Projects to improve stormwater management, habitat and green space in Chicago area receive funding

Dec. 16, 2016
Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $2.9 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $4.2 million.

CHICAGO, IL, DECEMBER 16, 2016 -- Today, the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners announced seven projects selected to receive $1.3 million in grant funding that will improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago-Calumet region. With a focus on reducing stormwater runoff, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, and improving public-use opportunities, this investment will support community-driven projects that benefit the people and wildlife in the region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $2.9 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $4.2 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the fund is supported in 2016 with contributions from ArcelorMittal, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The grants announced today mark the fund's fourth annual slate of grants, bringing the total cumulative impact of the fund over four years to $16 million.

"ArcelorMittal has a significant presence in the Chicago-Calumet region and understands the importance of water quality and corresponding habitat throughout the region," said Bill Steers, general manager, corporate responsibility and communications, for ArcelorMittal Americas. "We recognize that our waterways are inextricably linked and reach beyond our state and political boundaries. Therefore, we are proud to partner with the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund to leverage collective investment in community-driven projects that will have a meaningful impact on the region's water quality, diverse natural environment and communities."

"We are pleased to be among the founding members of this innovative partnership," said David Farren, executive director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. "Bringing together private funders allows us to pool funds and leverage additional public support to improve the health of our river systems -- all of us getting more done by working together."

The seven grants announced today will improve stormwater management in the greater Chicago area and northwest Indiana; enhance public park space and improve access to the area's waterways; and enhance and restore savanna, instream and riparian habitat along the East Branch of the Little Calumet and North Branch of the Chicago River. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • Remove more than 26,500 square feet of impervious surface and install more than 21,600 square feet of green infrastructure
  • Add more than 234,000 gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • Restore and enhance 195 acres of savanna, riparian and upland habitat
  • Create and improve 49 acres of neighborhood green space
  • Plant more than 10,000 trees to restore urban canopy

"The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund's public-private partnership model harnesses the unique power of coordinated, regional grant-making to move the conservation needle," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "The awards announced today demonstrate how the shared commitment of the Chicago and Calumet region can help restore and revitalize both communities and wildlife."

More information on the seven projects announced today can be found by clicking here.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners plan to announce the next Request for Proposals in June 2017. For more information, visit