TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – April 14, 2020 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to enhance a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids focusing on green infrastructure. Funding will be used to install an underground infiltration trench and retrofit street side bump-outs into rain gardens to infiltrate 2.8 million gallons of stormwater runoff each year. 

“We are excited to use this investment from the EPA to continue developing a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids,” said Sarah U’Ren, Program Director at The Watershed Center. A significant amount of stormwater is generated by the roads, parking lots, and rooftops on the west side of the village, which can contribute excessive sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and toxins to Grand Traverse Bay. “The goal of this project is to reduce the volume of stormwater and its associated pollution inputs, which we will accomplish by using green infrastructure systems including underground infiltration and bioretention,” U’Ren continued.

Proposed work includes installing an underground infiltration trench under a section of Cedar Street to infiltrate stormwater coming from the upper section of the system. This trench will store and infiltrate over 80% of the Cedar Street stormdrain system’s total drainage area. Additional work includes retrofitting four existing paved bump-out areas along Dexter Street into rain gardens. The rain gardens will be in a highly visible location and will serve as a local demonstration of green infrastructure installation in the village.

“The Watershed Center provides strong leadership for green infrastructure projects that protect water quality in our uniquely situated community,” said Village President James Janisse. “We are grateful to our funders and are honored to showcase these efforts to others this fall. Even with projects of this significance, we are always looking forward to what we can accomplish next.”

A long-term partnership between The Watershed Center and the Village of Elk Rapids has led to the adoption and installation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout the village. The Watershed Center is currently working on plans to retrofit a grassy area adjacent to Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor into a bioswale and existing flower beds on River Street into rain gardens using funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at

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