Michigan’s grassroots organizations and individuals are getting grant funding for cleaning up their local rivers and streams. For the second year in a row the Michigan River Network (MRN) has administered the Volunteer Cleanup of River and Streams Program. Under this program MRN distributed $50,000 in cleanup grants to 28 watershed groups and other local organizations in 2001. “We received over $70,000 in requests this year, so there is obviously a tremendous need for this type of funding” stated Scott McEwen of MRN.
Successful grantees agree to organize a river or stream cleanup in their area and report the findings to MRN. The program is funded through a legislative appropriation to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “The ecological benefits as well as aesthetic benefits to people are substantial”, said McEwen. “This cleanup of trash and debris from Michigan’s rivers would probably not have happened without these grant dollars.” The MRN is planning to administer this program in 2002 and it is hoped that the available funding will be increased so that more rivers and streams can be cleaned.