Sun Foundation. Together they will create a PlayHouse art exhibit to illustrate the devastating impact of plastic pollution on water.
- Senior Services Plus, Inc. in Godfrey will receive a $3,500 grant to construct a detention/infiltration bioswale and rain garden. This project is an extension of their initiative to grow their own food to feed local senior citizens.
- Woodridge School District #68 will use a $2,000 grant for their permeable paver parking lot at Meadowview Elementary School. The project will decrease storm water runoff.
Indiana American Water issued four grants totaling $12,650 to the following organizations:
- The City of Terre Haute is being awarded $5,000 for its Stormwater Community Watch Program. The City of Terre Haute is partnering with Team Storm, a local group of children involved with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League, a not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
- The Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality will receive $4,000to purchase an enclosed mobile trailer for equipment used as a part of numerous hands-on field learning experiences and activities on the Wabash River.
- Floyd County Farm Bureauis receiving $3,200to develop a water station as part of the My Little Farm interactive exhibit at the Floyd County 4-H Fair during the first week of June each year. The exhibit uses hands-on experiences to teach the public about a variety of farm issues. The water station will educate the public on how to keep our streams and waterways clean, avoid pollution in storm water runoff, and how to safely recycle materials and substances that might otherwise end up in storm runoff.
- Shelbyville High School Earth Clubis being awarded $450to engage more than six dozen high school students in a project that provides native trees to local residents. The project will also allow students to prune, mulch and plant trees in the organization’s nursery and maintain those planted throughout the watershed from previous years.
Iowa American Water issued four grants totaling $8,000 to the following organizations:
- River Action, Inc. will be awarded a $2,800 grant for its Urban Revitalization project. River Action and proud partners will construct the alleyway found between Federal and Tremont Streets into a permeable alley to address nutrient runoff and urban flooding. As the first of its kind in Davenport, the project will act as a demonstration model for similar installations in the future to educate the community on the importance of best management practices.
- Nahant Marsh Education Centerwill use its $2,000 grant for its Clean Up and Bio Blitz program. Nahant Marsh will host a Bio Blitz and three clean ups on a new 40-acre parcel. During the Bio Blitz, all species found will be documented and at least 250 people educated. Volunteers will also help up clean up at least 500 tires and other items discarded into the wetland.
- Keep Scott County Beautiful/Xstream Clean-Up will be granted $1,700 for its Xstream Water Sampling Team project. Beginning in spring 2018, the Xstream Water Sampling Team will set up to conduct water quality testing three times per year at 48 (or more) sites after the State of Iowa was unable to continue funding for the IOWATER program.
- Clinton Substance Abuse Council/Gateway ImpACT Coalitionwill be awarded $1,500 for its Clinton County Safe Medication Disposal Project. The effort seeks to raise awareness of the environmental and public health effects of improper medication storage and disposal in Clinton County through a youth led social marketing campaign and youth leadership training. The goal is to increase knowledge of and participation in the Medication Drop Box Program with non-senior citizens.
Kentucky American Water issued two grants totaling $8,424 for the following projects:
- Floracliff Nature Sanctuary’s project will involve protecting and treating approximately 88 ash trees in the Elk Lick watershed with assistance from state and local partners, including the Kentucky Division of Forestry, LexingtonFayette Urban County Government, SiteOne Landscape Supply and the University of Kentucky.
- The Friends of Stoner Creek’s project involves a comprehensive outreach effort to engage Bourbon County citizens of all ages in protecting and preserving Stoner Creek, the source of drinking water supply for Paris and Millersburg. The effort includes waterway-focused art activities with schoolchildren, a community event highlighting the importance of Stoner Creek, and efforts to educate citizens about proper septic system maintenance.
Missouri American Water issued six grants totaling $26,200 to the following organizations:
- Missouri Stream Team/Paddle Mo’s grant will support Stream Teams United’s Paddle Mo event, in which paddlers come together to celebrate the final 100 miles of the Missouri River as it joins the Mississippi River.
- Wildcat Glades Friends Group will receive a grant to manage the Shoal Creek Water Festival 2018, which brings together people from four states to learn about water quality and conservation through hands-on activities and educational booths.
- Forest ReLeaf of Missouri will utilize its grant to enhance the environmental benefits of land it manages by planting a pollinator garden. This garden will educate visitors, promote native plants and support native bee and butterfly populations.
- Great Rivers Habitat Alliance is receiving a grant to host a volunteer stewardship day in the Meramec Watershed near Arnold to remove debris from multiple floods in 2016 and 2017.
- Missouri River Relief will use its funds to lead a community-based cleanup of trash from the shores of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in St. Charles and St. Louis counties.
- St. Joseph Youth Alliance will receive a grant for Project WET!, which brings together participating youth to explore and investigate aquatic ecosystems by taking water samples for testing, picking up trash from streams and producing informational literature about the importance of clean watersheds.
New Jersey American Water issued four grants totaling $37,500 to the following organizations:
- The Borough of Fanwoodwill use a $7,500 grant to replant and restore the banks of Robinson’s Branch (a tributary of the Rahway River) to help mitigate downstream flood risks and naturally diffuse water contaminants.
