Gutters, floods and money: Ill. Environmental Protection Agency announces $5 million green infrastructure grant program - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Gutters, floods and money: Ill. Environmental Protection Agency announces $5 million green infrastructure grant program

Permeable paving, just one of many eligible project types for Illinois' new green infrastructure grants.

Yesterday morning in Aurora, as storm clouds threatened overhead, the Ill. Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) formally launched the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program for Stormwater Management (IGIG) and made the Request for Proposals available online.

With an initial allocation of $5 million, IGIG will spur a range of innovative projects throughout the state, from separation of combined sewersto installation of permeable paving.  Streambank restoration, rainwater harvesting systems, pocket wetlands... the list of eligible project types goes on and on.  Perhaps as significantly, IEPA will be evaluating applications against criteria beyond stormwater management.  For instance, if the project reduces potable water consumption or heat island effects, that's good.  If the project is consistent with a local comprehensive plan or a regional water supply plan, even better.  The use of this fund to reward coordination of stormwater management with other policy goals, even some typically managed by other state agencies (e.g. water supply issues have historically been the domain of Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources), is really great to see.

Eligible applicants range from units to government to nonprofits, and even individuals and private businesses can apply for funding.  At the end of the day, rain falls where it wants, and stormwater management policy needs to respond in a similarly decentralized way.  This grant program is a step in that direction, and MPC commends IEPA for it.

MPC is hosting three public workshops so that applicants can meet directly with IEPA staff and network with potential partners from architecture, engineering and landscaping firms.  The first workshop, here at MPC's offices on Sept. 29, is totally full, but there are some spaces still available for our second workshop in Aurora on Oct. 1.  Register for the Aurora workshop now!  We've also added a third workshop for Oct. 8 at the South Suburan Mayors and Managers Association's offices in East Hazel Crest.  Register for that workshop here!


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