The Portland City Council has approved Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grants totaling $100,000 to 13 community groups for projects to improve watershed health. CWSP provides grants of up to $10,000 to engage volunteers in stormwater management and watershed restoration projects.
The program is a partnership between Environmental Services and Portland State University. Since 1995, CWSP has granted more than $1 million for watershed projects and helped organize more than 40,000 volunteers to work on community projects.
“Community Watershed Stewardship grants are a good investment,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish. “They support innovative neighborhood projects that help us manage stormwater, and every dollar invested in these community partnerships leverages three dollars in volunteer time and in-kind contributions.”
The program also helps the Bureau of Environmental Services comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The EPA issues permits that require cities to develop programs to reduce stormwater pollution. The EPA recognizes that those programs are more effective when community members and groups join in. Public information, public involvement and public participation are all stormwater permit requirements.
CWSP projects support Portland’s green infrastructure by providing a range of functions including rainwater infiltration, water quality improvement, stream restoration, pavement removal, watershed data collection and flood mitigation. CWSP grants will fund these 13 projects this year:
- Depave Saint Peter & Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church - $10,000 to remove parking lot pavement and add a rain garden planted with native vegetation.
- Dharma Rain Zen Center Siskiyou Community Garden - $7,448 to continue work with Madison High School, Groundwork Portland and neighbors to redevelop a brownfield into a native plant pollinator and food garden.
- Linnton Neighborhood Association Restoration - $6,200 to continue work with Portland Parks & Recreation and the neighborhood on restoration, outreach and pollution reduction on Linnton Creek in Forest Park.
- Columbia Slough Watershed Council Youth Leadership in Restoration - $8,600 to engage youth leaders from the Multnomah Youth Cooperative and students from north Portland schools to restore three acres along the Columbia Slough.
- Habitat for Humanity Cully Rain Gardens in the Home and on the Street - $9,940 to work with Verde and Our 42nd Avenue Prosperity Initiative to identify low income homeowners with stormwater problems, build rain gardens and provide youth leadership opportunities.
- Zomi Community Youth Garden and Watershed Project - $6,000 to give Zomi and Burmese refugees, including youth and children, opportunities to learn about the Columbia Slough and to work on gardening projects.
- Friends of Tryon Creek Environmental Education for All - $8,700 to engage the Markham Elementary School SUN after-school program and the REACH Youth$ave Program in environmental education and restoration activities.
- Southwest Neighborhoods African Youth Community Organization Watershed Team - $6,000 to continue a partnership to provide opportunities for youth in watershed restoration.
- Lents Springwater Habitat Restoration Project - $9,875 to Lents elementary school students and youth mentors from Project YESS to continue working with Portland Parks on restoration and cleanup activities along the Springwater Trail.
- Oregon Bhutanese Community Organization Community Garden - $6,000 to the Bhutanese community to engage seniors and youth to work in the community garden and provide youth leadership opportunities.
- Rose CDC Lents Youth Initiative - $9,885 to Rose Community Development, Green Lents and OPAL to hire interns to lead community improvement projects and participate in monitoring and data collection for Green Lents watershed heath projects.
- Portland Youth Builders (PYB) Educational Ecoroof - $5,352 to PYB students to construct an ecoroof over a dumpster at their school to reduce pollution and stormwater runoff.
- Iraqi Society of Oregon Mesopotamians on the Banks of the Willamette - $6,000 to provide environmental education through water quality monitoring, restoration projects and canoe paddling.
The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.