Building and Sustaining Successful Urban Waters Partnerships Handbook

Location: Nationwide | Client: EPA Office of Water | Project Date: March 2014 – June 2014

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Urban Waters Partnership Handbook

Project Description


EPA launched the Urban Waters Federal Partnership in 2011 to help urban communities — particularly those environmentally overburdened or economically distressed — connect with and improve their waterways. The UW Partnership of 14 federal agencies coordinate to support community-led efforts to restore urban waters and revitalize the communities that surround them.

By 2014, 18 Urban Water Partnership locations had been initiated locally across the country. A growing number of other localities expressed interest in creating their own Partnerships to help realize their own visions for clean, safe, accessible urban waters and thriving communities. The Partnership prioritized developing a Handbook that provides a partnership model for other communities working to revitalize neglected or contaminated waterways for the benefit of nearby communities.


Skeo collaborated with EPA’s Office of Water and local UW Partnership leaders to document the key steps demonstrating how local urban waters stakeholder groups have implemented the Urban Waters Federal Partnership approach to collaboration so that other locations can use it to build on their local activities. The Handbook also emphasizes ways to achieve authentic community engagement, especially with underserved communities, throughout the process.


Skeo developed an Urban Waters Federal Partnership Handbook that incorporated best practices, particularly in advancing environmental justice in urban waters communities. Best practices were developed based on professional expertise in environmental justice and equitable development and a series of interviews with Federal Partnership local stakeholders. The Handbook provides a guide for establishing, sustaining and expanding successful urban waters partnerships.

Urban water communities across the country have a model process for partnership building to enhance local urban waters restoration efforts and the federal family has best practices for delivering more integrated support for these community-driven efforts.