Illinois American Water Celebrates Earth Day by Announcing 2019 Environmental Grant Recipients and Projects
Illinois American Water is celebrating Earth Day by announcing environmental grants for 10 watershed initiatives across the state. The environmental grant recipients will receive a share of funds totaling $24,952 for community projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds.
According to Bruce Hauk, Illinois American Water President, including the 2019 commitment, more than $222,000 will have been contributed to 66 projects dedicated to water protection since 2009. He said, "At Illinois American Water, Earth Day is every day. Our team works hard to not only provide clean water for life, but to support the communities we serve. Our Environmental Grant program is critical to our efforts to ensure safe water today and for future generations."
Illinois American Water's 2019 Environmental Grant recipients and projects are described below.
• Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow, Inc. in Peoria will receive a $2,900 grant to support efforts at the site to decrease storm water runoff. The funds will be used to build a native garden which will also be used for educational purposes. ART, Inc. is partnering with U of I Extension Master Gardeners to ensure a successful planting. Volunteers from the Dream Center and Bradley University will also participate. In addition, the 74 to Spring North Valley neighbor association is also involved.
• The Bolingbrook Park District will receive a $5,000 grant for phase III of the DuPage River restoration project to eradicate invasive species and restore the wetland and shoreline. These improvements will benefit native birds, reptiles and amphibians. Funds will be used to purchase native planting, pollinator houses and duck houses. Volunteers will also contribute to the project through tree clearing, planting and river clean-up events.
• Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) will receive a $4,000 grant for their environmental education efforts in the Chicago Metro area. Funds will be used to purchase several enviroscapes which are 3D models of a community water system used to illustrate impact of pollution, storm water runoff and more. FOFR partners with municipalities and school districts in the Fox River watershed to educate local youth. Their educator team engages more than 5,000 teachers and students each year.
• Friends of the Rock River will receive a $3,000 grant for the Rock River Visitor Information Center and Rock River Walking & Birding Trail Development in South Beloit. Funds will be used to create and install learning features such as an exterior interpretive sign and an interior display to support the new Rock River Trail Visitor Information Center at Nature At The Confluence. Visitors will learn about the watershed and the importance of water stewardship and habitat restoration. Illinois American Water has partnered on several projects at the Nature At The Confluence including restoration and education efforts.
• Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful in South Beloit will receive a $1,500 grant to support the group's annual medication collection event to provide residents a safe opportunity to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted medication. Funds would be used to offset disposal costs. Medication disposal efforts help to prevent the flushing of medications to protect the local water supply. These efforts also help to decrease misuse and abuse of unused pharmaceuticals.
• Lincoln College in Lincoln will receive a $2,714 grant as well as an in-kind donation of water testing through Illinois American Water's certified lab in Belleville, Ill. The water testing is valued at over $3,000. These donations will support the College's efforts to quantify agricultural runoff along eroded farmland and the impact of native planting. Students will participate in the project through valuable hands-on learning, sample collection, evaluating testing results and more. This is the second environmental grant for Lincoln College. Last year, Illinois American Water provided a $3,645 grant to increase watershed awareness, specifically stream-bank erosion along Sugar Creek.
• The Peoria Park District will receive their grant request in full. An $810 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling. Illinois American Water has supported these efforts for many years.
• Rolling Meadows High School will receive a $2,000 grant to support the school's new Agriculture Pathway with a focus on sustainability. Students will grow plants from seedlings using the school's new greenhouse classroom and transplant them. These efforts will result in a student-developed natural bio filtration system. Water samples will be collected to measure results and students will learn to better their environment. Environmental grant funding will support related field trips, plants and tools.
• The University of St. Francis at Joliet will receive their requested grant in full. The $228 grant will be used to purchase rain barrels so the campus's community garden can be sustained with rain water and visitors are educated about wise water use. The community garden is operated via donations from students, employees and campus visitors. The produce grown in the garden is free to all.
• The Urbana Park District will receive a $2,800 grant for the Crystal Lake Habitat Restoration and Bank Stabilization Project. Funds will be used to purchase native shrubs. Volunteers will install the native plants. This project is part of an overall effort to improve Crystal Lake, one of Urbana's oldest and largest parks. This spring the park will undergo construction for a new multiuse path, providing a critical resource to visitors, but disturbing the south-eastern portion of the lake bank. Installing native shrubs will ensure bank stabilization and benefit water quality and habitat restoration.
Customers can make a difference by getting involved in project related volunteer opportunities, local river cleanups and more. Customers are also encouraged to use water wisely every day. Wise water use tips, including how to detect leaks, can be found at www.illinoisamwater.com.
About Illinois American Water -- Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to over 14 million people in 45 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.