U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- American Rivers, the nation's leading
river conservation organization, recently honored 16 award-winning urban
river restoration projects that have made outstanding contributions to the restoration
of damaged rivers throughout the United States.
These river restoration projects, led by grassroots organizations,
located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachussetts,
Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
According to American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder, all these
projects are providing leadership that is greatly needed in the national effort
to restore degraded rivers in the U.S.
"Urban rivers are the most neglected and degraded rivers
in the nation," said Wodder. "Historic patterns of settlement and industrial
development along rivers have brought prosperity to our country and destruction
to our rivers. Long ago, the nation turned its back on our cities' rivers, leaving
the poor and indigent, who could not afford to live elsewhere, to deal
with the cumulative effects of centuries of abuse. American Rivers believes
it is time to rediscover our neglected urban rivers and reclaim them,"
she said. The announcement of these awards kicked off a two-day National
Urban Rivers Symposium in Washington, D.C. attended by over 100 urban river
restoration leaders. Much of the conference focused on rebuilding
urban communities through river restoration.
Wodder hopes the current grassroots efforts at rehabilitating
hundreds of streams in cities nationwide will provide a useful model for those
interested in restoring their own local rivers and streams. American Rivers,
she said, offers a restoration model for the future, where river advocates
"work together with corporations, federal, state and local agencies,
church groups, chambers of commerce, youth groups, service corps -- Democrats
and Republicans alike -- to protect and restore the streams in their
Wodder pointed out that too many of our rivers are polluted
now lie wasted. Yet these very rivers provide most urban drinking water,
as well as recreation, and fishing. Restored rivers, she said, help make
cities livable again, offering many urban residents a significant connection
to nature, and providing enormous benefits for public health, recreation, economic
growth, and spiritual well-being, while helping to decrease crime and other social ills.
In addition, river restoration projects can create jobs,
the economy, and revitalize communities, said Wodder. Rather than
roll back the environmental progress of the past 25 years to the days when the
Cuyahoga River caught fire, American Rivers said the U.S. needs to push
ahead to restore urban rivers.
American Rivers called for full funding for several agencies
programs crucial to urban river restoration, including the Environmental
Protection Agency, National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, Urban
Rivers Resources Partnership, and the stateswide component of the Land
and Water Conservation Fund.
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