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Storm damage recovery

Neighborhood to the River Grant Selection Criteria

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Environmental Services evaluates Neighborhood to the River grant project submissions based on three criteria: watershed and environmental benefits, community involvement and partnerships, and equity and leadership. Find more details about the selection criteria on this page.
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Watershed and Environmental Benefits

Healthy watersheds allow rainwater to soak into the ground, have good water quality, and are healthy for fish, wildlife, and people. To fulfill these criteria, projects could include:

  • Native plants, which help rainwater soak into the ground, slow erosion, and are a valued resource for people and wildlife.
  • Restoring places through actions like depaving (removing pavement) sections of playgrounds and adding green space to neighborhoods.
  • Education about water pollution and prevention.
  • Stewardship of natural areas such as removing invasive plants and replacing them with native species.

Community Involvement and Partnerships

Neighborhood to the River seeks to award funding to projects that create strong partnerships, promote leadership, and connect communities to their watersheds. To fulfill these criteria, projects could:

  • Involve multiple partnerships.
  • Bring together volunteers and participants beyond the project coordinators.
  • Build and/or strengthen relationships among groups and organizations.
  • Foster ongoing partnerships and connections between neighbors and groups.
  • Provide multiple community benefits, such as:
    • Enhance pedestrian safety and circulation
    • Calm traffic
    • Provide or enhance a community amenity
    • Bring community members together for design or installation
    • Connect parks and other facilities
    • Provide public education.

Equity and Leadership of Underrepresented Communities

Neighborhood to the River encourages projects that involve and benefit historically and currently disenfranchised communities, especially those that expand and diversify leadership and participation in watershed stewardship. Neighborhood to the River prioritizes projects that:

  • Are led by or involve meaningful partnerships with people of color, low-income residents, immigrants, youth, elders, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+, and other underrepresented groups.
  • Directly benefit people of color, low-income residents, immigrants, youth, elders, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+, and other underrepresented groups.
  • Educate and involve individuals and groups who have not previously participated in or led watershed stewardship projects.

A Note about Community and Native Gathering Gardens

Applications for community and native gathering garden projects that contribute to watershed health are welcome. The following measures can make your application more competitive and contribute to the health and success of your garden and the watershed.

Project componentHow it can help your gardenHow it helps our environment
Remove hard surfaces such as asphalt, compact soil, and lawn turf. Keep paths small.Replaces unneeded pavement or lawn with vegetables and native plants.Allows water to soak into the ground. Keeps stormwater out of sewer pipes. Reduces pollution carried to rivers by runoff.
Native plants and trees, including edible and medicinal plants.Provides shade, supports healthy soil, and creates habitat for pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies) that will help your garden grow.Restores habitat for native species and helps connect wildlife corridors. Trees store more carbon dioxide, help reduce air temperature, and have deeper roots, which allow more water to soak in.
Manage stormwater runoff and erosion with native plant rain garden areas and barriers around garden beds and paths.Prevents flooding in your garden.Controls excess stormwater and erosion, and naturally recharges groundwater.
Soil rehabilitation, including soil and mulch amendments.Creates healthy soil for garden plants.Improves habitat for soil creatures (worms and bugs), and allows more water to soak in.
Watershed and environmental education, including signage, materials, and professional educators.Helps garden volunteers and neighbors understand how growing food and improving watershed health go hand-in-hand.Expands the environmental benefits by encouraging watershed stewardship in the wider community.
Disconnect roof downspouts from the sewer and build a rain garden, bioswale, or collect rainwater.Provides water for a vegetable garden.Reduces load on stormwater pipes and filters water naturally.