EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

06/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/21/2024 09:21

EPA Announces $250,000 to Winners of the Small Communities - Big Challenges Prize Competition

EPA Announces $250,000 to Winners of the Small Communities - Big Challenges Prize Competition

June 21, 2024

Contact Information
US EPA Press Office ([email protected])
WASHINGTON -Today, June 21, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $250,000 in cash prizes for the winners of the Small Communities - Big Challenges Prize Competition. The winners, representing local governments across five states, had innovative and unique strategies for engaging with their rural communities to identify environmental and public health needs of importance to the community. This engagement addresses longstanding needs because rural communities often do not receive as much support as more populous, urban communities and they also experience, across all ethnic and racial groups, a significantly higher poverty rate than urban America.

"EPA recognizes that rural communities face unique environmental and public health challenges," saidChris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development."The local governmental winners of this challenge are working with their communities to deliver exemplary science-based approaches to address local environmental and public health issues collaboratively."

"Environmental justice at its core ensures that anyone, regardless of zip code, has equitable access to resources," said Theresa Segovia, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. "This competition helps deliver those resources to rural communities and their local governments, while enhancing EPA's knowledge of the barriers they face. Our sincere congratulations to the winners."

EPA awarded eight prizes: $35,000 for the top four winning teams and $27,500 for the four other winning teams for a total of $250,000 in cash prizes.Additionally, one representative from each of the teams received a 1-year National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) membership. Selected projects identified local environmental challenges and engaged with their communities to communicate about issues including water quality, indoor air quality, radon levels, food waste, and recycling.

The "Small Communities, Big Challenges" competition is a partnership between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Environmental Health Association.

SCBC winners and the titles of their submissions are listed below:

  • Clay County Health Department, Clay County, W. Va., for Meeting the Clay County Community Where They Are On Plastic Recycling
  • Dunn County Land & Water Conservation Division, Dunn County, Wis., for Dunn County, Wisconsin-Groundwater Contamination Study
  • Florida Department of Health, Orange County, Fla., for Building on Bithlo's Transformation
  • Logan County Health District, Logan County, Ohio, for Covid-19 Indoor Air Quality In Area School Districts
  • Marathon County Conservation Planning and Zoning Department, Marathon County, Wis., for Using the "Marathon Method" to Tackle Elevated Nitrates in Municipal Drinking Water Supplies
  • Oconto County Public Health, Oconto County, Wis., for Radon Testing in the North Woods-What is That? I Could Have That?
  • Whatcom County Health and Community Services, Whatcom, Wash., for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Foothills Region Through Creative Food Recovery "Freedges"
  • Whitman County Public Health, Whitman County, Wash., for 2023 Lower Snake River HAB Response

Read the winning Small Communities, Big Challenges submissions.