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West Virginia Rivers Coalition Receives $80,000 Two-Year Grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment

posted Nov 9, 2015, 5:05 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 5:07 AM ]
West Virginia Rivers Coalition Receives $80,000 Two-Year Grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment

Grant will support the Coalition’s efforts to positively influence West Virginia Water Policies

November 9, 2015 - The West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WV Rivers) today announced a two-year $80,000 grant award from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. The Endowment has supported the Coalition’s work for more than two decades, with over $680,000 in total grants since 1992 to assist the organization in its efforts to advance an independent, science-based approach to regional and statewide water quality discussions that will increase the health and quality of the Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys and beyond.

“This grant award from the Virginia Environmental Endowment is outstanding news for all who value West Virginia’s exceptional rivers,” said Angie Rosser, Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “It will enable us to continue our core mission of promoting responsible policies that protect West Virginia’s water resources for current and future use and enjoyment.”

The latest grant award from the Endowment supports the Coalition’s efforts to provide science-based analysis of proposed policies affecting water quality across the state. Special emphasis is given to protecting headwaters that feed West Virginians’ drinking water supplies. The grant also supports the launch of the Drinking Water Protection Community Engagement Project as well as the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument campaign, and enables the continuation of the West Virginia Water Policy Workgroup, comprised of water policy experts and led by WV Rivers.

As the only statewide organization focused on the conservation and restoration of West Virginia’s rivers and streams, WV Rivers strives to protect and improve water quality by utilizing public participation mechanisms of the Clean Water Act, Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act, and other federal and state laws that allow for citizen engagement in the decisions that affect water quality. WV Rivers also has a long history of assisting and enabling citizens to shape policy and improve public participation in the regulatory process.

The partnership between the Endowment and WV Rivers provided the only independent analysis and suite of recommended reforms in the wake of the 2014 chemical leak and drinking water crisis. Three reports that informed policy decision making were produced and framed the discussion for reforms. Many of the recommendations were adopted by the state legislature in SB 373 in 2014, and in amendments to SB 423 in 2015. 

“On behalf of the Virginia Environmental Endowment Board of Directors, we are honored to continue our long-standing partnership with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition,” said Joseph H. Maroon, Executive Director. “The Coalition works tirelessly to enhance water quality, engage and inform citizens and policymakers, and preserve the quality of West Virginia’s water supplies for generations to come. We are proud to support such an outstanding organization, and credit the contributions of WV Rivers and its many partners for the recent gains made in adding protections to the state’s waters.” 

Founded in 1989 by a diverse group of citizens concerned about diminishing water quality, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and restoring the state’s more than 40,000 miles of rivers and streams. Learn more about WV Rivers by visiting wvrivers.org

The Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) is a private, independent, grant-making foundation based in Richmond, Virginia that is focused on improving the quality of the environment by using its capital, expertise and resources to encourage all sectors to work together to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources and promote environmental literacy. The Endowment was established in 1977 and has made over 1,200 grants, mainly in Virginia. VEE continues to use settlement funds from 1991 to support water related improvements in the Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys of West Virginia and Kentucky. Learn more about VEE by visiting vee.org

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