Six watershed initiatives across the state will receive funding through Illinois American Water Co.’s 2014 Environmental Grant Program.
The recipients will receive a share of grant funds totaling $15,825 for community projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds.
“The Environmental Grant Program helps local organizations carry out initiatives that benefit our watersheds, increase awareness and promote community participation.” said Karla Olson Teasley, president of Illinois American Water. Illinois American Water awarded the 2014 Environmental Grants as follows:
· National Great Rivers Research and Education Center will receive a $5,000 grant for the Expanding Stream Discovery: New Watersheds and Increased Stewardship Project. The project is an environmental education project that provides students a hands-on opportunity to learn about water quality in their community by monitoring a local stream. Currently, Stream Discovery training is available solely to teachers and students living in the Piasa Creek Watershed. The goal of this project is to expand outreach to three new Illinois watersheds. Other partners on this project include National Geographic, Bradley University, The Nature Institute and Army Corps of Engineers.
· Lewis and Clark Community College will receive a $2,300 grant for the Stormwater Runoff Management Bioswale Project. Through this project faculty from Lewis and Clark Community College will engage Alton Middle School students to install two native planted bioswales at the college. This is expected to improve water quality by providing filtering runoff and reducing velocity.
· Stratton Elementary School in Champaign will receive a $4,000 grant for a rain garden project. Stratton Elementary students, faculty and parents will help construct a rain garden containing 11 species of native plants. The rain garden will be used as an outdoor learning center to strengthen learning about and connection to the environment.
· Southern Illinois Groundwater Protection Committee will receive a $1,625 grant for the Mississippi River Clean Up to be held in September in conjunction with the Annual Educational Field Day and the Illinois Environmental Health Association. This will include an estimated 100-125 environmentalist participating in the project. This clean-up event will engage about 100 environmentalists clearing trash for disposal or recycling. This effort will cover approximately 2 miles of the shore of the Mississippi River in East St. Louis.
· The City of South Beloit will receive a $2,300 grant for the Meet Me at the Confluence Invasive Species Removal Project. This project will remove undesirable invasive species and weedy native species along a newly established preliminary public access route at the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek. If successful the project will begin to help control undesirable species at the confluence and reopen a site for public access and recreation.
· Bluestem Communication in partnership with Mississippi River Network and Piasa Palisades Sierra Club will receive a $600 grant to clean 16 miles of the Illinois Great River Road. Following the clean up an educational after party will be held to continue education efforts. In-kind donations to this event also include Illinois American Water’s Mobile Education Center, drinking water and water bottles.
To learn more about the Environmental Grant Program, water quality and wise water use, visit www.illinoisamwater.com.