Dallas – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with the North American Development Bank (NADBank), announced the funding for 11 projects totaling $791,225 to be implemented along the U.S.-Mexico border states of Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León.
These projects are funded under the U.S.-Mexico Border 2025 program, whose mission is to protect the environment and public health for residents along the U.S.-Mexico border region. The projects meet the objectives of the program: reduce air pollution; improve water quality; promote sustainable materials management and waste management; and improve joint preparedness for and responses to environmental emergencies.
“The new 2025 program will not only advance public health and the environment in our nation, it will do the same for our neighbors along the U.S. Mexico border as well, said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “The border program remains an important element of both nations to support residents who are suffering from exposure and contamination. It is imperative that national, federal and state officials prioritize citizens health in order to live in a pollution-free world. I would like to thank Mexican officials for their partnership and for placing their trust in EPA.”
We are pleased to continue working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Border 2025 Program, to support communities and institutions on both sides of the border in developing projects and initiatives, including those aimed at educating and training residents to take care of the local environment and their health,” commented NADBank Managing Director Calixto Mateos Hanel. “The large number of applications received for funding from this program confirms that the public is interested in helping improve living conditions in the region”
Border 2025 Project Descriptions:
Texas A&M University, School of Public Health will conduct a project which aims to increase knowledge on reducing exposure to lead in Texas Head Start Centers. The lead curriculum will be distributed through a virtual platform to Head Start Centers, parents, 30 Head Start Center directors, staff, and community health workers in the area.
Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) will work to increase awareness on the public health effects associated with exposure to high levels of ozone and particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the El Paso, Texas – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua air basin. This project will engage and empower the local youth by providing them with the tools to learn, collect, and disseminate information to peers about air quality in their area.
Presidencia Municipal Matamoros aims at raising awareness in five rural communities in Matamoros, Tamaulipas on proper waste management and sustainable environmental practices. Each community will have installed waste containers to reduce illegal dumping in these communities and educational workshops will be implemented to inform residents about best waste management. The project team will also build community gardens for the communities while teaching them about composting.
Research, Applied Technology, Education, Services, Inc. (RATES) will focus on developing a pilot project for an early flood warning system; a tool to evaluate real-time monitoring of water bodies to assist in prompt decision-making during storm events. The project team will deploy one Real Time Hydrologic Station (RTHS) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) to help demonstrate how the system can aid stormwater engineers and researchers understand the hydrological behavior in the region. The project team will also develop a website to promote the RTHS pilot program and disseminate information through six workshops to residents in the counties of Willacy, Hidalgo and Cameron, Texas.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) will develop an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) salinity forecast tool for water users of the Lower Rio Grande/Río Bravo (LRG) basin in the Texas Counties of Willacy, Hidalgo and Cameron, where salinity levels have slowly been increasing and impacting agricultural production. The AI tool will utilize data such as subbasin rainfall, monitored water temperature and river discharge to help agriculture water users to avoid adverse agricultural impact from high salinity. Training courses and presentations on the use of this online forecasting tool will be held in Willacy, Hidalgo and Cameron counties in Texas.
Pronatura Noreste, A.C. will develop a mobile application (app) with geographical/mapping features, where communities along the Rio Grande or its tributaries, can report environmental concerns such as sources of contamination that directly affect the water quality of the Rio Grande. Data from the app will be shared with Mexico’s water regulating agencies. A series of in-person workshops, along with online virtual training will be provided to the Mexican communities of Chihuahua, Piedras Negras, Monterrey and Reynosa, to educate them on the use of the app.
Communities Unlimited, Inc will provide sustainable long-term solutions in Hidalgo County, Texas in areas of large minority populations of moderate to low-income households, by surveying failing or absent Decentralized Onsite Wastewater Treatment Facilities (OWTF). A direct impact of this project will be improving resident’s knowledge on the environmental health impacts of improperly maintained septic tanks.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) builds upon a Border 2020 Program project funded in 2019 which focused on the Goodenough Spring (Texas). By understanding the hydrochemistry of the region, water agencies will have additional information to make decisions to better protect these water resources which sustain diverse human and ecological communities.
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will monitor and assess air quality conditions and to evaluate the public health effects from air pollution at the international crossing of the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) in El Paso, Texas. Data findings of the project will help identify viable and cost-effective options for reducing vehicle emissions with the hopes that these measures are considered for implementation by the regulatory agencies in the future.
LTM Center for Energy and the Environment, A.C. will focus on the use of personal air monitoring equipment in areas of high vehicle flow to determine how air pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, carbon monoxide and black carbon) impact public health in Piedras Negras y Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila. The project team will host a workshop in each city to inform residents of the project findings and educate them on the effects of poor air quality and public health.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) seeks increase knowledge on air quality (particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide and black carbon) and associated health impacts, and engage the Lower Rio Grande Valley region’s stakeholders, specifically grade school students of all ages, parents and environmental science teachers. Schools selected will be those adjacent to major roadways and highways. The project team will in turn evaluate the concepts of the Socio-Ecological Model which links health outcomes or behaviors to the interactions between individuals and their environment.