The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to support community-based organizations in their efforts to collaborate and partner with local stakeholder groups (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical providers, and academia) as they develop and implement solutions that address environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities. The term “underserved community” refers to a community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including minority, low income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations. Awarded projects must demonstrate use of the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Model to support their collaborative efforts during the project period. The long-term goals of the EJCPS Program are to help build the capacity of communities with environmental justice concerns and to create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future.
In an effort to increase outreach to underserved communities in rural areas, the 2018 EJCPS program gave special consideration to applications proposing projects in areas with populations of 50,000 or less that have limited access to public and private resources commonly found in metropolitan areas. These projects are designated under “project location”. Of the 10 total projects selected, 8 are occurring in rural areas (80%).
The 2018 EJCPS program also placed special emphasis on brand new EJCPS recipients. All 10 recipients this year are brand new to the EJCPS program (100%).
EJ Small Grant EJCPS Award Progression
Additionally, a target goal of the EJ Grants program is to promote grantee and community development by encouraging EJ grantees to first manage a $30,000 EJ Small Grant project followed by a $120,000 EJCPS project. This progression tends to demonstrate an increase in organizational and community capacity through effective management of the second larger and longer EJCPS project, especially for organizations that are not as experienced with federal grants. The projects awarded to past EJ Small Grantees are designated under “applicant type”. Of the 10 EJCPS recipients in 2018, 5 are former EJ Small grantees (50%).
Recipient: Amigos Bravos
Applicant Type: Not for Profit
Project Period: 9/1/2018 – 8/31/2020
Award Amount: $120,000
Project Title: The Rio Fernando de Taos Revitalization Collaborative
Project Location: Taos Valley / Community, New Mexico (rural area)
Project Partners: Taos County, Taos Land Trust, Taos Valley Acequia Association, The Nature Conservancy, Town of Taos, and US Forest Service
Environmental Statue(s): Clean Water Act, Section104(b)(3)
Project Type: Water Sampling and Monitoring Project
Project Goal and Description:
Amigos Bravos will work in the rural area of the Taos Valley to address water contamination of the Rio Fernando de Taos. E. coli contamination impairs the entire length of the river and has disproportionately impacted the people of Taos as the water quality has continued to diminish over the years. Year one of the proposed project will focus on determining detailed sources of the on-going E. coli contamination on the Rio Fernando de Taos. While there is much speculation about the sources primarily responsible for high E. coli levels in the Rio Fernando, studies have yet to positively identify the main contributors. The Rio Fernando de Taos Revitalization Collaborative proposes to conduct a microbial source tracking (MST) study in which bacteria genotyping technology will be used to identify the animal group source (human, cattle, dog, beaver, etc.) of bacteria in river water samples. By identifying and focusing resources on the most significant bacteria sources, the Collaborative will be better equipped to plan projects that achieve measurable reductions of E. coli in the river. During year 2 of the project Amigos Bravos will focus on: hiring a watershed group coordinator to organize the group and coordinate its activities, field trips and watershed education activities and trainings for collaborative members and the public, conducting outreach activities, such as the creation of an outreach plan and information materials, and conducting public meetings to establish broad-based, diverse membership.