Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Announces $1.4 Million in Grants

Nov. 19, 2015
Public-private partnership funds five projects to improve storm water management, habitat and green space in Chicago/Calumet, Ill., region

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners announced six projects selected to receive $1.4 million in grant funding that will help improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago and Calumet, Ill., region. With a focus on reducing storm water 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, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Wrigley Co. Foundation. The partnership began in 2013, and the $1.4 million announced here marks the fund's third annual set of grants.

“As the world's leading steel company, strengthened by our Chicago roots, ArcelorMittal is committed to the conserving our shared natural environment so that we may serve the multitude of needs required by all of its stakeholders," said Bill Steers, general manager of corporate responsibility and communications at ArcelorMittal. "In serving this need, the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund is great example of a public private partnership initiative that brings a comprehensive consortium of partners together to address the many opportunities found in the Chicago Area Water Ways System for greater collective impact."

"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 storm water 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 gal of storm water storage capacity;
  • Improve 5 acres of public park space;
  • Restore and enhance 566 acres of wetland and upland habitat; and
  • Improve approximately 2,640 ft of in-stream habitat.

"The grants announced today demonstrate how actions to restore local rivers work in concert with efforts to enhance local communities," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "These novel projects represent the extraordinary commitments of the Chicago and Calumet regions to restoring their local waterways and surrounding habitats."

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners plan to announce the next Request for Proposals in June 2016.

Source: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

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