BROOKLYN —- Five Brooklyn organizations were among the 24 that were given Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced this week.
“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 Brooklyn organizations are:
* Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation — $49,991 for the “Gowanus Canal Pilot Sponge Park” to mitigate storm runoff waters.
* The Newtown Creek Alliance — $39,848 for “Aircasting,” a platform for recording, mapping and sharing environmental data.
* Brooklyn Food Coalition — $48,843 for a project titled, “Joining the Natural World: Gardens in All Our Schools.”
* United Community Centers — $49,908 for “East New York Farms,” a project to grow vegetables and at the same time introduce more local residents to fresh produce.
* Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corp. — $44,995 for the “NEBHDCo Healthy Green Environment Initiative.”
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 is being supported this year, including community gardens and green infrastructure, air and water quality monitoring, waste recycling in public housing, lead poisoning prevention and more.