Five environmental projects, including water improvement in Kenya, water quality sampling and litter pickup in Scott County and bluebell and prairie grass planting in Davenport, have received a total of nearly $8,900 in grants from Iowa American Water.
Since the company's Environmental Grant Program began more than 20 years ago, almost $96,000 has been awarded to projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds, according to a news release from the company.
Here's a closer look.
• Kenya project. Davenport West High STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Boosters will receive $2,000 for the Clean Water for Kenya Initiative & Local Water Education project.
Students and community partners are collaborating on the Kenya work, which is aimed at stopping waterborne illness while maintaining flow rates that will ultimately save lives in that African country.
The project has two focus areas: a filtration system that will be implemented in Kenya and a local/international sanitary water education program.
• Litter pickup. Keep Scott County Beautiful will receive $2,000 to restock supplies for the 16th annual Xstream Cleanup.
Rather than host a single big cleanup day, the new model is to have hundreds of volunteers worth throughout the year in areas of their choosing.
• Water quality sampling. Partners of Scott County Watersheds will receive $1,835 to buy equipment to do water quality sampling, rather than having to borrow from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The equipment will allow the organization to continue its spring, summer and fall "snapshot" volunteer water quality monitoring and contribute to its 20+ years of water quality data.
• Bluebells. River Action, Inc. will receive $1,500 to do a bluebell planting in Davenport's Junge Park. In partnership with the city of Davenport, a section of land will be planted in native prairie and woodland plants. Initial work will include removing invasive plant species growing there now, including honeysuckle, red canary grass, Japanese hops and garlic mustard.
• Prairie grass. Davenport Parks & Recreation will receive $1,500 for its Park Prairies program in which mown turf in multiple parks will be replaced with native grass areas to help with infiltration of storm water. Because of their longer roots, native grasses are better at infiltrating water than short-rooted blue grass.
Projects were picked by judges based on environmental need, innovation, community engagement and sustainability.
“Our (program) is designed to help organizations carry out projects that benefit our waterways, raise awareness about the importance of water in our lives and promote community participation,” Randy Moore, company president, said in the news release.
“We are pleased to support these worthwhile endeavors and extend our appreciation to the individuals and organizations that are making them happen.”
Iowa American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing service to about 216,000 people.
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