Chi–Cal Rivers Fund Announces $1.1 Million in Grants

Public–private partnership funds five projects to improve stormwater management, habitat, and green space in Chicago/Calumet region

NOVEMBER 18, 2014, CHICAGO, Illinois Today, Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners announced five projects selected to receive $1.1 million in grant funding that will help improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago and Calumet region. With a focus on reducing stormwater runoff, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, and improving public-use opportunities, this investment will support community-driven projects that benefit the people and wildlife of the region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $2.5 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $3.6 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the Fund is a partnership among ArcelorMittal, The Chicago Community Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Wrigley Company Foundation. The partnership began in 2013, and the $1.1 million announced today marks the Fund’s second annual set of grants.

“The projects being funded by the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund are making lasting contributions to the water environment, and the MWRD is a proud partner in this effort,” said MWRD President Kathleen Meany.

“The Wrigley Company Foundation is proud to participate in this important public–private partnership, which is focused on enhancing one of Chicago’s prime waterways,” said Maureen Jones, Executive Director of the Wrigley Company Foundation. “Wrigley has made its home along the Chicago River for nearly a century and we realize the vital role it plays in the continued economic strength of the city. We are pleased to see this second year of projects being awarded, which will help to further develop the Chicago and Calumet waterways.”

“These projects will help revitalize local waterways and benefit communities throughout the region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Thanks to the collaboration and support of our program partners, this work will result in cleaner water, healthier fish and wildlife populations, and better outdoor opportunities for the people who live here.”

The five grants announced today will help improve stormwater management in the cities of Gary, Indiana and Blue Island, Illinois, add public park space in Chicago, enhance prairie and wetland habitat along the north branch of the Chicago River, and improve fish habitat in the main stem of the Chicago River. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • install more than 242,000 square feet of green stormwater infrastructure
  • add more than 2.9 million gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • add 4 acres of new public park space
  • restore and enhance 178 acres of wetland and upland habitat
  • improve approximately 4,600 feet of in-stream and riparian habitat

City of Gary will use a grant for $259,263 to install 43,200 square feet of green stormwater infrastructure at 27 public sites throughout the city. The project will install 50 vegetated bioswales, a large community rain garden, a small roadside rain garden, a school-based natural habitat exploration area, and three neighborhood green spaces. In addition, the project will remove 22,950 square feet of impervious surface, plant 85 native trees, and install 200 rain barrels. Altogether, this work will add 1.4 million gallons of stormwater retention within the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern. In addition to signficantly reducing problems associated with stormwater runoff, this project will expand neighborhood green space, raise public awareness of stormwater management issues, and build support for green stormwater infrastructure.

South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association will receive $235,295 in grant funding to construct 6 acres of wetlands that will add 1.5 million gallons of stormwater retention in the city of Blue Island. Part of the larger Calumet River Corridor Green Infrastructure Flood Mitigation Program, the project will remove contaminated soils, eliminate dominant invasive plant species, and plant native vegetation. The project will employ students who have graduated from technical environmental training programs, such as Greencorps Chicago, and it will engage local residents to help them learn about the value of green infrastructure. By providing a regional wetland detention system, this project will enable greater on-site stormwater infiltration, increase native habitat, reduce flooding, and illustrate how green infrastructure solutions can promote economic development.

Chicago Park District will use a $259,000 grant to develop a new 4-acre riverfront park along the south branch of the Chicago River. The new park will be located in the Bridgeport community, which is in need of additional park land. The goal of the project is to improve river access, recreational opportunities, and stormwater management to create a waterway that is accessible and desirable for recreation. The project will create a variety of visitor amenities, including a boat launch, dock, pathways, benches, lighting, and landscaped areas for activities such as picnicking and field sports. The new park will also include 25,000 square feet of stormwater management features such as rain gardens, bio-retention areas, permeable surfaces, and native plantings. As part of the network of new riverside developments, the new park will enhance the existing foundation for a working Chicago River blueway system.

Lake County Forest Preserve District will use $171,442 in grant funding to restore 178 acres along the north branch of the Chicago River at Middlefork Savanna, one of the most important sites for biodiversity in northeast Illinois. Project activities will include regrading and replanting 1,980 feet of riverbank, disabling drain tiles to restore the hydrology in 15 acres of wetlands and adjacent prairies, clearing invasive trees across 64 acres, and seeding and planting 105 acres of prairies and wetlands. Project partners will collaborate across ownership boundaries to coordinate land management activities, including prescribed burning and other invasive species removal. This work will help reduce erosion and flooding, create more-natural hydrology that will aid the long-term control of invasive species, and improve the condition of a large contiguous grassland zone that supports many prairie and wetland birds.

