Author: Christine Crissman
The Watershed Center Receives $400K Grant to Enhance Green Infrastructure Storwmater Program in Elk Rapids
| April 14, 2020 | 7:28 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

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 www.gtbay.org.

The Watershed Center’s Response to COVID-19
| March 16, 2020 | 12:57 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Our highest priority is the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and community. Following the guidance of our federal, state, and local health officials, we are cancelling all programs and closing our office beginning Monday March 16, 2020. The Watershed Center staff will be working remotely and are available by email. Our main phone number (231.935.1514) will also connect you directly to our staff and they can retrieve voicemails.

Though we will miss interacting with our supporters face-to-face, there are many ways you can still take action and explore new ways of engaging with us and each other. Some of our supporters have asked what they can do to help ​The Watershed Center continue to thrive during this moment, so we made a list of ​ways you can help​.

12th Annual Freshwater Summit Planned for October 25, 2019
| October 15, 2019 | 4:57 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Contact:
Christine Crissman
The Watershed Center
ccrissman@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 x1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

12th ANNUAL FRESHWATER SUMMIT PLANNED FOR OCTOBER 25, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – October 15, 2019 – The Freshwater Roundtable is proud to announce the 12th Annual Freshwater Summit. The Summit will be held on Friday, October 25 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College.

“Michigan’s past, present, and future are deeply connected to its clean, healthy water,” said Christine Crissman, executive director of The Watershed Center. “We are looking forward to tapping into state and local expertise to discuss our region’s response and readiness for existing and emerging threats to our freshwater.”

Presentations include impacts of climate change, spill and emergency services response, bioengineering for high energy lakes, invasive species impacts and control, threats of pavement sealants, and E.coli tracking throughout the state.

“In Michigan, and especially in this region, our lives are defined by water; commercially and recreationally.” said Dennis McCauley, president of the Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., one of the sponsors of the Freshwater Summit. “We feel it’s valuable to bring together professionals and interested residents alike to talk about water quality and water use issues that are impacting our economy, our shorelines, and our lives.”

A full agenda and registration information is available online at https://www.gtbay.org/our-programs/freshwater-summit/. Cost is $35/person or $15/student and includes lunch.

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Grand Traverse Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance, and Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council. The 12th Annual Freshwater Summit is sponsored by the Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc. and American Waste.

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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 www.gtbay.org.

 

The Watershed Center Receives $150K Grant to Initiate Green Infrastructure Stormwater Program in Elk Rapids
| August 30, 2019 | 3:04 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

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.

Voice Your Support for Trees at These Upcoming Meetings
| July 23, 2019 | 5:25 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

This time of year, when the sun’s rays are intense and we seek refuge from the heat and rays, we appreciate our trees. Trees in parking lots help keep our cars cool. Trees along our boulevards shade our sidewalks, making our strolls more pleasant. And a day at the beach is so much better with the shade of a large canopy allowing us to escape the sun between swims.

Trees make our lives better. They produce the oxygen we breathe, purify our water and air, shade our homes and businesses, stabilize our soils, provide us with delicious fruits, and shelter our wildlife. Trees in urban areas make our cities more desirable places to live. They filter, infiltrate, and evaportransporate stormwater. They provide privacy screening and muffle urban noises. As we continue to face an uncertain climate future and increased population growth, our trees will help us fight erosion, flooding, extreme temperatures, and poor air quality in both urban and rural settings.

Our trees and the natural resources make our corner of northern Michigan a desirable place to visit and live. They are critical to our “up north” identify. This summer, if you’re a resident or visitor of Grand Traverse County, we encourage you to pay attention to some very important tree conversations. On Wednesday, July 24 at 8am the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners will discuss managing land use at Cherry Capital Airport, which we anticipate will include a discussion on the management of large tracks of healthy forest near the airport. The City of Traverse City will discuss a draft Landscaping and Tree ordinance at the August 20, 2019 meeting. The City is seeking written feedback about this draft ordinance until August 12.

The Watershed Center encourages you to attend these public meetings and share your thoughts about trees and how you think our community can best protect these treasured assets. The future of our trees (and our community) will be brighter if we all speak up about protecting what makes this place so special.