Economic Development, Nonprofits, and Sustainability

Grand River restoration project receives $4M from feds

January 6, 2017
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Grand River
A calm Grand River runs through downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

The Grand River Revitalization and Rapids Restoration Project has received a $4-million boost from the federal government.

The funds are part of an $8-million grant to the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council, or GVMC, in partnership with Grand Rapids Whitewater, or GRWW.

GVMC received the funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, or RCPP.

The federal funds for the Lower Grand River Watershed Habitat Restoration – Farmland Conservation Project come through the 2014 Farm Bill’s RCPP, authored by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The five-year project will spend over half of the $8 million on restoring habitat for fish and endangered species in the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids, as part of the Grand River restoration efforts being championed by GRWW.

The rest of the money will be used to implement water-quality improvements in the Indian Mill Creek and Rogue River watersheds.

“Today’s announcement is great news for our farmers and local partners who are committed to restoring the lower Grand River watershed,” Stabenow said.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said the award is a “tremendous step forward.”

Chris Muller, president of GRWW, said the funding will provide a “significant boost” in momentum for the rapids restoration project and is a result of ongoing collaborations between GRWW, GVMC, the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and several local philanthropic foundations.

GRWW has been leading efforts to revitalize the Grand River and restore the rapids since 2010 and has raised more than $5 million in private donations and funding commitments to date, apart from today's funding announcement.

In 2013, the project received the Urban Waters Federal Partnership designation. It is one of 19 locations in the country to receive the designation.

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