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Southeast Michigan to benefit from $1.6 million in conservation grants that will improve community & habitat resilience

Detroit, Environment

Kresge joins partners to fund seven projects that will reduce stormwater impact, improve water quality, enhance habitat and increase accessibility and usability of public green space

DETROIT (March 16, 2021) – Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund partners today announced seven projects selected to receive $1.6 million in grant funding to benefit communities and wildlife habitats in southeast Michigan. The grants awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will leverage $1.4 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $3 million.

These investments will strengthen regional resilience for communities by installing green infrastructure, increasing urban tree canopy, and restoring riverbank and floodplain habitat. Additionally, projects will restore critical habitat for wildlife including monarch butterflies and migratory birds, while creating and enhancing public access and improving water quality.

The projects supported by these grants will:

  • Add 3.3 million gallons of stormwater storage
  • Plant more than 650 trees for increased stormwater storage and improved habitat
  • Add 44 instream habitat structures
  • Help restore the quality and connectivity of the region’s unique habitats
  • Improve quality of life for residents by increasing public access to natural areas and parks for local communities through six new access points

“This public-private partnership is committed to investing in projects that deliver multiple benefits for the people and wildlife that call southeast Michigan home,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The grants awarded today represent the third year of investments made by the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund and demonstrate the Fund’s ability to deliver ecological and community resilience benefits at a regional level.”

Seven corporate, foundation and government funding partners joined NFWF to create the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund. The fund is supported by contributions from:

  • Cleveland-Cliffs
  • The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The U.S. Forest Service

Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund 2021 grant recipients include:

  • Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, to improve habitat along the Huron River at Willow Metropark in Wayne County by restoring eroded river bank, in-stream, floodplain and native prairie habitat.
  • City of Detroit, to install a bioretention project at Patton Park, a 93-acre, city-owned park located on the border of Detroit and Dearborn, to capture runoff.
  • Oakland County Parks and Recreation, to remove the failing Davisburg Mill Pond Dam to restore the natural stream channel and adjacent wetlands.
  • Chandler Park Conservancy, to install green stormwater infrastructure in Chandler Park, Detroit to reduce combined sewer overflows and flooding to adjacent community property owners.
  • Detroit Future City, to restore habitat and create public green space along 1.3 acres of vacant land in East Poletown, Detroit by removing invasive species, adding biodiversity through planting of native trees and shrubs, and enhancing educational public space.
  • Friends of the Rouge, to build more than 7,000-square-feet of green stormwater infrastructure by planting trees, installing rain gardens and removing impervious surfaces.
  • City of Hamtramck, to plant at least 300 trees throughout the city of Hamtramck and strengthen partnerships built with the local community.

“Flooding is a major concern for urban communities,” said Lois R. DeBacker, managing director of Kresge’s Environment Program. “Climate change directly impacts water supply, and changes in precipitation are placing stress on the built and natural systems that provide fresh water, manage stormwater and treat wastewater. One of our primary goals at Kresge is helping cities implement climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches that advance racial and economic equity. The efforts being supported by the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund to install green infrastructure, increase urban tree canopies, and restore riverbank and floodplain habitats will help communities that are disproportionately vulnerable to urban flooding and extreme rainfall become better equipped to reduce and prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

“As we look to improve the quality of life in southeast Michigan by investing in parks and trails, it is also essential to support green infrastructure and resilient solutions to the critical challenges posed by climate change,” said JJ Tighe, Parks & Trails Initiative director for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “We’re thankful for the collaboration across both public and private partners to solve for these challenges with local and community-based solutions.”

“Our foundation is delighted to participate in this wonderful collaborative effort, which enables us to leverage multiple contributions for maximum group impact,” said Neil Hawkins, president of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. “It’s a win-win opportunity for the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and for the many people whose well-being depends on it.”

“The Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund continues to exemplify the strength of public-private partnerships,” said Chris Korleski, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office. “The fund brings together federal and non-governmental partners that leverage Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds to deliver on-the-ground projects in southeast Michigan communities, including communities that have historically been underrepresented and underserved.”

To learn more about the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund and the seven projects announced today, please visit