Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund Awards $1.6 Million to Improve Community and Habitat Resilience

Public-private partnership funds seven projects to reduce stormwater impact, improve water quality, enhance habitat and increase accessibility and usability of public green space

DETROIT, March 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund partners today announced $1.6 million in grant funding to seven projects that will benefit communities and wildlife habitats in southeast Michigan. The grants awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will leverage $1.3 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $2.9 million.

These investments will strengthen regional resilience and improve water quality for communities by installing green infrastructure, increasing urban tree canopy and restoring prairie and floodplain habitat. The projects selected for funding will provide critical habitat for wildlife such as monarch butterflies and migratory birds, while also creating and enhancing public access.

“The Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund partners are committed to investing in projects that improve water quality and wildlife habitat while at the same time enhancing community resiliency and regional conservation goals,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The seven projects awarded today meet those goals and will benefit local communities and improve diverse habitats across the region.”

“The Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund continues to exemplify the strength of public-private partnerships,” said Chris Korleski, director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office. “Leveraging Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds to invest in Southeast Michigan communities, and especially historically underrepresented and underserved communities, delivers on-the-ground projects where they make a difference.”

“Collaborative efforts like this maximize our impact on water quality, wildlife and the community at large,” said Neil Hawkins, president of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. “When we invest in and strengthen the Great Lakes ecosystem, we improve quality of life in our communities.”

The projects supported by these grants will:

  • Add 4.8 million gallons of stormwater storage
  • Plant more than 940 trees for increased stormwater storage and habitat
  • Restore 24 acres through invasive species control
  • Help restore the quality and connectivity of the region's unique habitats
  • Improve quality of life by increasing public access to natural areas and parks through eight new access points

Eight corporate, foundation and government funding partners have joined NFWF to support the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund:

  • Bezos Earth Fund
  • Cleveland-Cliffs
  • Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The U.S. Forest Service  

Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund 2022 grant recipients include:

  • Wildlife Habitat Council, to install green infrastructure in alleys and recreational areas and create pollinator habitat within neighborhoods adjacent to the I-94 Industrial Corridor in Detroit
  • Charter Township of Van Buren, to restore reclaimed prairie wildlife habitat by removing invasive species, promoting growth of prairie plants and establishing a detailed management plan in Riggs Heritage Park in Wayne County
  • The Greening of Detroit, to engage hundreds of community volunteers to plant more than 300 new trees in several parks in Southwest Detroit
  • Rescue MI Nature Now, to transform neighborhood blight into an approximately 2-acre, accessible therapeutic forest through a participatory planning design and construction process and provide a hands-on learning component for grade-school students
  • Washtenaw County, to increase green infrastructure in Ypsilanti Township by building rain gardens, wild prairie pollinator gardens and planting trees in community spaces
  • Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, to transform a 6-acre city block into a stormwater park by creating bioretention cells, planting trees, and integrating amenities such as trails and recreational space to promote neighborhood stabilization
  • Friends of the Rouge, to engage residents in community-led rain garden design, installation and maintenance workshops for residential neighborhoods in Wayne County to capture stormwater runoff

Since 2018, the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund has awarded 28 grants totaling more than $6.1 million, leveraging an additional $7 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation investment of more than $13.1 million.

To learn more about the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund and the projects announced today, please visit

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) works with the public and private sectors to sustain, restore and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF has grown to become the nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker, funding more than 20,400 projects and generating a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at

About Cleveland-Cliffs
Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. Founded in 1847 as a mine operator, Cliffs also is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in North America. The Company is vertically integrated from mined raw materials, direct reduced iron, and ferrous scrap to primary steelmaking and downstream finishing, stamping, tooling, and tubing. We are the largest supplier of steel to the automotive industry in North America and serve a diverse range of other markets due to our comprehensive offering of flat-rolled steel products. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland-Cliffs employs approximately 26,000 people across its operations in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit

About Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation’s mission is to advance an environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant metropolitan Detroit and a flourishing Great Lakes ecosystem. The Foundation is focused on improving water quality, especially in the watersheds impacting metro Detroit and Bayfield, Ontario; promoting environmental health, justice and sustainable development; and supporting the arts as a means to strengthen the metropolitan Detroit region.. For more information, visit

About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit

About the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect the devotion of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his beloved Buffalo Bills NFL team. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson provided that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. Based in Detroit, the Foundation began with a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable, and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

About the 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 one of the largest forestry research organizations in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply and contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. The agency also supports sustainable management on about 500 million acres of private, state and tribal forests including forests in urban areas. For more information, visit




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