Urban Waters Project
Recognizing that many communities in our country have disproportionately shouldered the impacts of pollution while lacking voice in federal environmental decision-making, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson made “expanding the conversation on the environment” a top priority. EPA’s Urban Waters effort launched with a particular eye on expanding the conversation to underserved communities that hold the potential to transform neglected urban waterways into treasured centerpieces of urban revival.
EPA hired MG to help craft the strategy and tools for Urban Waters engagement inside and outside the agency. Our core approach focused on helping EPA articulate the values that drive the effort, map the values and needs of diverse stakeholder groups EPA most wants to engage, and identify places of shared interest with other federal agencies from which to build a new vocabulary and plan of action that ties people together.
As a result of our engagement, EPA Urban Waters has begun to move to a more values-based vocabulary that invites a more diverse public to the table and thereby expands the conversation on the environment. They have also been able to sustain momentum for their Urban Waters work despite it operating outside traditional program and agency lines. And a new Urban Waters Federal Partnership has been born with 11 federal agencies cooperating on improved approaches to responding to expressed community needs and opportunities.
“MG’s team was able to quickly understand our program and offer actionable insights to help us better communicate with our key audiences. More importantly, working with them changed how we think about communication.”
– Surabhi Shah, US EPA