Calumet River, Chicago

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Awards $1.25 Million to Improve Waterways in the Chicago/Calumet Region for Wildlife and Communities

Calumet River, Chicago

​CHICAGO (November 14, 2019) Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners today announced eight projects selected to receive $1.25 million in grant funding to improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago-Calumet region. These investments will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve access to and use of natural areas and greenspace for communities. The grants will generate $1.85 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $3.1 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the fund is supported in 2019 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 seventh annual slate of grants, bringing its total cumulative impact to more than $28.4 million.

“The grants awarded in 2019 are an excellent example of how public-private partnerships can accelerate and amplify the dynamic and meaningful conservation work happening in the Chicago region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund’s continued investment in habitat restoration, green stormwater infrastructure and enhancement of public greenspace is helping to restore the habitat, water quality and economic values of regional waterways to benefit wildlife and communities.”

The eight grants announced today will restore wetland habitat to benefit migratory birds, improve important habitat throughout the Crooked Creek watershed, increase stormwater storage capacity in the city of Riverdale, 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 485 acres of wetland and upland habitat
  • Plant more than 800 trees for habitat and increased stormwater capacity
  • Add more than 407,000 gallons of stormwater storage
  • Engage volunteers in 2,850 hours of ecological restoration

“We value this important partnership to achieve multiple goals for improving both riparian and aquatic habitat, as well as the human quality of life benefits to the many communities along our region’s rivers,” said David Farren, executive director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “By coordinating our funds for these grants, we can accomplish more, and learn from each other in the process.”

“We are very excited to continue to be a part of this program” said Dava Kaitala, general director of environmental permitting for BNSF Railway. “We look forward to the great work the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund contributes to the region.”

"The Chicago Community Trust fervently believes implementation is more likely through partnership," said Michael Davidson, senior director of community impact at The Chicago Community Trust. "The 2019 projects and all Chi-Cal Rivers Fund projects carry the message that conservation in complex environments is possible when people, organizations and sectors come together."

“Joyce is proud to help support projects that reduce flooding and improve Chicago’s waterways today and for the next generation in our region” said Elizabeth Cisar, senior program officer of environment for the Joyce Foundation.

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

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $5.3 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. 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