Groundwork Jacksonville announced today that the local environmental trust was awarded a $250,000 National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA for the McCoys Creek restoration project. Groundwork is developing a plan that restores McCoys Creek to a natural channel design to prevent flooding, improve the waterway’s health and water quality, create habitat for wildlife and identify locations for recreational amenities for the community.
“We are honored to be included in this inaugural grant slate of projects aimed at improving the resiliency of our coastal waterways,” said Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville. “NFWF and NOAA are on the forefront of environmental resiliency and their recognition validates our approach to natural channel design and engaging the community in the process.”
NFWF, in partnership with NOAA, launched the NCRF in 2018 to support on-the-ground projects that engage communities and reduce their vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, wildfires, drought and extreme weather through strengthening natural ecosystems that also benefit fish and wildlife. The McCoys Creek grant is one of 35 awarded, totaling $28.9 million to advance innovative nature-based approaches to improve the resilience of coastal communities in 22 states and Puerto Rico. A complete list of the 2018 grants made through the NCRF is available here.
“My administration is committed to the process of identifying and implementing long term solutions that will aid and support the restoration of McCoys Creek,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “Funds from this grant will bolster Groundwork Jacksonville’s ongoing efforts to bring innovative, green solutions to the McCoys Creek project, and other urban environmental issues. Public-private partnerships like this increase revenue support that helps boost our capacity to maintain and improve the quality of life for our citizens. ”
For the grant, Groundwork is required to provide $425,903.88 in matching funds and in-kind services. To date, Groundwork has raised more than $200,000 including $84,600 from the Environmental Protection Board; $58,400 from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and $25,000 from The Haskell Foundation. In-kind services include a typography study and hydrology modeling provided by the City.
About McCoys Creek Restoration Plan
Once the centerpiece of the historic neighborhoods just west of downtown, McCoys Creek has become a neglected and forgotten eyesore that floods nearby roads, homes and businesses during heavy North Florida rainfall. The City of Jacksonville has budgeted more than $50 million over the next three years to implement stormwater management, trails and park improvements and has invited Groundwork Jacksonville to develop a plan that integrates natural channel design and green infrastructure to improve creek function, water quality, wildlife habitat and recreation.
Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. (Wood) in partnership with SCAPE, Landscape Architecture DPC is developing the McCoys Creek Restoration plan for Groundwork, which impacts approximately 142 acres of surrounding land including Hollybrook Park and Brooklyn Park, and approximately 2.8 miles of creek.
Groundwork is engaging residents through neighborhood meetings and outreach events like the recent McCoys Creek Fest to better understand how residents currently, and/or would like to interact with the creek and what amenities, access and green space they want to see included in the plan.
About Groundwork Jacksonville
Groundwork Jacksonville, Inc., is the city’s primary nonprofit organization specifically created to restore our urban creeks and clean, redevelop and convert contaminated land into parks, playgrounds, trails, and other public greenspace. Groundwork Jacksonville is a partnership between the City of Jacksonville, the US National Park Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Groundwork USA. Groundwork Jacksonville is one of 20 Trusts across the country, the only Trust in Florida and the first in the southeastern United States.
Groundwork’s mission is to build and connect Jacksonville’s Emerald Necklace, an idea championed by famed architect Henry Klutho in the early 20th Century. When complete the Emerald Necklace will encompass approximately 30-miles of new and existing trails, greenways and parks that encircle the urban core and link at least 14 historic neighborhoods and downtown to Hogans Creek, McCoys Creek, the S-Line Rail Trail and the Northbank and Southbank riverwalks. Groundwork is currently working with the PATH Foundation, the organization responsible for building more than 270 miles of trails in Georgia, to develop the Emerald Necklace Trail Master Plan.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $4.8 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join NOAA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our other social media channels.