Traverse City News and Events

Watershed Center Lands $150K Grant For Elk Rapids Stormwater Improvements

By Beth Milligan | Aug. 28, 2019

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) for a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids focused on green infrastructure.

According to The Watershed Center, the funding will 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. 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 a year,” says Sarah U’Ren, program director at The Watershed Center.

Elk Rapids recently passed a resolution declaring support for green infrastructure policies and practices to manage stormwater impacts. “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,” says Village President James Janisse.

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, which will lead 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,” says Ryan Winston, assistant professor at Ohio State University. 

Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor in Elk Rapids was selected for that program, and will be provided $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. The NFWF-SOGL project will be matched with a $10,000 grant from the Herrington-Fitch Family Foundation, as well as in-kind and cash matches from the Village of Elk Rapids.

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