The Michigan River Network distributed $26,572 to local efforts to clean up eleven different Michigan river systems. The mini-grant program is a collaboration between the Michigan River Network and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Surface Water Quality Division. The Michigan legislature approved $50,000 to be used in 2000 by Michigan citizens for this important initiative, but only $26,572 in grant requests were received.
“This was a tremendous opportunity for local organizations to receive funding to involve community members in improving their environment in a tangible way,” stated Scott McEwen of the Michigan River Network, a program of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. Monies are earmarked specifically to pay for the cleanup of trash and debris from rivers and streams. The grants paid for such items as disposal costs, hand tools, supplies, and refreshments and promotional materials for volunteers, but could not pay for staff time.
Grants were made in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 depending on applicant needs. “We’ve tried to structure this program so grant money will quickly and efficiently get into our communities to directly benefit our rivers, streams and creeks,” remarked Sharon Baker of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Surface Water Quality Division.
The following organizations received funding under this program: City of Litchfield, Clinton River Watershed Council, Flint River Watershed Council, Antrim County Conservation District, St. Clair County Cooperative Extension, Central Lake Superior Watershed Partnership, Iosco County Conservation District, Human Development Commission, Mid-MEAC, Friends of the Rouge, and Michigan State University.