The application process is now open for Illinois American Water’s 2019 Environmental Grant Program. The program supports innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds through partnerships. Diverse activities like watershed cleanups, reforestation efforts, biodiversity projects, streamside buffer restoration projects, wellhead protection initiatives, hazardous waste collection efforts and water protection education efforts are examples of projects that could be supported through grants of up to $10,000.
"Our commitment to protecting the environment runs deep and we're proud to support the efforts of local organizations that share our vision. Since 2009, we’ve contributed over $197,000 to 56 Illinois water protection projects. We look forward to future collaboration to positively impact our source water and watersheds,” said Bruce Hauk, American Water Midwest Division Senior Vice President and Illinois American Water President.
Proposed environmental grant projects must be located in an Illinois American Water service area and:
- Address a source water or watershed protection need in the community
- Be completed between May 1, 2019 and November 30, 2019
- Be a new or innovative program for the community, or serve as a significant expansion to an existing program
- Be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations
- Provide evidence of sustainability (continued existence after the American Water grant monies are utilized)
Grant information and application forms can be found at www.illinoisamwater.com under the News & Community tab. Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 29, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted.
Last year, Illinois American Water awarded ten grants totaling $22,750 as follows:
- Foundation for Ohio River Education received a $1,000 grant to provide supplies for the Ohio River Sweep.
- Bolingbrook Park District received a $4,000 grant for the DuPage River Ecological Improvements which removed invasive species from along the DuPage River and restored the natural landscape. The project reduced the occurrence of invasive species to less than 10% in the area.
- Lincoln College received a $3,645 grant to increase watershed awareness, specifically stream-bank erosion along Sugar Creek. The funding was used to install a boardwalk, making the area handicap accessible.
- Nature at the Confluence, Inc. in South Beloit received a $3,000 grant for the Kelly Creek Clean-Up project which engaged community volunteers to clean up a major water asset on the Nature At The Confluence, Inc. property. Stream monitoring and water quality testing before and after the clean-up was used to educate about the impact of watershed clean ups.
- Pekin Park District received a $2,000 grant for the continued Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project to eliminate invasive species along the Lick Creek corridor.
- Peoria Park District received two grants for two different projects. A $730 grant supported the Heal the Hill Prairie project at Forest Park Nature Center to remove invasive species and restore the bluffs. An $875 grant helped provide supplies for the Illinois River Sweep.
- Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum received a $2,000 grant for the Journey to Sea project. The project was a collaboration between the Peoria PlayHouse, Bradley University and The Sun Foundation. Together they created a PlayHouse art exhibit to illustrate the devastating impact of plastic pollution on water.
- Senior Services Plus, Inc. in Godfrey received a $3,500 grant to construct a detention/infiltration bioswale and rain garden. This project was an extension of their initiative to grow their own food to feed local senior citizens.
- Woodridge School District #68 received a $2,000 grant for their permeable paver parking lot at Meadowview Elementary School to decrease storm water runoff.
Customers can help protect our precious resources by using water wisely through the following actions:
- Be conscious of daily water use and take the necessary steps to be water smart.
- Be sure that leaking pipes and faucets — indoors and outdoors — are repaired.
- Take care in garden, lawn, garage or other home product use and ensure they do not impact groundwater.
- Dispose of chemicals or other potentially harmful products properly by not pouring them directly into home drains, the sewer, street drains or the lawn.
- Visit www.illinoisamwater.com for more wise water use tips.
Hauk said, “Every individual and community has the ability to positively impact our source water and watersheds. One of the easiest ways is to be informed about what goes into providing safe, reliable water service. We encourage our customers to access their local water quality reports on our website.”
Illinois American Water customers can access their report by zip code on the company’s website at www.illinoisamwater.com under the Water Quality tab.