The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has received a $150,000 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain Our Great Lakes (NFWF-SOGL) program to initiate a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids focusing on green infrastructure.  Funding will specifically be used to retrofit a grassy area adjacent to the village marina into a bioswale and existing flower beds at a local park into rain gardens.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have this investment from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to kick off a green infrastructure program in the Village of Elk Rapids,” said Sarah U’Ren, Program Director at The Watershed Center.

The goal of the project is to increase stormwater storage and infiltration capacity at various locations in the village to reduce harmful pollutant inputs to Grand Traverse Bay. “In addition to reducing pollutants typically found in stormwater such as toxins, pathogens, nutrients, and sediments, we estimate this work will reduce the amount of stormwater reaching the bay by approximately 1 million gallons/year,” U’Ren continued.

This project will strengthen a long-term partnership between The Watershed Center and the Village of Elk Rapids that will catalyze efforts leading to the adoption and installation of future green infrastructure practices in the village. “This is a time to celebrate our partners at The Watershed Center. Without them, Elk Rapids would not be able to accomplish this,” stated Village President James Janisse. Assistant Village Manager Caroline Kennedy agrees, stating “this is a great example of how strong regional relationships are the key to implementing shared goals. The Watershed Center has been persistent on our behalf and we thank our grant partners for recognizing the demonstration capacity of this very important project.”

The Village of Elk Rapids recently passed a resolution declaring their support for green infrastructure policies and practices to manage stormwater impacts and stand ready to initiate a larger campaign for green infrastructure support and implementation. “We also acknowledge the leadership of Royce Ragland and her Green ER team, which has set the groundwork and prepared us to qualify for such projects,” Janisse continued.

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation funds will be paired with Great Lakes Protection Fund support provided to Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs aimed at helping marinas make their facilities more environmentally sustainable by harnessing the power of green infrastructure. The Sea Grant programs will be working with Ohio State University who will lead the monitoring and data collection for the project.  “Funding from the Great Lakes Protection Fund will provide scientific evidence to support innovative stormwater treatment at marina facilities across the Great Lakes, leading to improved stormwater management in communities across the region,” said Ryan Winston, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.  Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor in the Village of Elk Rapids was selected for that program, providing $100,000 in cash and in-kind support to assist with installation of the bioswale and other green infrastructure practices, as well as monitoring their effectiveness.

Additionally, the NFWF-SOGL project will be matched with a $10,000 grant from the Herrington-Fitch Family Foundation, as well as both in-kind and cash match from the Village of Elk Rapids.

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