Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Awards $1.25 Million in Grants to Improve Waterways in the Chicago/Calumet Region

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 5, 2018) Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners today announced six projects selected to receive $1.25 million in grant funding to improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago-Calumet region. These community-driven investments will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve access to and use of natural areas. The grants will generate $5.6 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of over $6.8 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the fund is supported in 2018 with contributions from ArcelorMittal, BNSF Railway, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The grants announced today mark the fund’s sixth annual slate of grants, bringing its total cumulative impact to more than $25 million.

“The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund continues to serve as a model for how public-private partnerships can collectively enhance wildlife habitat and benefit communities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Through collaborative funding and strategic alignment, the fund is equipping communities with tools to naturally reduce stormwater runoff, restore degraded habitat, provide a healthy environment for wildlife and offer public green spaces.” 

“Our foundation values this important opportunity to partner to achieve multiple overlapping goals for improving both riparian and aquatic habitat, as well as nature-based services to the many communities along our region’s rivers,” said David Farren, executive director of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “By pooling our funds to coordinate on these grants, we can all accomplish more and learn from each other in the process.”

The six grants announced today will enhance and restore wetland habitat for marsh birds in the Little Calumet region, improve habitat quality at Crooked Creek, increase stormwater storage capacity in the city of Robbins, Illinois, and continue to improve habitat in Chicago and Northwest Indiana through tree planning and invasive species control. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • ​Restore and enhance 357 acres of wetland and upland habitat
  • Control invasive species on 525 acres
  • Create and improve more than 10 acres of neighborhood green space
  • Add more than 750,000 gallons of stormwater storage

“The U.S. Forest Service is proud to be part of the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, and is pleased to see these exciting projects get funded,” said Carleen Yocum, Northeastern Area Midwest field office representative for the U.S. Forest Service. “We believe that nature based green infrastructure projects, such as tree planting in strategic locations, are an important part of the solution for managing our region’s stormwater and flooding challenges.” 

“ArcelorMittal believes that the sustainability of our local waterways is critical for advancing conservation goals, enhancing ecosystem services and supporting climate resilience for the bi-state Calumet region. The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund demonstrates a shared commitment to enhancing the sustainability and resiliency of communities throughout the region. Our support of the Fund – both as a founding member and through continued support - helps to bring this commitment to life,” said Bill Steers, general manager of corporate responsibility for ArcelorMittal. “We are proud to support the projects we were able to fund this year and would like to thank all of the many organizations that are actively contributing to conservation goals across the Calumet.”

To learn more about the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund and the six projects announced today, please visit

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
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 4,500 organizations and committed more than $4.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

About ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 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 more information about ArcelorMittal, visit: or

About BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies. BNSF operates approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also operates in three Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal, and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages. BNSF’s shipments help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. We work continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at

About The Chicago Community Trust
The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. For the past century, we have connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. Since our founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded over $2 billion in grant funding to more than 11,000 local nonprofit organizations – including more than $300 million in 2017. Our region is home to people passionate about their neighborhoods. People committed to making a difference. People divided by a legacy of segregation, separated by lines of class and races and opportunity – but there is much more that unites us than divides us. We pledge to bridge these divisions and to champion the common good, creating a place where no one is left behind.  To learn more about how the Trust has improved the quality of life in metropolitan Chicago, we invite you to visit our website at

About The Crown Family
After more than 60 years of family grantmaking under the name Arie and Ida Crown Memorial, in 2009 Crown Family Philanthropies (CFP) was developed as a vehicle for a variety of family grantmaking. 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.

About The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
Established in 1952, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. In the Chicago region, the Foundation focuses the majority of its land conservation support in five focus areas, including the Calumet Region and the Cook County Forest Preserves. See more about the Foundation at

About The Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in the future of the Great Lakes region by supporting policies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation. We support policy research, development and advocacy in areas that have a significant impact on quality of life: Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, Democracy, and Culture. Based in Chicago, Joyce focuses its grant making in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. We also collaborate with funders and other partners to explore promising policy solutions in other states or at the federal level. Joyce has budgeted 2018 charitable disbursements of $50 million on assets of approximately $1 billion. For further information, please visit, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

About U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. For more information, visit

About the 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

About the U.S. Forest Service
Established in 1905, 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 provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply and contribute more than $10 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. The agency has a direct or indirect stewardship role in caring for about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres in the U.S. This includes 100 million acres in urban areas where most Americans live. The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit​.