Public-private partnership funds projects to improve stormwater management, green space in Chicago, Calumet region

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners have announced six projects selected to receive $1.4 million in grant funding that will help improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago and Calumet region.

CHICAGO, IL, Nov. 16, 2015 -- Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners have announced six projects selected to receive $1.4 million in grant funding that will help improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago and 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 of the region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $4.4 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $5.8 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the Fund is a partnership among ArcelorMittal, The Chicago Community Trust, the Crown Family Philanthropies, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Joyce Foundation, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Wrigley Company Foundation. The partnership began in 2013, and the $1.4 million announced today marks the Fund's third annual set of grants.

"The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund will fund both green infrastructure and habitat improvement in the District's service area and make lasting contributions to the water environment," said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. "The District is proud to partner on this very worthwhile effort."

The six grants will help improve stormwater management in Chicago, enhance public park space and improve access to the area's waterways in Northwest Indiana, enhance prairie and wetland habitat along the Calumet River, and improve fish habitat in the Chicago River. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • add more than 508,000 gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • improve 5 acres of public park space
  • restore and enhance 566 acres of wetland and upland habitat
  • improve approximately 2,640 feet of instream habitat

Under one of the projects, Faith in Place will receive a $250,689 grant to improve stormwater management systems at five houses of worship located on Chicago's South Side. The project will perform a stormwater audit, develop a stormwater management plan, and implement at least one green infrastructure feature at each site. The project will also develop outreach and education plans to encourage more effective water management on properties surrounding the faith communities.

The implementation of these activities will improve stormwater management, create demonstrations of green stormwater infrastructure elements throughout the communities, and prevent 43,000 gallons of stormwater from entering area waterways each year. It will also lead to a better understanding of stormwater management among local communities.

For more information on the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund or the projects, please visit www.nfwf.org/chi-cal.

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