More than $5.2M raised for these six conservation projects in southeast Michigan

What’s happening: Six conservation projects in southeast Michigan have been announced recipients of $1.7 million in grants as part of the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund (SMRF). The $1.7 million was awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and with $3.5 million in matching contributions confirmed, it means that more than $5.2 million has been secured through the SMRF for local conservation projects dedicated to improving water quality, enhancing wildlife habitats, and increasing accessibility to public green space.

About the projects: In Detroit, the National Wildlife Federation will expand a network of green stormwater infrastructure demonstration sites and develop a self-sustaining network of engaged stewards; and St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center will support northwest neighborhood churches in maintaining and growing their bioretention infrastructure and practices. 

In Pontiac, Reroot Pontiac will repurpose urban lots for green stormwater infrastructure, pocket forests, and larger forest installations.

Friends of the Rouge will enhance existing public green spaces in underserved communities throughout the region, including bioretention features.

Ann Arbor’s Legacy Land Conservancy will remove invasive species and open public access to the Kolon-Baki Nature Preserve.

And Monroe Public Schools will restore local upland, wetland, and riparian ecosystems, and upgrade the Knabusch Math & Science Center at Lake Erie.

Click HERE to learn more about each of these local conservation projects.

By the numbers: The projects supported through the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund will add 4.4 million gallons of stormwater storage; plant more than 60,300 trees for increased stormwater storage and habitat; restore 65 acres through invasive species control; and create five new access points to natural areas and parks.

Who’s behind it: The public-private Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund includes partners Cleveland-Cliffs, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service; and receives significant support through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Since 2018, the SMRF has generated $18.3 million in grants and matching contributions for conservation projects throughout the region.

Why it’s important: “The grants awarded (on Monday, March 13) will create public greenspace and improve water quality and urban tree canopy,” Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF, says in a statement. “These investments will enhance the quality and connectivity of habitat and make it more accessible for people and increase community resilience by creating and improving green infrastructure.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.