Baltimore Among 7 Cities Selected For Urban Waters Initiative

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Dozens of cities made their best pitch to President Obama’s administration, but only Baltimore and a few others were chosen for a cleanup of urban waterways.

Alex DeMetrick reports the middle branch of the Patapsco River was the local winner.

The Baltimore Rowing Club depends on a stretch of the Patapsco River. Friday, it’s all about beginners in the club’s summer rowing camp. 

Locals also use it.

James Seibles has been crabbing at the river for 40 years.

The catch is good. Although there’s plenty, Seibles goes out of his way not to net.

“You see there’s a lot of trash around here.  I mean anything for the environment would help,” said Seibles.

 That help might have arrived with an announcement from the Obama administration that the middle branch of the Patapsco has been selected as an urban waterway ready for renewal.

“Whether it’s New Orleans, Chicago or the wonderful city of Baltimore, cities are built around water. The citizens have a right to access that waterfront, and when they get there, they should find a clean and healthy environment,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

A number of federal agencies will partner to make it happen, including the U.S. Agriculture and the Interior Departments.

“There are some dollars from the government, but a lot of it will also be from private sector development that will take place here,” said Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Those who make use of this river are already seeing changes.

“They’re trying to get a new school over there, and they’re trying to expand the program here, so more and more people are going to be using this waterway,” said Adam Destefano, Baltimore Rowing Club.

Plans are already on the drawing board for major residential, retail development and a cleaner river.

Among the other cities selected for the urban waters program are Los Angeles, New York, Denver, New Orleans and Washington.

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