- The Camden SMART Initiative will use its $10,000 grant to support its Business Engagement for Green Infrastructure Systems Maintenance project, which will assist with the management and diversion of stormwater runoff from the City of Camden’s combined sewer system into constructed green infrastructure projects.
- The New Jersey Tree Foundation will use its $10,000 grant to implement the Trees for Irvingtonproject – a watershed protection project in which the Foundation’s Renaissance Tree Program works cooperatively alongside the Irvington Department of Public Works in order to plant at least 30 new 2-2.5” caliper trees in the town. Each tree and corresponding tree pit is anticipated to intercept approximately 13,650 gallons of stormwater within the first year of planting in efforts to further improve the Elizabeth Watershed.
- Raritan High School will use its $10,000 grant to support the creation of an Outdoor Environmental Learning Lab for students. In partnership with the Hazlet Environmental Commission, the project will transform existing underutilized courtyards at the school into a unique outdoor lab. The learning lab will then be utilized by teachers to educate students about sustainable practices in the school’s environmental science and biology courses.
New York American Water issued one grant totaling $5,000 to the following organization:
- Battenkill Conservancy of Cambridge received a $5,000 grant as part of the company’s annual Environmental Grant Program. This grant will assist the Battenkill Conservancy—a primarily all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and building awareness for the protection of water resources—in funding its Adopt-A-Stream Program.
Pennsylvania American Water issued six grants totaling nearly $40,000 to the following organizations:
- Allegheny Land Trustwill use its grant to plant 300 native plants along the riparian habitat of Wingfield Pines, and train “Weed Whackers” volunteers on invasive plant identification and management.
- Berks County Conservation Districtwill use its grant tosupport tree planting and environmental educational signage along Cacoosing and Wyomissing Streams. Volunteers will also complete stream cleanups along a one-mile area of the streams.
- Carnegie Shade Tree Commissionwill use its grant to apply an innovative material called “biochar,” which is a form of charcoal, to urban soil planters and gardens. The group will test the benefits of biochar in improving water quality and aiding in stormwater retention.
- Lackawanna River Conservation Associationwill use its funds to implement a rain garden program and contest in the Lackawanna River Watershed. The project will include public education for best management practices for bio-retention.
- National Audubon Society, John James Audubon Center at Mill Grovewill receive a grant to add1,000 native plants along Stony Creek and Schuylkill River to reduce stormwater runoff. Local Norristown area school students will grow plants in a greenhouse and create demonstration gardens using native plants.
- Warren County Conservation Districtwill conduct weekly water quality monitoring on Barton Run and plant a riparian buffer zone to determine benefits of riparian zones to water quality and health of streams.
Tennessee American Water issued four grants totaling $10,000 to the following organizations:
- Hamilton County Coalition was awarded $2,500 to expand its community drug take-back. The grant allows them to continue to educate citizens on the proper disposal of medications to keep them out of the environment as well as potential misuse in their homes.
- Lookout Mountain Conservancywill use its $3,000 grant for watershed protection through a unique internship program with underserved students from urban schools. Students learn in the outdoors and work on projects at the conservancy that contributes to watershed protection and cultivates environmental awareness.
- Kids for Clean Water will use its $3,000grant monies for stream stabilization/water quality through a neighborhood program. The organization has engaged various partners including residents, neighborhood schools and churches to restore the habitat along Mountain Creek. Protection of the watershed provides both stream health benefits and enhance native biodiversity.
- John Ross Commons was awarded $1,500 for the restoration of a park with spring/watershed protection. The citizen group Redev Workshop started a community park rehab project in Rossville. The central point of the park is a spring-fed pond, which is in need of an aerating fountain to maintain the water quality in the pond and the life it sustains. The park project also includes engaging the school system to utilize the public space as a learning lab through an outdoor eco-education program.
Virginia American Water issued three grants totaling $7,500 to the following organizations:
- James River Association will receive $4,500 to introduce and implement meaningful watershed environmental experiences in the Hopewell City Public Schools and New Kent County Public Schools. The environmental grant will help provide scholarships for students in the aforementioned school districts to attend the James River Ecology School.
- Friends of the Rappahannock will receive $1,500 to help expand its Rappahannock River Oyster Reef Restoration Program. This community-based habitat restoration program provides hands-on learning opportunities for local students and volunteers to restore oyster reefs and improve water quality in the Rappahannock River, an important tributary of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
- Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO) will receive $1,500 for the organization’s community gardens and watershed workshops. FOTO regularly donates rain barrels and community gardens to schools and churches, and this year, the organization will sponsor an Eagle Scout garden program. In addition to these programs, FOTO will also use the grant for its Occoquan River cleanups.
West Virginia American Water will issue five grants totaling $10,000 to the following organizations:
- 25045/Town of Clendenin will receive $3,200 to support the Elk River Spring Watershed Cleanup.
- Boone County Career and Technical Center will use its $2,276 grant for the Walhonde Water Trail Cleanup.
- Davis Creek Watershed Association received $1,200 to support a water quality internship.
- Marshall University was issued $1,500 for the Explore Academy rainwater harvesting project.
- Martha Elementary School received $2,000 for a classroom living stream.