Photo Release -- RiverRestoration's $27 Million Grand Rapids Project Selected for Urban Waters Federal Partnership


CARBONDALE, Colo., May 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two years ago a group of local Michigan kayakers approached Colorado-based river engineering firm, RiverRestoration, to inquire about the possibility of designing a whitewater park in downtown Grand Rapids. Working together the boaters and the firm developed a bold, comprehensive plan to revitalize the riverway and restore the rapids to Grand Rapids. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced that the Grand Rapids project is one of 11 newly selected locations added to the Urban Federal Waters Federal Partnership.

Artist rendering of the proposed recreational enhancements to the Grand River through Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

"The Urban Waters designation is a major milestone for the Grand Rapids project," states RiverRestoration's president and principal river engineer, Jason Carey. "What started out as an idea for a couple of whitewater features has become a huge revitalization project for downtown Grand Rapids, with the support and resources of the federal government."

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is designed to reconnect urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts to improve the nation's water systems and promote their economic, environmental and social benefits. The partnership includes 13 federal agencies working to promote more efficient and effective use of federal resources through better coordination and targeting of federal investments.

The 11 new projects added to the Urban Waters Federal Partnership will be announced during a press conference today in Grand Rapids. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, DOI Deputy Secretary David Hayes and USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee, will make the announcement. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, and many local business and civic leaders will also be on hand for the announcement.

The 11 new project locations are:

  • Big River and Meramec River watersheds near St. Louis, Mo
  • Delaware River Basin that covers Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., Chester, Pa., and Wilmington, Del.
  • Grand River in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Green-Duwamish River in Seattle
  • Mystic River watershed in Greater Boston
  • Martin Pena Canal in San Juan, P.R.
  • Middle Blue River in Kansas City, Mo.
  • Middle Rio Grande in Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Passaic River in Newark, N.J.
  • Proctor Creek watershed in Atlanta
  • Western Lake Erie Basin near Toledo, Ohio

RiverRestoration has been contracted to envision the Grand Rapids project and provide design and engineering expertise by Grand Rapids Whitewater, a non-profit organization comprised of individuals, paddling clubs, fishermen and businesses dedicated to putting the rapids back in Grand Rapids. Together they have created a comprehensive plan for the river's restoration that includes the removal of five dams, the addition of recreational enhancements and improvements to fisheries and the general aesthetic of the river.

CONTACT: Ian Anderson, Backbone Media 970-963-4873 ext. 117Source: RiverRestoration