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Southeast Michigan Receives Two EPA Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grants

Release Date: 03/27/2014
Contact Information: Peter Cassell, 312-886-6234, 312-859-9614 (cell), cassell.peter@epa.gov

DETROIT - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the award of two Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling $1.25 million to fund green infrastructure projects in Southeast Michigan to improve water quality in the Great Lakes. EPA Region 5 Administrator / Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman was joined at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Offices by Detroit Water & Sewerage Director Sue McCormick, St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby, John Erb, President of the Erb Family Foundation, and Kathleen Lomako, Executive Director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

“Detroit and St. Clair Shores will use these EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grants for green infrastructure projects to prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into the Great Lakes,” Hedman said. “Green infrastructure also helps to prevent the type of flooding that occurs as a result of the increasingly frequent extreme precipitation events that have hit the Midwest in recent years -- a pattern may intensify as the result of climate change.”

Detroit will use the $1 million grant for two green infrastructure projects in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s Near East Side Drainage District. The first project will transform publicly owned vacant lots on Detroit’s Lower Eastside into green space consisting of meadows, trees and other vegetation. This will reduce the discharge of untreated stormwater into the city’s combined sewer system by approximately 100,000 gallons during significant storms. The second project involves installing green infrastructure at Detroit’s Recovery Park to reduce the discharge of untreated stormwater to the sewer system by approximately 1 million gallons during significant storms.

"As we move forward with the city's revitalization, we have to be good stewards of our natural resources, especially the Great Lakes and the Detroit River. This EPA grant, with the generous matching funds from the Erb Family Foundation and Kresge Foundation, will enable us to improve water quality and create healthier and more environmentally-friendly neighborhoods," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "We thank the EPA and Obama Administration for helping us improve the quality of life for Detroit residents."

“We are pleased to be able to support this opportunity for Detroit and the Great Lakes,” said Erb. “Not only will the project help repurpose vacant land to benefit the environment and quality of life for residents, it should help Detroit recognize that, among its many other wonderful attributes, it is a Great Lakes city with an important role to play in the Great Lakes region – environmentally, economically and socially.”

St. Clair Shores will use the $250,000 grant to install rain gardens and porous pavement at Kyte Monroe Park. The green infrastructure will capture and treat stormwater runoff which flows through the storm sewer directly to Lake St. Clair. This project will prevent approximately 95,000 gallons of polluted stormwater from entering Lake St. Clair during significant storms.

“The city of St. Clair Shores is excited to have been awarded $250,000 as part of the EPA Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grant,” Said Mayor Walby. “This grant will provide a 21,000 sq ft porous pavement with 3,000 sq ft of rain gardens at Kyte Monroe Park, which is one of our most heavily used parks and recreational complexes in the city. Together this parking lot will be capable of capturing and treating up to 100,000 gallons of rain runoff each storm event. By capturing and treating the rain runoff on-site the city will reduce the amount of pollutants, including sediments, nutrients and metals being discharged to Lake St. Clair.”

Detroit and St. Clair Shores are among 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA’s new GLRI Shoreline Cities grant program. These grants can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of green infrastructure projects on public property. Green infrastructure projects use vegetation, soil and natural processes to hold and filter stormwater and melting snow to prevent flooding and to prevent contamination from reaching surface water and groundwater resources. The projects in the 16 cities include rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin.

To find more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative or Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure grants, visit www.glri.us.