Friends of the Chicago River will use a $175,000 grant to install 33 in-stream habitat structures and substrates that will enhance populations of fish and other aquatic life along a half-mile reach of the Chicago River main stem. Project participants will fabricate and install several innovative structural designs on seawalls and other edifices in the river to accommodate the needs of fish at various life-cycle stages. The substrates and structures will provide a foundation for the establishment of desirable plants, algae and macroinvertebrates as well as resting and foraging habitat for largemouth bass, yellow bullhead, bluegill, green sunfish and other fish. By adding structural complexity, spawning habitat, food resources, and refuge, this project will make the river system in downtown Chicago more hospitable to many fish species and lead to improved angling opportunities for local communities.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners plan to announce the next Request for Proposals in June 2015. For more information, please visit and follow the program on Twitter (@ChiCalRivers).

About Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Partner Organizations

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries and an industrial footprint in over 20 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks.

Through our core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, we operate responsibly with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate.

For us, steel is the fabric of life, as it is at the heart of the modern world from railways to cars and washing machines. We are actively researching and producing steel-based technologies and solutions that make many of the products and components we use in our everyday lives more energy-efficient.

We are one of the world’s five largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal and our mining business is an essential part of our growth strategy. With a geographically diversified portfolio of iron ore and coal assets, we are strategically positioned to serve our network of steel plants and the external global market. While our steel operations are important customers, our supply to the external market is increasing as we grow.

In 2013, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $79.4 billion and crude steel production of 100.5 million tons, while our iron ore production reached 64.4 million tons. ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MT), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS).

For more information about ArcelorMittal please visit: or

ArcelorMittal USA Foundation
The ArcelorMittal USA Foundation makes grants in three primary focus areas: education, environment, and health and safety. In 2013, ArcelorMittal USA provided $5.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country focused on improving the environment, education, and the health and safety of our communities. The Foundation supports those communities in which its employees live and its business and clients operate.

The Chicago Community Trust
For 99 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2013, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $160 million to nonprofit organizations: developing new audiences to sustain Chicago's vibrant arts organizations, protecting the human services safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on our communities, elevating teaching to meet world class standards, and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. The Trust also invests in the Calumet through the Millennium Reserve project, designated by Governor Quinn in 2011. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at

Crown Family Philanthropies
Crown Family Philanthropies environmental grantmaking supports efforts to value, preserve and restore natural ecosystems through innovative science-based approaches, emphasizing collaborative efforts which deliver measurable results.

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
Established in 1952, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation and artistic vitality efforts in the Chicago Region and Lowcountry of South Carolina. The Foundation seeks to foster land conservation through preservation, restoration, and protection of landscape-scale lands. Particular focus areas include the Calumet Region and the Cook County Forest Preserves.  See more about the Foundation at

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources manages, conserves and protects Illinois natural, recreational and cultural resources through regulation and stewardship and promotes the education and science of these resources for present and future generations. Agency programs help citizens enhance their property with conservation programs, protect the public from harm, and increase community economic value through grant funding. Agency-supported outdoor recreation initiatives have an annual multi-billion dollar positive economic impact to local communities. For more information, visit

The Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. The foundation focuses on today's most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions. The work is based on sound research and is focused on where the foundation can add the most value. The Joyce Foundation encourages innovative and collaborative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach. Learn more at

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Established in 1889, the MWRD ( is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.  The MWRD protects the health and safety of the public in its service area, protects the quality of the water supply source (Lake Michigan), improves and protects the quality of water in watercourses, protects businesses and homes from flood damages, and manages water as a vital resource. The MWRD’s service area is 883.5 square miles of Cook County, Illinois. The MWRD is committed to achieving the highest standards of excellence in fulfilling its mission.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

U.S. Forest Service
Established in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those lands also provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, valued at approximately $7.2 billion per year. The agency has a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres in the U.S. including 100 million acres in urban areas where most Americans live. For more information, visit

The Wrigley Company Foundation
The mission of the Wrigley Company Foundation is to help improve the health of people and our planet through sustainable initiatives, including those focused on environmental stewardship, as well as local needs that ensure a healthy community. Since its founding in 1987, the Wrigley Company Foundation has donated more than $65 million USD to charitable organizations improving lives around the world.  For more information, visit and