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For Release: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

$1 Million in DEC Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants Awarded to 24 Organizations Statewide

Grants Help At-Risk Communities Mitigate Environmental Harm

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded 24 Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants to organizations across the state that serve communities facing environmental harm and risk, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"The Department of Environmental Conservation will be providing much-needed funding to two dozen outstanding organizations and projects throughout New York that will provide benefits to environmental justice communities far beyond the value of the grants," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.

The Environmental Justice Grants Program, created with input from the DEC Environmental Justice Advisory Group, helps communities understand and mitigate environmental harms or risks to improve quality of life.

The funding comes from the Environmental Justice Community Impact Research Grant (EJ Grant) program. Launched in 2006, the program helps local organizations with projects to address environmental or public health concerns. The program concentrates on communities that historically have been overburdened by such problems as a high density of industrial emissions, a concentration of contaminated sites; disproportionate noise, air and water pollution; environmental health problems and lack of green space and waterfront access.

Interest in the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant program has grown dramatically. This year, 123 groups from around the state applied for funding. Detailed reviews by DEC staff resulted in 24 grant awards totaling $1 million. Individual awards range from $5,180 to $50,000. A wide variety of projects will be supported this year, including community gardens and green infrastructure, air and water quality monitoring, waste recycling in public housing, lead poisoning prevention, building deconstruction and expansion of an urban aquaponics facility and environmental education for urban and Native American youth.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

New York Metropolitan area - $441,970

  • The Morningside Heights / West Harlem Sanitation Coalition - $25,000 for the "Public Housing Recycling Pilot Program"
  • Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation - $49,991 for the "Gowanus Canal Pilot Sponge Park"
  • The Newtown Creek Alliance - $39,848 for the project titled, "Aircasting"
  • Brooklyn Food Coalition - $48,843 for the project titled, "Joining the Natural World: Gardens in All Our Schools"
  • Roots of Peace Community Garden - $5,180 for the project titled, "Spreading the Roots of Peace"
  • West Harlem Environmental Action - $28,200 for the project titled, "Building Community Capacity to Reduce Lead Poisoning Hazards"
  • The Point Community Development Corp. - $50,000 for the project titled, "The Point's South Bronx Community Green Roof"
  • Eastern Queens Alliance - $50,000 for the "Eastern Queens Alliance Environmental Awareness Community Advocacy Project"
  • Bronx River Alliance - $50,000 for the "Bronx River Education Program"
  • United Community Centers - $49,908 for the project titled, "East New York Farms!"
  • Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corp. - $44,995 for the "NEBHDCo Healthy Green Environment Initiative"

Western New York - $295,280

  • Massachusetts Avenue Project - $50,000 for the "Buffalo Aquaponics Project"
  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper - $50,000 for the "Environmental Justice Education and Citizen Action for Buffalo and Niagara Rivers Project"
  • Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo - $50,000 for the "Community Garden Workshop Series"
  • Salamanca Healthy Homes Committee - $50,000 for the "Salamanca Healthy Homes Project"
  • Groundwork Buffalo - $45,277 for the project titled, "Pelion Community Garden"
  • Valley Community Association - $50,000 for the project titled, "In Our Backyard"

Central New York - $99,970

  • Onondaga Earth Corps and Partnership for Onondaga Creek - $49,967 for the project titled, "Growing Syracuse's Next Generation of Environmental Justice Leaders"
  • Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments - $50,000 for the "Binghamton Urban Farm Expansion and Remediation Project"

Rochester Area - $42,060

  • North East Area Development - $42,060 for the "Building Deconstruction Research and Documentation Project"

Hudson Valley Region - $63,000

  • Poughkeepsie Farm Project - $49,942 for the project titled, "Growing City Seeds"
  • Groundwork Hudson Valley - $13,090 for the project titled, "Stewardship, Training and Restoration in Yonkers Public Housing"

North Country - $49,760

  • Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club - $49,756 for the project titled, "The Documentation of Mohawk Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Aquatic Furbearer Mammals"

Capital Region - $10,367

  • Green Tech Charter High School - $10,367 for the project titled, "Green Tech High Storm Water Management Research"

For a complete list of project descriptions, visit DEC's website.

For more information on the Environmental Justice Grants Program or the Environmental Justice Advisory Group, visit the DEC Office of Environmental Justice website.

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